http://www.nami.org/MSTemplate.cfm?Section=Legislative_Agenda&Site=NAMI_Washington&Template=/ContentManagement/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=101131NAMI Washington 2011 Legislative Proposals
The following is what was posted on the NW Seeds of Recovery site by Stephanie Lane:
Once again it is time to solicit inputs from NAMI-WA affiliates concerning our 2011 legislative initiatives. As in the past, we are providing you with an updated list of prospective legislative agenda items for your review and prioritization. The list consists mainly of carryover items that have been included in past agendas but either did not survive the legislative process or were not sufficiently high on our priority list to warrant major lobbying efforts. Please feel free to propose additional items for consideration. If you do offer additional items, please assign priority numbers to them. During the 2010 session, we were reasonably successful in our lobbying activities with two of our top three items being enacted into law. It is very important that we receive your inputs on these important initiatives. We are asking that affiliates:
· Review the eleven items on the list and rank them in priority order. (i.e. “1” would be your top priority and “11” would be your lowest priority among those listed).
· Add additional items that you would like to propose and give them a priority ranking.
· Send your prioritized list to Gordon Bopp, Chair: Public Policy Committee no later than October 22nd.
· Add any additional comments and/or suggestions that you feel the PPC should consider.Here is the list of legislative initiatives for consideration for 2011:
1. Restore Cuts in Mental Health Funding. Any reduction in mental health services that result from budget cuts inevitably leads to increased use of hospital emergency rooms, more frequent incarceration and more homelessness – all of which cost more in the long run than does early intervention and outpatient treatment. NAMI recommends that there be no cuts in existing mental health services and that the Legislature increase the State-only appropriations for individuals and families not covered under current Medicaid criteria.
- Waiver of Restitution Payments for Individuals Living on Disability Income. People who are disabled due to physical or mental health conditions are simply
not able to make restitution payments that are often assessed by the court
system. It typically costs more trying to collect on these assessments than is received in restitution payments. It is simply illogical and unfair to expect people on disability who are unable to work to make any kind of financial payments to others. Some other means must be found to compensate crime victims
- Increase Availability of Psychiatric inpatient Facilities. Inpatient mental health evaluation and treatment are essential public health and safety functions. There is now a critical shortage of both voluntary and involuntary treatment facilities at all levels of service
throughout the State of Washington. NAMI supports legislation that will increase numbers of inpatient facilities including increasing reimbursement rates to community hospitals and stopping bed reductions at state hospitals to allow time for community programs such as the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) to mature sufficiently to assist in at least partially offsetting those reductions. A complete study of the entire inventory of psychiatric hospital beds in Washington State and their availabilities and interrelationships at all levels is needed.
- Provide Affordable Housing to Meet the Needs of the Homeless and those at Risk of Becoming Homeless.
NAMI supports maintaining the Housing Trust Fund at least at current funding levels; the Fund is one of the state’s largest, most effective tools for creating affordable homes for very low income families and individuals with mental illnesses or other disabilities. We support the recommendations of the state’s affordable housing and homelessness consortiums as well as local, County and State10 Year Plans to end Homelessness.
- Expand and Improve Supported Employment/Skill Building Programs. Evidence-based practices have clearly established a link between employment opportunities and successful
recovery for individuals suffering from mental ilnesses. NAMI
supports DSHS/HRSA/Transformation Grant efforts to increase the use of
employment in the recovery process, including employment and skill
development at mental health clubhouses.
- Expand Mental Health Services in Rural Areas. Comprehensive mental health services are required no matter the number of individuals or families
needing the services or their geographic locations. Rural areas in Washington State
are woefully underserved in regard to mental health needs. NAMI supports expansion of the existing
pilot program serving a few selected counties in Washington State.
- Comprehensive System of Recovery-Based Treatment and Related Services. Treatment and related assistance needs to be holistic and comprehensive, providing not only continuity of
care but also support for the individual’s psychiatric and general
physical health, employment potential, housing, social network and
mobility. These programs need to
work in collaboration with one another and must be recovery based. NAMI supports:
· Complete funding for PACT teams in all RSN’s.
· Expand consumer/advocate run mental health services including Clubhouses.
These kinds of programs are a vital component of any system of comprehensive, recovery-based treatment for mental illness.
- Establish Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity. (CROPP). This would act to bar the use of criminal records to deny housing, education and employment opportunities. NAMI-WA supports and will partner in this effort.
- Electronic Medical Records Study. Would provide for a single database to be shared among various agencies to promote access and continuity of care as well as
more efficient and effective administration of legal services such as Drug
Courts, Mental Health Courts and ITA.
- Court Proceedings for Mentally Ill Offenders. Look at law and justice system as a whole to see where we can advocate for mitigation when justified on the basis of mental
illness. Changes in ITA legislation
provide significant opportunities to prevent incarceration and/or provide
for the waiver of fines and other legal financial obligations assessed by
judges. We need to press for the
application of these changes in the criminal justice system in a
consistent manner throughout the State. This includes educating members of the Sentencing Guidelines
- Modification of ITA Language. While significant gains were made in amending the Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) last session, 2SSHB 3076 retained language that still makes it very difficult to implement the ITA. In particular, the current language provides that a person must be determined by a MHP to be in “imminent” danger to self or others. Last
session HB 2882 was introduced that would change “imminent” to “substantial
likelihood”. NAMI supported this change and we propose to support a similar bill again in the 2011 session.