KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Grapple With Mental Health Care After Federal Inaction

Mental health legislation is taking the spotlight in states after federal lawmakers have failed so far to act. In Wisconsin, some mental health care changes gain momentum.

Politico: With Mental Health Legislation Stalled In Congress, States Act
States looking to address gun violence are overhauling mental health laws -- and sometimes exposing rifts over how to best address the small but serious threat of violence. There's not much controversy among advocates when it comes to restoring funding that states had slashed during the economic lean years. But changing policies on involuntary commitment, or requiring therapists to report potentially dangerous patients, are stirring fears that well-intentioned policies could increase stigma and deter the very people who most need treatment from getting it (Smith, 6/2).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mental Health Care Law Changes Supported By Lawmaker, Milwaukee Country Executive
Milwaukee County officials and a state legislator will push to correct inequities in state laws regulating the care of mental patients that were detailed Sunday in a Journal Sentinel investigation. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said Sunday he will lobby state lawmakers to change the law that requires doctors in the county to file a petition within 24 hours of a patient being brought in by police on an emergency detention (Kissinger, 6/2).

In Connecticut, however, a children's mental health care bill passed both houses unanimously --

CT Mirror: Responding To Newtown, House Passes Children's Mental Health Bill
The House on Friday unanimously passed a proposal aimed at better coordinating mental health services for young people, a measure described as a response to the massacre at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. Supporters of the bill, which previously passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk, said it complements the legislation passed earlier this year in response to the Newtown shootings (Becker, 5/31).

And in Georgia, a rift develops over caring for children with special needs --

Georgia Health News: Concerns On Kids Rise As Therapists Balk At Contract
Shannon Allen recently received a disturbing letter from the occupational and speech therapy services provider that works with her three special-needs kids. The organization, Walker Therapy of Gainesville, "told us they’re going to have to drop my children," Allen says. The reason is that the organization won’t agree to sign a new contract with a care management organization (CMO) that serves Georgia Medicaid and PeachCare children. ... Dissatisfaction with the contract that the CMO, WellCare, and its subcontractor are offering is not confined to one organization. Occupational, speech and physical therapists say many are refusing to sign the contract. They say it would reduce their payments and jeopardize the care of children (Miller, 6/3).

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