Friday, April 11, 2014

FSSA proposes Behavioral and Primary Healthcare Coordination program

Family Voices Indiana shares the following bulletin from Indiana Health Coverage Programs:

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), through its Division of Mental Health and Addiction 
(DMHA) and Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning (OMPP), is proposing an amendment to the Indiana Medicaid State Plan to implement a new 1915(i) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. 

The program, Behavioral and Primary Healthcare Coordination (BPHC), will be used to coordinate healthcare services for individuals with mental illness and has a proposed effective date of June 1, 2014, pending federal approval. 

BPHC is designed to assist individuals with serious mental illnesses who do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid and do not have other third-party insurance coverage for the level of services they need to function safely in the community. 

The BPHC program will provide supportive and intensive community-based services to individuals who demonstrate 
impairment in self-managing their healthcare needs due to mental illness. 

Potentially eligible individuals include those who are 19 years of age or older, have been diagnosed with mental health conditions, and have incomes below 300% of the federal poverty level. Individuals eligible for BPHC would include those who currently qualify for Medicaid with a spend-down but who will possibly lose Medicaid coverage when the State implements disability eligibility changes in June 2014 (see the related News Summary posted January 30, 2014, at 

IHCP members, who were identified as potentially affected, have been notified in writing of the upcoming eligibility changes. These members have been encouraged to apply for BPHC at local community mental health centers no later than April 1, 2014, to prevent a gap in coverage. 

The BPHC program will not provide behavioral and primary healthcare services directly to enrolled individuals. Rather, 
the program is designed to assist members in coordinating these needed services through Medicaid and other 
complementary programs. Units of service through BPHC will be reimbursed in conjunction with receipt of other 
healthcare services. 

More information about the BPHC program, the proposed state plan amendment (SPA), and the proposed rules can be found on the FSSA website at 

Monday, April 7, 2014

ACA Update: Closing Time

By Emily McKinley, Health Information Specialist

The gates are closed and the sprint is over. March 31 marked the last day of open enrollment on the ACA Marketplace for 2014. So, what’s next?

Moving forward, there will be annual open enrollment periods for those wishing to enroll in or switch to a new insurance policy. Open enrollment for 2015 is scheduled to begin November 15, 2014 and close on February 15, 2015. This will be the key time to purchase, upgrade, or change insurance policies.

In the meantime, what are the options?

Access state- and federally-funded programs. Indiana offers both Hoosier Healthwise (Medicaid) and the Healthy Indiana Plan as health coverage options for individuals who have low incomes. Coverage eligibility is determined by family income, applicant age (there are different programs for children and adults), and certain health conditions. For more information about the Medicaid programs offered in Indiana, please review our fact sheet:  It is important to note that many households may encounter a situation where only the children are eligible for coverage. In those cases, it is still important to apply for all eligible members to ensure the greatest coverage possible.

Individuals and families who experience a “qualifying life event,” such as the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, loss of a family member, divorce, interstate move, significant changes in income, and/or loss of coverage due to job loss or other similar circumstances, are eligible for a special enrollment period and may purchase Marketplace coverage at that time. Generally, special enrollment periods will last only 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event.

Likewise, if an individual or family experiences a significant change in income and is already covered by a Marketplace plan, it is important to report those income changes to the Marketplace. Doing so will ensure tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies are properly adjusted so that the reconciliation does not occur in full upon filing 2014 taxes.

The gates are closed, and the sprint is over. But, the marathon is just beginning. We encourage all consumers to empower themselves with knowledge about their policies, rights and benefits. Further, it is important to share concerns and positive feedback regarding your experiences and coverage with legislators and others as we continue to run this ACA race.

As we fall into a manageable pace, it is important to note that Family Voices Indiana will no longer be posting regular, monthly ACA Updates. That said, we’d love to hear from you. What are your questions, concerns, and experiences? How can we support you as you run your own race in this ACA arena? We’ll do our best to address those issues as we move forward.

As always, please visit our website,, or contact us at or 317944.8982, if you would like more information about the ACA or accessing other systems and services.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Resources for You

Each month, Family Voices Indiana provides the families we serve with a summary of the month’s hottest items. If you missed us on Facebook in March, here is the latest!

Brain Injury Awareness Month
Disability Awareness Month

Hemophilia Awareness Month
Trisomy Awareness Month
March 5: Spread the Word to End the Word Day
March 16-22: Indiana Severe Weather Preparedness Week
March 21: World Down Syndrome Day
March 25: Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day
March 26: Purple Day for Epilepsy
Family Voices:
Check out our Family Voices Staff Spotlights! This month’s page featured specialist Ofelia Jimenez’s daughter, Nataly Garcia, and specialist Cyndi Johnson’s daughter, Rebecca.
Facebook fans liked our many inspirational quotes. Be sure to check out our page for a pick-me-up. Also, we encourage you to share our page with friends using the share or invite features!
"It's hardest when your child is very young and you're still struggling to accept that he has special needs. So much about the future is unknown, although you've heard every single grim risk of his condition or disease. You wish doctors would just tell you what your child will be like, but they can't say for sure. You want to have hope, and you do, but sometimes worry and despair overpower it and you fear the worst."Read about ways to always have hope here:
"While your list will most certainly be different, creating a list of priorities and guidelines for your child’s hospitalization will make a huge difference in the care you receive. You and your child will be more comfortable, and it will be much easier to get the entire team on the same page." Read the article here:

Training and Learning Opportunities:
Family Voices works to fulfill our mission of empowering families by providing you with educational opportunities and resources. Check our website frequently for learning resources by visiting: This month, we shared the following on Facebook:
"Everybody's fighting some kind of stereotype, and people with disabilities are no exception. The difference is that barriers people with disabilities face begin with people's attitudes — attitudes often rooted in misinformation and misunderstandings about what it's like to live with a disability."Read the Myths and Facts about People with Disabilities:
For families of children with special needs planning for emergencies, like tornadoes, becomes even more difficult. Using this preparation and planning guide can help you be better prepared, no matter what the emergency or disaster:
"Parents realizing the importance of early intervention and the research behind ABA, often have questions about choosing specific ABA programs and providers." This article helps you understand what to look for:

Families who prefer information in Spanish and/or would like to connect with other Latino families are invited to check out our Spanish Facebook page:
We also host Pinterest boards; a YouTube Channel,; text messaging, text "FVIndiana" to 313131 for English or "FVIndianaEs" to 313131 for Spanish; a blog; and Twitter, Each outlet serves a slightly different purpose. We encourage you to try them all and use the one(s) that serve you best!
We have two major national conferences coming to Indiana this summer: The Autism Society of America and National Down Syndrome Congress. Conferences and trainings offer families a way to learn and recharge, as well as connect with other families. Paying for the conferences, however, may simply bring added stress. Our newest fact sheet covers ways to seek help with the costs associated with
conferences for families with children and youth with special healthcare needs:

Family Voices encourages you to use your voice to influence care, public and private policy, and educate others. In that vein, we strive to share with you opportunities to collaborate with others to improve the systems we engage. Here are some upcoming opportunities:
We're hoping we can learn from each other with our Tuesday Tips. We know you have a lot of ideas for adapting items, saving time and money, organizing and more. We'll start the conversation with some ideas, and we hope you'll add to the list. Let's try to make things easier for all of us! Join the discussion or simply browse the tips on our Facebook page.        

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Action Alert: Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

Family Voices Indiana shares the following announcement from the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health:

The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), held a hearing this morning (Thursday, April 3rd) to focus on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, introduced on December 12th, 2013 by Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA). 

Please contact your Senators and Representative, urging them to use this as an opportunity to create legislation that is in the best interest of ALL families and consumers.  (Contact information for your Senator and Representative can easily be found by visiting:   LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

While the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health applauds Congressman Murphy's inclusion of provisions that would reauthorize the Mental Health First Aid Act (S.153/H.R.274), the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (S.116/H.R.2734), the Children's Recovery from Trauma Act (S.380), the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2013 (MIOTCRA;S. 162/H.R.401) and the Behavioral Health IT Act (S.1517, S.1685/H.R.2057), we decry provisions that would effectively reverse the progress made in mental health treatment and support over the past 30 years.

For decades, organizations such as the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health have been working to add a more balanced approach to mental health services and treatment.  The National Federation advocates for the rights of children, youth and young adults who experience mental health challenges.  As family members, we feel it is important that our loved ones are able to receive the support they need while remaining at home and in the community.  We realize that mental illness does not affect just one person, it is something that the entire family experiences; therefore, it is crucial that initiatives are in place to support the entire family unit.

Rep. Murphy's bill magnifies the stigma of mental illness by creating an extremely biased link between mental illness and violence. Countless studies have determined that the relationship between mental illness and violence is minimal and that individuals experiencing mental health challenges are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violence than the general public.

The National Federation rejects the expanded use of involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC) and urges Congress to champion practices proven to be effective in facilitating a holistic approach to treatments and supports for children and youth who are experiencing mental health challenges and their families.

Finally, the National Federation strongly opposes legislation that threatens to essentially dismantle key efforts and programs of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which functions as the lead public health agency dedicated to mental health and addiction treatment, services, and supports. Transferring authority away from SAMHSA and decimating significant activities within the Department of Health and Human Services are not in the best interest of our most vulnerable citizens who are striving to be participating members of their communities.

The details in this bill reflect the continued, urgent need for a national conversation with individuals who experience mental illness, their families, and their communities to facilitate the creation of systems and networks that support maximal health, safety, and welfare for all community members. We urge Congressional leaders to take this opportunity to create legislation on behalf of their constituents that solidifies a bond among all stakeholders that highlights the dignity, respect, and self-determination of all individuals.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Public Hearings on #Seclusion and #Restraint

Family Voices Indiana shares the following announcement from The Arc of Indiana:

Indiana Commission on Seclusion and Restraint in Schools 
Notice of Public Hearings

The Commission on Seclusion and Restraint in Schools will hold public hearings on the proposed addition of Title 513 to the Indiana Administrative Code to provide for rules regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in school corporations and accredited nonpublic schools.

A public hearing will be held  April 21, 2014, 1:00 p.m., at the Indiana Department of Education, Riley Conference Room, 115 West Washington Street, South Tower, Suite 600, Indianapolis, Indiana;  AND on April 23, 2014,  4:30 p.m. (CST), in the Howard Room, Red Bank Branch, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, 120 South Red Bank Road, Evansville, Indiana;  AND on April 24, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. (CST), at  Chesterton High School, 2125 South 11th Street, Chesterton, Indiana.

At these hearings, members from public may come and provide comment on the rules.  

After the three public hearings, the Commission will regroup and reevaluate the proposed rules taking into consideration the public comments. The Commission may incorporate some of the comments and modify the rules or it may leave them as they are.   From there, the rules go to Indiana’s Legislative Services Agency, the Attorney General’s office and the State Budget Agency for approval before they can be published. 

All documents can be found by visiting:

The Family Leadership Development Fund at Family Voices Indiana can support your participation. Contact

Thursday, March 27, 2014

10 Things You Need To Know About the CDC Report on #Autism

Family Voices Indiana shares the following information from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network:

The following estimates are based on information collected from the health and special education (if available*) records of children who were 8 years old and lived in areas of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin in 2010:
  1. Photo: Young boy playing with blocksAbout 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 8 year olds) were identified with ASD. It is important to remember that this estimate is based on 8-year-old children living in 11 communities. It does not represent the entire population of children in the United States.
  2. This new estimate is roughly 30% higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88), roughly 60% higher than the estimate for 2006 (1 in 110), and roughly 120% higher than the estimates for 2002 and 2000 (1 in 150). We don't know what is causing this increase. Some of it may be due to the way children are identified, diagnosed, and served in their local communities, but exactly how much is unknown.
  3. The number of children identified with ASD varied widely by community, from 1 in 175 children in areas of Alabama to 1 in 45 children in areas of New Jersey.
  4. Almost half (46%) of children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability (IQ greater than 85).
  5. Boys were almost 5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. About 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls were identified with ASD.
  6. White children were more likely to be identified with ASD than black or Hispanic children. About 1 in 63 white children, 1 in 81 black children, and 1 in 93 Hispanic children were identified with ASD.
  7. Less than half (44%) of children identified with ASD were evaluated for developmental concerns by the time they were 3 years old.
  8. Most children identified with ASD were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.
  9. Black and Hispanic children identified with ASD were more likely than white children to have intellectual disability. A previous studyExternal Web Site Icon has shown that children identified with ASD and intellectual disability have a greater number of ASD symptoms and a younger age at first diagnosis. Despite the greater burden of co-occurring intellectual disability among black and Hispanic children with ASD, these new data show that there was no difference among racial and ethnic groups in the age at which children were first diagnosed.
  10. About 80% of children identified with ASD either received special education services for autism at school or had an ASD diagnosis from a clinician. This means that the remaining 20% of children identified with ASD had symptoms of ASD documented in their records, but had not yet been classified as having ASD by a community professional in a school or clinic.

If you have a child with autism and need resources of support, feel free to contact us: 317 944 8982

ACA open enrollment ends March 31

Family Voices Indiana shares the following announcement from CMS:
Posted March 26, 2014
By Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace ends in only 5 days.  There are just 5 days left for consumers to apply for and enroll in quality, affordable coverage. If you don’t have health insurance and don’t begin to sign up by the deadline—you can’t get coverage again until next year.
Right now we are seeing a surge in consumers coming to and calling call centers. We’re working hard to ensure that our systems can handle record-high consumer demand over the next few days. continues to perform well in terms of response time and error rates, even with traffic that is similar to what the site experienced at the end of December, the deadline for consumers who wanted their coverage to begin on January 1. There were over 1.2 million visits to the website and more than 390,000 calls received at our call center yesterday, which confirms that there is tremendous interest in signing up for coverage before the March 31 deadline.
We’ve completed the last rounds of system upgrades, including hardware, for this open enrollment period.  The site is prepared to accommodate approximately 100,000 concurrent users.  Additionally, we’ve resolved the software issues affecting the experience of most consumers.
While we are encouraging folks to sign up early, we know many people wait until the last minute.  If many consumers come all at once, we’ve built an advanced queuing system that will allow consumers to leave an email and be invited back when there are fewer customers to be helped or to join our system’s virtual waiting room.
Beyond the website, we’ve geared up for a surge across our entire operation.  Our Call Center is ready with as many as 14,000 customer service representatives, including 800 who speak Spanish.  The Call Center also has a queuing mechanism – if wait times get to be too long, we will offer consumers the convenient option to skip the wait and leave their contact information so we can get back to them and help them enroll.
We are ready for consumers.   It’s now time for you to check out your options and signup by March 31. And don’t worry, for those consumers who are in line by the March 31st deadline to complete enrollment—either online or over the phone – we’ll make sure you get covered.  Just like Election Day, if you are in line when the polls close, you get to vote.  We won’t close the door on those who tried to get covered and were unable to do so through no fault of their own.  So, those who were in line or had technical problems with the website can quickly come back and sign up as soon as possible.  
Millions of Americans have gotten health coverage through the Marketplace in the last five months.  We’re doing all we can to ensure that every American who wants to enroll in affordable coverage by the end of the open enrollment period—March 31, 2014—is able to do so.  It is our commitment: we’ll work hard to ensure that all Americans enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with having quality health coverage.