States consider new mental health care services, parity for seniors, prisoners

State leaders in Oregon, North Carolina and California consider new legislation or studies on what better mental health care for their residents could mean for quality of life and health care costs.

The Lund Report: Momentum Builds To Increase Mental Health And Addiction Services For Seniors
Advocates for the elderly and disabled believe they scored an important victory this legislative session that will pave the way toward creating new mental health and addiction services for an increasingly aging population. They succeeded in having a "budget note"-- something written into an agency budget that directs state agencies to take specific actions, reforms or generate reports that might inform future legislation and policy -- included in the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services budgets, which are expected to be approved by the Legislature later this week (Waldroupe, 7/2).

North Carolina Health News: NC State Study Shows Why It Costs Less To Treat Mentally Ill Than Incarcerate Them
Many people with mental health problems end up in prison or jail when access to community-based treatment could have helped avoid incarceration. New research shows how that approach wastes money (Hoban, 7/1).

California Healthline: Senate Talks Address Mental Health Parity
Mental health parity may be the new law, several legislators said last week at a Senate hearing on the subject -- but the tricky part of the law, they said, is enforcing it. The Senate mental health parity hearing continues today, convening in the Capitol Building with former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy addressing the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health. Just because new state and federal laws call for mental health to be covered along with physical health, that doesn't mean equal coverage will just happen, said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) at Friday's hearing (Gorn, 7/1).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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