KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Leaders Brace To Make Mental Health Program Changes

Officials and lawmakers in Wisconsin and North Carolina struggle to reform their mental health programs over delivering care and budgeting.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: County Panel Backs Timetable For Mental Health Complex Reforms
After a tense exchange, a Milwaukee County Board panel Wednesday narrowly backed requiring the county's Behavioral Health Division to produce a report with specific benchmarks for downsizing the troubled Mental Health Complex. The push for concrete goals and timelines is aimed at ending delays on shifting patients to community care, which has been repeatedly recommended over the past two years, said Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo. "Nobody's ever held people's feet to the fire; that's how we got to the point where we're at today," Sanfelippo said (Schultze, 12/12).

North Carolina Health News: Group Home Residents Remain In Limbo Over Personal Care Services
The clock is ticking until a Jan. 1 deadline when thousands with mental health problems are scheduled to lose the funding that helps them stay in their small group homes. But during legislative committee meetings Monday and Tuesday, lawmakers didn’t address the funding issue hanging over the state’s group homes for people with mental health and developmental disabilities. And no word came out of Governor Bev Perdue’s office about resolving the issue either, despite a call from House speaker Thom Tillis (R-Charlotte) for the governor to convene a special session of the legislature to fix the problem (Hoban, 12/12).

In the meantime, mental health care at a juvenile detention center in Illinois is scrutinized --

The Associated Press: Report: Mental Health Care At Ill. Center Lacking
Medical care for severe mental illness at a Kewanee juvenile detention center is so inadequate, the state should find another place for residents needing care "to prevent the violation of their constitutional right to treatment," a report released Thursday says. Only eight of 17 mental health positions were filled at the Illinois Youth Center-Kewanee, the state's designated facility for delinquent young people with the worst mental disturbances, when the John Howard Association visited in September (O’Connor, 12/13).

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