Public Policy Update
October 17, 2014
Chris Bouneff, executive director
Greetings to followers of our Public Policy Committee --
As you may recall, we reconstituted how we will communicate with members and allies who followed our Public Policy Committee. Rather than monthly committee meetings that were lightly attended, we will begin providing monthly updates and using other tools, such as online surveys, to gain feedback from members. This is the first of our regular monthly updates.
As the legislative session comes into full swing next year, we may expand our updates to twice a month to keep everyone abreast of goings on.
* NAMI Oregon Housing Concept Proves Successful
You may recall that NAMI Oregon proposed legislation in the 2013 session to create a housing incentive fund. Through that session, a special session, and the short 2014 session, a variation of that concept received $5 million in funding for integrated independent housing and some respite housing.
The housing incentive fund was just that -- state funds designed to incentivize new housing for individuals living with mental illness. Incentive funding could not provide more than 20 percent of a project's total cost, meaning that developers would have to use state funds to leverage funding from other sources.
To read more about our concept, please surf to: http://links.namior.org/housing.
Long story short, that $5 million was recently awarded through the state Addictions and Mental Health Division. And the incentive funding concept has proven itself successful.
About $4 million in incentive funding will go to help fund 10 projects with total value of about $24.5 million. That equates to 168 new units of housing, of which 32 will be reserved for individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness. The remaining units will be affordable housing or market rate units managed by mental health friendly landlords.
And this housing will be located around the state, including in rural communities in Coos and Curry counties.
About $544,000 in incentive funding also was awarded for new respite housing, leading to two projects with total value of about $2.5 million. This will lead to about 24 new respite beds in the Portland metro area. Respite is an important alternative to emergency rooms and hospital psychiatric units. It features more natural environments that can aid and comfort during a crisis.
Overall, that $5 million is leading to about $27 million in new housing, which is an outstanding return on investment.
* Housing Remains Top Priority; Other Priorities to Be Discussed
We are currently reviewing what our specific initiatives will be for the 2015 legislative session, but housing will remain our top priority. Our hope is to again offer legislation that mirrors our legislation from 2013.
You can read a summary of that legislation from 2013 here: http://goo.gl/sqxX62
Additional funding for Oregon's community mental health system also will be among the burning topics during the 2015 session. Lawmakers made significant new investments in the children's mental health system and some minor new investments in the adult mental health system. It will be important to see that those investments continue and that additional investments are made, particularly for services and supports for adults living with mental illness.
We will discuss our priorities in more detail at the upcoming annual conference. If you attend, make sure you stick around for that session scheduled for 3:45 p.m.
* Election Day Approaches
We expect events to unfold more quickly after voters decide who will occupy the governor's office and which political parties will control the state House and Senate on Nov. 4. Once the dust settles, the pace will pick up. And so will our efforts to digest and distill information for NAMI members and allies.
Expect to hear more about NAMI's day at the capital in the future, which we hold during full legislative sessions such as we'll have in 2015. And our formal legislative priorities should be out in late November or early December. By then, we also may have a better idea of what other groups are proposing for legislation.
As always, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com with questions or comments.
2014 Public Policy Survey Results
NAMI member and allies overwhelmingly picked housing as their top priority in our recent public policy priorities survey. Click here to read the results and summary of the survey, which will be discussed at June's public policy meeting.
NAMI Oregon Releases Health Transformation Guide
Many Oregonians may still be puzzled by the term "health transformation," but the changes forthcoming in Oregon's Medicaid system could vastly improve health care in our state or just be another shot in the dark that fails to hit its intended target. NAMI Oregon has long advocated for an integrated health care system that focuses on individual and family health. To that end, NAMI Oregon is pleased to issue its "Policy Guide to Health Transformation and Integration in Oregon" that collects all of NAMI's various positions on health care transformation into one document. This will serve as our guiding vision for our advocacy on health care reform.
US DOJ Settlement with Oregon
The State of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement pertaining to the federal government's investigation over how Oregon treats individuals with mental illness. The crux of the investigation looked at whether Oregon was needlessly institutionalizing individuals in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Read a press release announcing the agreement and a letter outlining the agreement.
To find contact information for your state legislators, visit the Oregon State Legislature's Find your legislator web page.
Please see previous Public Policy Updates below.
Previous Public Policy Updates
Stay involved with us - sign up for our e-news and legislative alerts, and click the links below to view minutes from Public Policy Committee meetings.
Tell us your story - if you have a personal story that illustrates the need for changes in statewide mental health policy and you would like to become an advocate for policy improvement, complete our Advocate Information Form and return it to us today.
HIPAA Privacy Rule Clarification
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a clarification on when it is appropriate for mental health care providers to share information protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, especially with family members and loved ones. The HIPAA Privacy Rule allows for health care providers to share information about a patient's care with family members not only when permission has been expressly granted, but also in circumstances when the patient may be unable to grant permission but the provider deems sharing information will be in the patient's best interest. For details, read the HIPPA Privacy Rule guidance.
Communication between care providers and family members of patients seeking treatment for mental illness improves the quality of care and reduces the risk of suicide for these patients. While confidentiality is a fundamental component of a therapeutic relationship, misunderstandings by clinicians about the limitations created by HIPAA, FERPA, and state laws for preserving confidentiality has caused unnecessary concern regarding disclosure of relevant clinical information.
To address this deficit of communication, the Oregon Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a checklist for mental health providers in 2012. The authors, Dr. Stewart Newman and Jerry Gabay (NAMI Oregon Board Member), have created a companion checklist to help families seek information from providers. Click here to view both the provider checklist and the family member checklist.
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - August 2010 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - September 2010 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - November 2010 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - February 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - March 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - April 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - May 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - October 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - November 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - January 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - February 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - March 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - June 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - August 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - November 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - December 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - January 2013 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - March 2013 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - December 2013 (PDF File)
Advocate Information Form (Word Document)
June 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
July 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
October 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
November 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
December 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
January 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
February 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
March 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
May 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
August 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
October 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
February 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
March 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
April 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
July 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
December 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
January 2014 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
March 2014 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
October 2014 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
CCO Basics Fact Sheet (PDF File)
CCOs By County (PDF File)
DOJ Civil Agreement (PDF File)
2013 Legislative Priorities (PDF File)
Housing Bill Summary (PDF File)
Budget Fact Sheet (PDF File)
Medication Access Fact Sheet (PDF File)
Human Services and Housing Committee list (PDF File)
2014 Public Policy Survey (PDF File)