Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mental Health America Indiana public policy meeting notes

A member of Family Voices Indiana attended the Mental Health America of Indiana public policy meeting and provided us with the following notes. We encourage our members to learn more, and to read the official 2011 legislative agenda at the MHAI website

As we learn of other public policy agendas from other agencies, we will share those. If you are interested in attending a meeting and learning more, consider applying for the F2FHIC Family Leadership Development Fund.

Mental Health of Indiana

Public Policy Committee meeting notes

December 13, 2011

Carla Gaff-Clark welcomed everyone in attendance and introductions were made.


Steve McCaffrey reviewed the public policy committee process. A handout was included which discussed the committee’s purpose, membership and process of the committee.


Preliminary draft no. 3305, currently Senate Bill 24, was briefly discussed. The synopsis explained that the mental health and addiction advisory council and the mental health and addiction planning and advisory council will consolidate and add members to form one body required by federal law. Some irrelevant language regarding the Dawn Project was removed. This bill will be added to the public policy agenda.


Preliminary draft no. 3481, the Probation Improvement Fund, was discussed. Steve McCaffrey report that the Criminal Code Commission and the Mental Health Commission met on November 17, 2011. The topic was concerning the harsh sentences rendered to drug offenders, which sometimes, exceeded those given to more violent offenders. The Commission may explore offering rehabilitative and addiction services to those non-violent drug offenders to reduce prison overcrowding.


Preliminary draft no. 3309, currently the social host law, was discussed. Adults who provide liquor to minors will receive a stricter punishment.


The American Cancer Society may bring the pain management issue to the forefront. Currently, it is classified as a D felony if certain prescriptions are given to addicts. There is a provision in federal law which provides exceptions.


Senator Becker may address the AARP and long term care in nursing homes.


Dual diagnosis will be monitored. There was discussion that there are not consistent places to treat people with dual diagnoses. DD diagnosis and behavioral health provider agencies do not typically provide all the services needed to these patients. Universities may need to be pulled into the conversation to discuss making changes to their curriculum.


Senator Grooms may soon address specialty tier drugs. There is a cap on a percentage of specialty tier drugs. Rylin Rodgers is involved in the discussions. This issue is not a preliminary draft yet, but it may be coming up soon.


Senator Zoeller may address the veterans’ courts. Veterans will go through veteran courts for adjudication and not regular courts. Judge Collins is involved in the discussions.


Discussions may soon arise concerning mandatory drug testing for TANF recipients. A failed test could result in loss of benefits. There was concern regarding who will pay for addiction treatment?


The American Amnesty bill proposes that children can drop intoxicated friends off at hospital emergency rooms without repercussions.


The committee will continue to monitor SB 20, Sunday sales bill (dangerous alcoholic beverages).


The amicus brief in support of BeiBeiShuai was discussed. She had an interlocutory appeal but remains in jail. Ms. Shuai is the woman who tried to commit suicide by ingesting rat poisoning which resulted in the death of her unborn child.


The committee made the following changes to the 2012 MHAI public policy agenda. The issue of increasing the alcohol tax will be removed. The issue of guardianship services for indigent patients will be added back to the agenda as a priority 3. No effort will be made to enhance guardianship and no additional resources will be used. The American Amnesty bill will be added back to the agenda as a priority 2. Monitoring on this issue will continue. The issue of dual diagnosis will be added to the agenda as a priority 1. The issue of arrest and conviction admissions will be removed from the agenda but monitored.




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