mental health

Lawmakers Increase Mental Health Investments

A good economy has produced rising revenues for the state of Oregon, which allowed legislators to add almost $5 million in mental health investments.

The closeout budget bill for the 2018 session included a number of new social service items, particularly with investments in mental health.

School-based health centers won their request of $950,000 to hire more mental health therapists.

Bill Would Require Emergency Rooms To Adopt Mental Health Discharge Plans

A separate bill from Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer would require CCOs and insurers to cover a behavioral health assessment in a crisis as well as its treatment recommendations.

Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Sen. Lew Frederick, both Portland Democrats, are back again this year to close additional gaps in the state’s mental health system.

Greenlick Wants State, CCOs, NAMI to Strike Deal on Psychiatric Meds

Psychiatric medications are carved out of the purview of the CCOs, limiting their ability to fully integrate mental healthcare. The organizations have tried repeatedly to remove this restriction, and this year the state will require them to allow any patient to stay on their preferred medication.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, has asked the Oregon Health Authority to negotiate with representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness if the state agency wishes to give more power to coordinated care organizations to manage psychiatric drugs.

Legislators Work to Fill Gaps in State Assistance for Homeless, Mentally Ill

Rep. John Lively wants the state to give free copies of birth certificates to the homeless while the state hospital superintendent testifies that he needs better legal authority to automatically assist discharged patients with federal disability benefits.

The House Health Committee is pushing two simple but possibly life-changing bills for the state’s neediest residents, allowing homeless people to get free copies of their birth certificates and steering Oregon State Hospital officials to sign up patients for federal assistance as they leave the mental hospital.

Insurance Commissioner Must Enforce Mental Health Parity Law, Says Provider Group

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover mental and behavioral health services as an essential health benefit, but the Tri-County Behavioral Health Providers Association is arguing that insurers are using their authorization process to illegally restrict access to these services. The group is asking Insurance Commissioner Cali to order a market conduct examination.

The health insurance industry may be deviating from its regular authorization process for healthcare to routinely but arbitrarily deny mental health services, according to a complaint to the Insurance Division from a group of behavioral health providers.

$20 Million in Funding for Mental Health Housing Available

Oregon Housing and Community Services is now accepting proposals for $20 million in state funds to develop mental health and substance use housing across Oregon.

Affordable housing is in short supply particularly for people living with mental illness and addictions. The $20 million boost can definitely make a difference.

Multnomah County Driving Surge of Patients Sent to State Mental Hospital

More patients are being admitted to the state mental hospital who’ve been arrested, some of them from petty misdemeanors, and account for nearly the entire growth at the facility, which is busting at the seams and turning away people who could be civilly committed.

The surge in patients at the Oregon State Hospital is being driven almost entirely by patients from Multnomah County who have been arrested but need to be mentally stabilized before they can stand trial.


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