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E-News & Alerts Archive

2012

SEPTEMBER

Help Us Make Parity a Reality!
Ask your member of Congress to support a final rule to make parity implementation a reality!

JUNE

Support Effort to Protect Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services and Housing Programs
This coming January, funding for mental illness research and services, as well as housing and veterans’ programs are at risk of being subject to an across-the-board cut of as much as 8.4 percent. Read further on how you can take action.

2011

APRIL

Funding Levels for Final FY 2011 “Continuing Resolution”


Mental Health Services at Stake for Current Budget Year
A government shutdown looms, as the “continuing resolution” for the current federal budget is set to expire on midnight April 8, 2011. What’s at stake? Current proposals for fiscal year 2011 include significant cuts to research, services and housing for children and adults living with serious mental illness. Take Action.

NAMI Opposes Medicaid Block Grant
The draft budget resolution introduced on April 5th by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) would result in major reductions in future federal spending on Medicaid and convert the program from a federal entitlement to a block grant to the states. Read more.

MARCH

The Fiscal 2011 "Continuing Resolution"
As of March 7, 2011, Congress has yet to pass operating budgets for nearly all federal discrtionary programs. Read details on the House-passed "continuing resolution" and the Senate-proposed bill.

FEBRUARY

Massive Cuts Loom for Federal Mental Health and Housing Programs
The White House unveiled the President’s budget proposal for FY 2012 requesting modest increases for mental illness research and services, as well as veterans housing programs.

2010

DECEMBER

Social Security Re-Opens Comment Period on Changes to the Mental Impairment Listings
Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it is taking additional comments (through December 9, 2010) on its proposed rules revising the “Mental Impairment Listings” that are used to assess eligibility for disability benefits (both SSI and SSDI).

AUGUST

Extended Federal Medicaid Funds Signed into Law
President Obama signed into a law a package of aid (HR 1586) that includes a six-month extension of higher Medicaid federal matching funds for states.

Urge Your House Member to Support Higher Medicaid Funding!
The House of Representatives will be voting as early as Tuesday, August 10, 2010 on extending higher federal Medicaid matching funds for states.

JUNE

Fight Continues for Higher Medicaid Federal Match
A new compromise proposal to extend, then phase down, higher federal Medicaid matching funds needs your Senators' support. Contact your Senators now and urge them to support this bill (HR 4213)

NAMI e-News: Call Your Senator NOW to Tip the Balance on FMAP Funding
Another opportunity to extend higher federal Medicaid matching funds (FMAP) failed, but it's getting closer...

Help Save Medicaid Match Rate Extension from Defeat
On Wednesday morning, June 16, the Senate voted against extending higher federal Medicaid match rates (known as FMAP) through June 2011. Urge your Senators to support funding for the Medicaid FMAP extension.

Call Now to Preserve Vital Funding for State & Local Mental Health Services
This week, the Senate will begin work on a new version of the Jobs and Tax Extenders legislative package that passed the House of May 28, which includes a provision that would extend each state’s federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) through June 2011. Read further for details.

MAY

Urge Legislators to Extend Medicaid Funding
An increase in Medicaid funding ends in December of 2010. Urge your legislators to extend this increase.

APRIL

Act Now to Increase Funding for the Federal Mental Health Block Grant
Please contact your Representative in the U.S. Congress and your two U.S. Senators and urge them to increase funding for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant by $100 million in the fiscal year Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.

Support Legislation to Fund HIT for Mental Health
Several Representatives have introduced legislation to expand eligibility for federal health information technology (HIT) resources to a broad range of mental health and substance abuse professionals and providers.

MARCH

House Clears Health Care Reform
By a vote of 219-212, the House of Representatives cleared major health care reform legislation, sending it on to the White House for the President's signature.

Final Push Needed on Health Reform
The U.S. House of Representatives may vote as early as this week on final health care reform legislation that can be sent to President Obama for his signature.

FEBRUARY

The Implementation of Mental Health Parity—Has it made a difference?
For many group health plans, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act went into effect on January 1, 2010. Individuals and families are strongly encouraged to share their personal experiences with parity implementation – both positive and negative.

FY 2012 President’s Budget Proposal
As is being widely reported in the press, the President released a proposed $3.7 trillion federal budget for FY 2012 highlighted by a proposed overall freeze for most non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending. Read more for further details.

2009

DECEMBER

Senate Moves to Complete Action on Health Reform
The Senate is expected to give final approval to comprehensive health reform legislation on December 24, 2009, completing nearly a month of deliberations.

Support Legislation to End the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools
NAMI applauds federal legislative leaders for their commitment to protecting children and to ending the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools.

House Approves Jobs Bill (HR 2847)
The House approved a $154 billion package of initiatives designed to promote economic recovery and job creation, including extended higher federal match funding for state Medicaid programs and a $1 billion investment in the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF)

Senate Clears Spending Bills for Mental Illness Research & Services
The Senate cleared President Obama’s signature spending legislation (HR 3288) for FY 2010 for a broad array of domestic discretionary spending, including funding for mental illness research, mental health services, housing and veterans programs.

Congress Agrees on FY 2010 Spending Bills
Congress, this week, agreed on spending legislation for FY 2010 for a broad array of domestic discretionary spending, including funding for mental illness research, mental health services, housing and veterans programs.

Senate Moves Forward on Health Reform
The Senate resumes work on comprehensive health care reform legislation.

Senate Moves Forward on Health Care Reform
The Senate resumed work on comprehensive health care reform legislation, HR 3590.

NOVEMBER

Help Expand Access to Affordable Housing
NAMI is currently supporting two major initiatives in Congress; the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 and the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. They are designed to expand supportive housing targeted to extremely low income people with severe disabilities, including serious mental illness.

Support Health Care Reform – Contact Your House Member
The U.S. House of Representatives will begin debate on the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) later this week. It contains a number of critical coverage expansions and improvements critical for people living with mental illness.

OCTOBER

NAMI Urges President Obama to Support Increases for NIH & NIMH
NAMI is joining advocates from across the nation in asking President Obama to make medical research for improving health care a priority and support robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

SEPTEMBER

Tell Your Member of Congress We Need Parity Regulations!
After years of hard work by addiction and mental health treatment advocates, consumers, and providers, Congress passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008. The bill requires the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury to issue regulations before the effective date for the Act which is January 1, 2010.

AUGUST

Ask Your Senators to Support Parity Regulations!
After years of hard work by consumers, families and advocates, Congress passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008. The bill requires the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury to issue regulations before the effective date for the Act which is January 1, 2010. It is essential the regulations are issued to avoid misinterpretation of the law and to ensure access to critical mental health and addiction services.

JULY

House Approves 2010 Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services
On July 24, by a vote of 264-153, the House cleared legislation that includes funding for mental illness research and services for FY 2010.

House Votes to Improve and Expand Supportive Housing for Consumers
This week the House of Representatives cleared legislation making important improvements to the HUD Section 811 program, and in a separate move voted to increase funding for the program by $100 million.

JUNE

Advocacy Urgently Needed in Support of Health Care Reform!
Separate House and Senate Committees are now moving forward on comprehensive health reform legislation. With Congress scheduled to begin its week-long July 4th recess this afternoon, it is now a critical time for advocates to contact their House member and Senators to urge support for reform that will expand coverage, control costs and meet the needs of children and adults living serious mental illness.

Help Us Improve Re-entry Support for People with Serious Mental Illness
A new bill is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to help ensure that people re-entering the community can have ready access to the benefits they need to survive.

Act Now to Prevent the Incarceration of People with Mental Illness
Let your Representatives in the House know that people with mental illness should not be in jail. Write a letter today telling them to support funding for MIOTCRA and the Second Chance Act as part of the 2010 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill.

NAMI and Federal Health Care Reform
To keep you informed about NAMI’s positions on various health care reform proposals, as well as our efforts to protect and improve coverage for people with mental illnesses in this process, we have created a new website with information about our goals and the proposals we support in the health care reform debate.

MAY

Hearing and GAO Report Focus on the Abusive and Deadly Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools
NAMI applauds the House Education and Labor Committee and its Chairman, George Miller (D-CA) for holding a hearing on May 19th that examined the abusive and deadly use of restraint and seclusion in schools.

Do Your Part To Prevent Suicides And Improve Treatment for Veterans
A bill has been introduced in Congress to require mental health screening for members of the Armed Forces who are deployed for combat.

Obama Administration Releases Details of FY 2010 Budget Proposal
On May 8, the Obama Administration issued detailed budget requests for FY 2010, including proposed spending levels for mental illness research and services, as well as housing and veterans programs.

Senate Passes Homeless Legislation
On May 6, the full U.S. Senate unanimously cleared major legislation to expand and reform homeless programs – the HEARTH Act (S 808). This action came as an amendment a larger a larger housing bill designed to reform the mortgage market and foreclosures. NAMI is extremely grateful for the leadership of Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Kit Bond (R-MO) in moving S 808 forward.

APRIL

The President’s Economic Recovery and Stimulus Program and Consumers – A Progress Report
As is being widely reported in the press, today marks the 100th day of the Obama Administration. One of the major accomplishments for the new President was passage of the economic recovery and stimulus package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA, in February. Read about the progress of programs relevant to NAMI members.

NAMI Applauds Congressional Leaders for Reintroducing The Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act
NAMI calls on Congress to enact The Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act, federal legislation designed to help end the severe shortage of child and adolescent mental health providers. Learn more and take action today!

New Report Documents Housing Crisis Faced By Consumers Living on SSI
A report issued on April 13 demonstrates the deepening crisis in affordable housing faced by non-elderly adults living with serious mental illnesses. The report, Priced Out in 2008, is a study of the severe housing affordability problems of people with disabilities who must survive on incomes far below the federal poverty line.

Advocacy Needed for $100 Million Increase in Services Funding!
In early April, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) initiated an effort to secure an additional $100 million for the Mental Health Block Grant program for FY 2010.

Congressional Briefing for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
On Thursday, May 7th, a legislative briefing will be held in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The briefing will focus on Investing in the Educational Future of Youth with Mental Health Needs and the value of effective school-based mental health programs.

What You Need to Know about the New Federal Insurance Parity Law
With the passage of the Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, health plans must now provide equal coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment as they do for other conditions.

MARCH

Support An End to Discrimination In Medicaid!
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D. Texas) has introduced a bill, HR 619, to repeal the current prohibition on the use of Federal Medicaid dollars to pay for services for individuals between the ages of 22 and 64 in private and public inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities.

Support Improved Psychiatric Emergency Services under Medicaid!
Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN) has introduced the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Care Demonstration Act of 2009 (HR 1415). This legislation would establish a 3-year $75 million demonstration program to allow for coverage for Medicaid patients in freestanding psychiatric hospitals.

FEBRUARY

Tell the Senate to Support FY 2009 Budget!
In the week of February 23rd, the Obama Administration and Congress moved to complete action on the current year federal budget and begin the process for enactment of a budget for 2010.

President Signs Economic Recovery Package Into Law
As is being widely reported in the press, President Obama on February 17th signed in to law the massive $787 billion economic recovery and stimulus package.

Support Mental Illness Research Funding
The Senate is expected to vote later this week in support of $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the nearly $900 billion Economic Recovery and Stimulus Package (S 1), known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The full Senate debate begins today, including an amendment being pushed by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) to increase NIH funding.

JANUARY

Senate Passes Children’s Health Insurance Bill!
By a vote of 66-32, the Senate yesterday passed legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Support Children’s Health Insurance!
The Senate today began debate on legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Support Children’s Health Insurance!
Later this week the House is set to vote on legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

2008

NOVEMBER

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: 2009 Plan Year Enrollment Begins
November 15 marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Medicare Part D drug benefit for 2009. During this “open season” period for 2009 drug plan enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to select prescription drug coverage that goes into effect on January 1, 2009. The open season process ends on December 31.

OCTOBER

Congress Adjourns: 2009 Funding Update
Late last week the House and Senate adjourned and are not expected back in Washington until mid-November for what is expected to be a very short post-election session. In the addition to passing the landmark Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the House and Senate also last week cleared a funding measure to keep most federal agencies operating at their current levels through March 6, 2009. This “continuing resolution” will keep agencies as the NIMH, SAMHSA and HUD at current FY 2008 funding levels through next year.

Victory on Parity!
By a vote of 263-171, the House this afternoon gave final approval to the Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (HR 1424). President Bush is expected to sign the legislation late today or early tomorrow.

Senate Passes Financial Market Rescue Bill With Mental Illness Parity Included - House Vote Expected Tomorrow
As widely reported in the press last night, the Senate, by a vote of 74-25, approved a revised version of the financial market rescue package that the House narrowly rejected on Monday. The version of the legislation that the Senate passed last night included an extension of expiring tax breaks that the Senate passed on September 22 by a vote of 93-2. It is this "tax extenders" package (HR 6049) that includes the mental illness insurance parity bill.

SEPTEMBER

Congress to Vote on Funding for Medicaid and NIH Research
The House and Senate are expected to vote as early as today on an economic stimulus package that includes $19.6 billion in funding for states to make up for expected shortfalls in Medicaid and $1.2 billion in funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Congress Moves Parity Forward!
Yesterday both the House and Senate advanced a final agreement on legislation to require group health plans to cover treatment for mental illness at parity with all other medical conditions.

Help Us Pass Parity This Year!
With only a week left before it plans to adjourn, Congress is set to take final action on legislation to require groups health plans to equitably cover treatment for mental illness.

House Passes Supportive Housing Legislation and Revisions to the ADA
On September 17, the House cleared two important bills to expand supportive housing for non-elderly adults with severe disabilities and restore protections under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Demand Action on Insurance Parity – National Call-In Day Wednesday
Add your voice to those demanding action in Congress on mental illness insurance parity. On Wednesday, September 10, advocates will be calling their U.S. Representative and Senators urging passage of the legislation requiring equitable coverage of mental illness treatment by group health plans.

AUGUST

Tell Congress: Pass Parity This Year!
Before leaving Washington for the August recess, sponsors of parity legislation reached an agreement on a final bill to require equitable coverage in health plans for mental illness treatment. Now all that is remaining is to find a “budget offset” and resolve how the bill will be sent to the President.

Housing Update: House Committee Passes Bills Expanding Supportive Housing and Homeless Programs
This past week the House Financial Services Committee approved separate bills reforming the HUD Section 811 Program (HR 5772) and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (HR 840).

House Passes Increases for Veterans Mental Illness Treatment
By a vote of 409-4 the House today passed legislation funding the Department of Veterans Affairs for FY 2009. The bill (HR 6599) includes $3.8 billion for mental illness treatment and $584 million for substance abuse treatment in the VA, significant increases over current year funding.

JULY

Congress Approves Housing Trust Fund!
As is being widely reported in the press, Congress has sent to the President a massive housing package that includes legislation designed to prevent mortgage foreclosures, reform Federal Housing Administration and shore up the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Included in the bill are a number of critical provisions to foster development of rental housing serving individuals with extremely low incomes, chief among them a new Housing Trust Fund.

Support Legislation to Reduce Criminalization and Provide Resources for Postpartum Depression Education
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has introduced a package of bills, the Advancing America's Priorities Act (S. 3297) that includes the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act (S 2304/HR 3992) and the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act (S 1375).

Victory on Medicare!!!
Late yesterday, the House and Senate successfully overrode the President’s veto of legislation (HR 6331) making critical reforms and improvements to the Medicare program for beneficiaries living with mental illness.

President Vetoes Medicare Legislation – Congress To Vote on Overriding Veto
President Bush today vetoed a major package of Medicare reforms. The House and Senate are expected to vote on overriding the veto later this week.

Senate Passes Medicare Legislation!
By a vote of 69-30, the Senate on July 9 passed a critical package of Medicare beneficiary improvements. In addition to preventing a cut in fees to physicians, the legislation (HR 6331) also makes improvement to the Part D drug benefit and establishes parity for cost sharing for outpatient mental health services.

JUNE

The Healthy Transition Act of 2008 (H.R.6375/S.3195)
Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) hosted a press conference on Wednesday, June 25th to announce the introduction of The Healthy Transition Act of 2008 (H.R.6375/S.3195).

Victory on Medicaid Regulations!
Last night the Senate gave final approval to a supplemental war funding bill that includes moratoria on regulations that would have severely limited the ability of states to fund critical mental health services through the Medicaid program.

Act Now! Senate Votes on Medicare This Week!
By the end of this week, the Senate is expected to vote on a package of reforms to the Medicare program, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (HR 6331).

Act Now to End Discrimination in Medicare!
On June 24, the House is expected to vote on a package of reforms to the Medicare program, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (HR 6331).

Push the House to Strengthen the ADA!
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote as early as tomorrow on legislation to expand existing protections under the landmark 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The bill is designed to reverse a number of Supreme Court decisions that over the years that have narrowed the scope of ADA protections in the workplace.

Critical Vote on Medicaid This Week! Contact Congress Today!
Later this week the House is expected to take up an emergency supplemental funding measure (S 2642) that includes legislation to delay seven separate regulations that would result in deep cuts to critical mental health services under Medicaid. House leaders are considering removing the delay on at least some of the Medicaid regulations, particularly the case management regulation. It is critical that the moratoria on all seven regulations stay in the supplemental funding bill, despite an expected veto threat from the President.

Senate Moves on Medicare Legislation – Support Improvements to Part D and Parity for Outpatient Mental Illness Treatment
The Senate is expected to take up legislation to make long overdue improvements to the Medicare program. A bipartisan package of reforms developed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) would add critical beneficiary protections to the Part D prescription drug benefit and require parity for cost sharing for outpatient mental health services.

MAY

House Establishes July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Month
With strong showing of bipartison support, the House passed H. Con. Res. 134, establishing July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

Senate Approves Emergency Spending Bill, Rejecting Cuts to Medicaid
On Thursday, the Senate, by a margin of 75-22, approved a package of emergency funding for the current fiscal year that includes an amendment stopping Medicaid regulations that would severely impair the ability of states to finance critical mental illness services.

Tell the Senate to Protect Medicaid!
Send a message to your Senators urging them to make sure the Medicaid moratoria stay in the war supplemental funding bill.

Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority MH Awareness Month
This week, the House is expected to pass H. Con. Res. 134, a resolution establishing a Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness, especially within minority communities.

Push Congress to Support Medicaid Moratoria!
This amendment includes a moratorium on seven separate regulations that regulations that would severely hamper the ability of states to invest in services critical to the needs of people with serious mental illness.

APRIL

Help Us Improve Supportive Housing!
HR 5772, important legislation to spur investment in permanent supportive housing has been introduced in Congress.

House Passes Medicaid Moratoria!
By a vote of 349-62, a bill to halt regulations that would undermine Medicaid financing of critical mental health services, passed the US House.

Tell Your Representative to Vote in Favor of the Medicaid Moratoria!
Efforts in Congress to halt regulations that would undermine Medicaid financing of critical mental health services are moving forward. The full House is expected to take up HR 5613 later this week.

Help Promote Awareness of Children’s Mental Health!
On Thursday, May 8th, in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, the House Mental Health Caucus is sponsoring a Congressional Briefing to focus on the value of effective school-based mental health programs.

House Panel Approves Moratoria on Medicaid Regulations!
Efforts in Congress to halt regulations that would undermine Medicaid financing of critical mental health services are moving forward. On April 9, an important House Subcommittee approved legislation (HR 5613) to impose moratoria on 7 separate Medicaid regulations.

House Clears Resolution on Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness
By a vote of 417-0, the House of Representatives today passed H.Res. 1005, urging recognition of Borderline Personality Disorder.

MARCH

Support Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness
NAMI strongly supports H.Res. 1005, a resolution to increase awareness of borderline personality disorder, and is urging all House members to cosponsor the measure.

Act Now to Stop Rules That Would Devastate Medicaid
Legislation has been introduced in the House that would prevent implementation of new regulations that would severely hamper the ability of states to use Medicaid to fund critical mental health services.

Act Now: Oppose Amendment to Restrict Medicaid
Contact your Senators and urge them to oppose the Grassley Amendment to the FY 2009 budget resolution on the Medicaid “reserve fund.”

House Passes Mental Health Parity Bill
By a vote of 268-148, the US House of Representatives on March 5th passed its version of the mental health insurance parity bill (HR 1424), setting up what is likely to be a difficult negotiation with the Senate, which passed its version (S 558) unanimously this past fall.

House to Act on Parity Bill
Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up its version of the mental illness insurance parity bill (HR 1424).

NAMI National’s Position on the House Parity Bill
NAMI believes that the best chance for passage of parity in 2008 is for movement of a final bill similar to S 558 so that any final bill can get through the Senate and be sent to the President and be signed into law this year.

FEBRUARY

Senators Press for Moratorium on Medicaid Case Management Rules
A bipartisan coalition of Senators is pushing for a delay in regulations issued by the Bush Administration that would severely undermine the ability of states to use Medicaid to fund critical case management services.

House Passes Extension of 1996 Limited Parity Law
On February 6, the House passed legislation extending the 1996 Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) for an additional year.

White House Releases FY 2009 Budget
On February 3, President Bush unveiled his $3.1 trillion proposed budget plan for fiscal year (FY) 2008 - with increases sought for defense and homeland security, and tight controls on most domestic discretionary programs, holding them under inflationary increases.

JANUARY

Senators Press to Protect Medicaid in Economic Stimulus Package
As is being widely reported in the press, on January 29, the House passed a $150 billion economic stimulus package (HR 5140) by vote of 385-35. A bipartisan coalition of Senators is pushing to make sure that the package includes extra funding and protections to ensure that states can avoid cutting the Medicaid program in response to expected revenue shortfalls at the state level this year.

Support SAMHSA Reauthorization!
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to consider legislation to reauthorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on January 30th.

Learn About the Candidates’ Views on Mental Healthcare
NAMI sent a questionnaire on leading mental health issues to all the presidential candidates. Candidates are answering and we encourage you to view their positions.

2007

DECEMBER

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: 2008 Plan Year Begins on January 1st
January 1 marks the start of the new plan year for the Medicare Part D drug benefit for 2008. As the 2008 plan year approaches, NAMI is watching closely to ensure that beneficiaries with serious mental illness, especially low-income dual eligibles, are able to maintain continued access to drug coverage that meets their complex treatment needs.

Congress Passes Gun Reporting Law
Just before adjourning for the holidays, the U.S. Senate passed a bill, the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (HR 2640), to provide incentives to states to report the names of certain people with mental illnesses who are prohibited from purchasing guns. The House passed the bill several months ago and President Bush is expected to sign it into law.

Congress Passes Year-End Spending Bill
On December 19, Congress passed a year-end omnibus spending bill covering domestic discretionary spending including mental illness services and research funding.

House Passes Omnibus Budget
Late on Dec. 17th, the House, in a vote of 253-154, cleared a $516 billion omnibus spending bill that includes FY 08 funding for mental illness research and services, housing and veterans programs.

Call-In for Parity on Friday, December 7th
Time is now running short for Congress to take final action on mental illness insurance parity legislation before the end of the year. Only a few legislative days remain before the end of the year and lawmakers need to hear about the critical need to pass parity legislation before adjournment.

Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services, Housing and Homelessness At Risk
Congress is working on a compromise funding bill. At stake are increases for a range of NAMI priorities including mental illness research and services, as well as housing homelessness programs.

NOVEMBER

Help Improve Medicare for People with Mental Illness!
Senate deliberations on changes to Medicare open up the opportunity for amendments on three critical priorities for beneficiaries living with mental illness.

Senators Press Moratorium on CMS Medicaid Rehabilitation Rules
A bipartisan group of 39 U.S. Senators joined together to press for a moratorium on regulations that would severely limit the ability of state Medicaid agencies to fund important services under the Rehabilitation Option.

Tell Congress to Fund Housing and Homeless Programs for People with Serious Mental Illness!
Contact Congress and urge them to fund critical housing programs, by voting to override the President’s veto of legislation funding housing and homelessness programs for FY 2008 (also known as the Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill, HR 3074).

We Need Your Help to Push Congress on Parity!
Late last week, the House of Representatives began a two week Thanksgiving holiday recess, without acting on legislation to require employers and health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses – insurance parity.

House Fails to Override President’s Veto of Mental Health Services and Research Funding
On November 15, the House voted 277-141, failing to override the President’s veto of the FY 2008 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill (HR 3043). The bill did not receive the required two-thirds majority to override the veto.

Act Today! Presidential Vetoes Threaten Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services
Help override the President’s veto of funding for mental illness research and services!

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: 2008 Plan Year Enrollment Begins
November 15 marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Medicare Part D drug benefit for 2008. During the “open season” period for 2008 drug plan enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to select prescription drug coverage that goes into effect on January 1, 2008. The open season ends December 31.

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: LIS and Dual Eligible Reassignment for 2008
November 15 marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Medicare Part D drug benefit for 2008. During the “open season” period for 2008 drug plan enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to select prescription drug coverage that goes into effect on January 1, 2008. The open season ends December 31.

President Bush Vetoes Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services Programs
On November 13, the President vetoed the FY 2008 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (HR 3043) that includes FY 2008 funding for a broad range of health and human service programs including research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and services programs at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Congress Agrees on Funding for Mental Illness Research, Services and Veterans Program – Presidential Veto Threatened
By a vote of 269-142, the House on November 6 passed the first of the major spending bills for FY 2008, sending to the President a package of bills funding labor, health, education and veterans programs. The President has already pledged to veto the package.

Congress Clears Latest Version of SCHIP Bill, 2nd Presidential Veto Expected
On November 1, the Senate voted 64-30 to another revised version of legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This revised SCHIP bill passed the House on October 25 by a vote of 265-142. Like the previous version of SCHIP, this bill is expected to draw a Presidential veto.

OCTOBER

House Passes Revised SCHIP Bill
On October 25th, the House voted again on legislation to renew and improve the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Yesterday's vote follows a vote last week that fell 13 votes short of overriding the President’s veto of an SCHIP reauthorization bill (HR 976).

Help End Chronic Homelessness!
The Senate is considering the renewal of a program that helps bring permanent supportive housing those who need it most: people with serious mental illnesses and other disabilities.

House Fails to Override SCHIP Veto
On October 18, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to override President Bush’s veto of legislation to renew and strengthen the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Your Action Needed to Support Mental Illness Research and Services
This week the Senate is expected to take up legislation setting the budgets for mental illness research and services funding for FY 2008. The bill, known as the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (S 1710) includes $11 billion more for health and education programs than the President requested. As a result, President Bush has threatened a veto.

Challenge the President’s Veto of Children’s Health Insurance
On October 18, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a motion to override President Bush’s veto of legislation renewing and improving the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Deadline: Submit Your Comments on the Proposed Medicaid Rule Before Friday!
This Friday, October 12th is the deadline for submitting comments on the proposed Medicaid rule that would threaten rehabilitative services.

Act Now to Support Affordable Housing!
On October 10, the House of Representatives will consider important legislation to authorize a new Housing Trust Fund to develop rental housing targeted to individuals with extremely low incomes, including people with serious mental illness living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The National Housing Trust Fund
On October 10, the House of Representatives will consider important legislation to authorize a new Housing Trust Fund to develop rental housing targeted to individuals with extremely low incomes, including people with serious mental illness living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

President Vetoes SCHIP Bill
On October 3, the President vetoed a critical measure renewing the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Efforts in the House and Senate to override this veto are expected later this month.

Support Mental Illness Research Funding!
Congress is still considering its funding bills for fiscal year 2008 – which means that there’s still time to push for increased funding for mental illness research.

SEPTEMBER

Proposed Medicaid Rule Threatens Services - Your Advocacy Urgently Needed
Proposed changes to rehabilitative services could have a devastating effect on services for people with mental illness. Act now!

House Passes SCHIP Legislation! Now, on to the Senate!
By a vote of 265-159 (and one member voting “present”) the House cleared legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This is unfortunately 19 votes short of the level necessary to override the expected President veto. The bill now moves to the Senate later this week.

Let’s Push Congress of Children’s Health Insurance
Contact your members of Congress and urge them support SCHIP.

Senate Passes Parity!
Last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S 558), legislation requiring health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses. The bill now moves to the House, where efforts are underway to move it forward later this fall.

AUGUST

Senate Passes Children’s Health Insurance Bill
Thanks to your support, the Senate passed legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) on August 2 by a vote of 68-31.

JULY

Act Now to Support Children’s Mental Health – House and Senate Set to Vote on SCHIP Legislation
Take action today to ensure protections to SCHIP legislation.

Act Now to Strengthen the ADA!
Urge your Representatives to Support the ADA Restoration Act, and end discrimination against people with mental illness who are taking medication.

ACT NOW to Support Children's Mental Health
Urge your member of Congress to support reauthorization of SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Act Now to Support Critical Mental Health Funding
The US House of Representatives will be voting on the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill which provides critical mental health funding.

JUNE

ACT NOW to push for Mental Health Parity!
U.S. Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senate sponsors of federal parity legislation (S 558), are expected to quickly press for action on a revised version of their bill to provide equivalent health plan coverage for the treatment of mental illness.

Help Push for Improvements to Gun Reporting Legislation
On June 13th, the US House passed a bill to provide more funding and incentives to states to report people to the National Instant Background Check System.

MAY

Help Raise Awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder!
A Congressional Briefing on Borderline Personality Disorder is scheduled for Tuesday May 8.

Support Funding for Housing!
Advocates are urged to support a proposal for funding for homeless programs, and oppose cuts to the Section 811 housing program.

APRIL

NAMI Celebrates National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
Please write your members of Congress to urge them to attend briefings on children's mental health on May 8, 2007.

MARCH

Support Increased Funding for Mental Illness Research!
A bipartisan coalition of House leaders is currently working to secure additional funding above the President’s FY 2008 request for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Support Needed To End Discrimination In Medicaid!
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D - Texas) has introduced a bill, HR 1155, to repeal the current prohibition on the use of Federal Medicaid dollars to pay for services for individuals between the ages of 22 and 64 in private and public inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities. Please support this bill by contacting your member of Congress!

FEBRUARY

Senate Clears FY 2007 Spending Legislation, Measure Moves to President Bush
The Senate on February 14 gave final passage to the $463.5 billion continuing funding resolution for the remaining months of the current fiscal year (FY 2007). The bill (H.J.Res. 20) includes the current budgets for mental illness research at NIMH, mental health services at SAMHSA, housing programs at HUD and mental illness treatment services at the VA. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.

Senate HELP Committee Votes in Favor of Parity
On Wednesday, February 14, 2007, the Senate HELP Committee voted in favor of parity paving the way for a vote of the full Senate.

Senators Introduce Mental Illness Parity Legislation – Senate Committee Set for Immediate Action on Bill Ending Insurance Discrimination
On February 12, a bipartisan group of senators, led by longtime NAMI allies Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), introduced legislation to require employers and health plans to equally cover treatment for mental illness. This legislation, would expand an existing 1996 federal law and prohibit employers and health plans from imposing durational treatment limits and financial limitations on coverage for mental illness that do not apply to all other medical conditions.

White House Releases FY 2008 Budget
Cuts Proposed for Mental Illness Research and Housing; Freeze Proposed for Most Mental Illness Services Programs; Increase Sought for Veterans Programs.

Act Now to Reduce Social Security Decision Delays!
People with mental illness who apply for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) or for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are currently waiting longer and longer for decisions on eligibility. This is especially the case for claimants that are forced to file appeals to overturn a denial of benefits to which they are entitled. Please notify your members of Congress to approve increased funds to alleviate this problem

House Passes Funding Measure for Fiscal Year 2007
By a vote of 286-140, the House, on January 31, passed a massive $463 billion funding measure for the current fiscal year covering the budgets for dozens of federal departments and agencies. The measure, known as a "continuing resolution" would extend most agencies and programs at their FY 2006 level for the remainder of the current fiscal year (FY 2007).

JANUARY

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Announce Money Follows the Person Grants
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced this week the first round of grantees for the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Projects.

2006

DECEMBER

2007 Open Enrollment for Medicare Drug Benefit Ends on December 31
The current "Open Enrollment" process for the coming 2007 plan year for the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit ends on December 31. Many Medicare beneficiaries now have until midnight on Sunday to make a decision about whether or not switch plans – or be forced to wait until the next open enrollment period in November 2007.

Final Adjournment Wrap-Up
Congress Clears Legislation Reforming NIH, Full-Year "Continuing Resolution" Expected Early Next Year, New SAMHSA Administrator Confirmed

Congress Reaches Final Adjournment – Resolution of FY 2007 Spending Bills Pushed Off Until February, 1996 parity Law Renewed
The 109th Congress has adjourned for the year leaving a number of issues unresolved, including FY 2007 spending bills covering all domestic agencies, including mental illness research and services, as well as veterans and housing programs.

NOVEMBER

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: 2007 Open Enrollment Period Begins Today; New Plan Options Available
On November 15th the Medicare Part D Open Enrollment period begins for 2007. Between November 15 and December 31, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to make plan selections for prescription drug coverage for calendar year 2007.

Post Election "Lame-Duck" Session Begins
Even though the 2006 elections are now over, the 2006 congressional session is not and House and Senate members returned to Washington on November 13th to complete unfinished business for this year, including current fiscal year funding bills covering a broad range of domestic programs including mental illness research and services, housing and veterans’ programs.

OCTOBER

Getting Ready for the Medicare Drug Benefit in 2007
Beginning on November 15, and running through December 31, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to enroll in a drug plan for 2007. Learn about changes that may affect you or your family.

Help Pass Mental Health Parity
Take action to ensure that Congress finally brings Mental Health Parity to a vote of the full House of Representatives.

Congress Adjourns For Fall Campaign, Action on Domestic Spending Bills Pushed Off to Post-Election "Lame Duck" Session
Congress has adjourned for the fall campaign season and in doing so pushed off work on a range of domestic issues until a "lame duck" legislative session that is expected to begin the week of November 17. Among the bills that Congress will have to confront when it returns are FY 2007 spending bills for mental illness research and services, housing and veterans programs.

SEPTEMBER

NAMI Election 2006 Tools
As candidates campaign for state and federal elections this fall, many NAMI advocates, leaders, and members will be engaging in the debate as part of their commitment to the NAMI movement and mission. In support of this effort, we have assembled some tools for you to use in elevating the issues of mental illness.

Senata Caucus on Mental Health Reform Briefing
The Senate Caucus on Mental Health Reform will hold a briefing entitled "Mental Health: A Public Health Crisis" on Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, featuring Dr. David Satcher, former Surgeon General of the United States.

JULY

Senate Committee Moves Forward on FY 2007 Spending Bills Covering Mental Illness Research and Services, Housing, Veterans Programs
Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a range of spending bills for FY 2007 covering a broad range of agencies and programs, including mental illness research and services, housing, and veterans programs.

Good News on Medicaid Citizenship Documentation Requirement
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issue an interim final rule regarding the Medicaid documentation requirements. The most important change from prior guidance is that individuals who become eligible for Medicaid through SSI and individuals who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare are exempt from citizenship documentation requirements.

JUNE

CMS Issues Guidance on Citizenship Documentation
The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) was signed into law on February 8, 2006. The bill includes new requirements for anyone currently on Medicaid or applying for Medicaid benefits. Starting July 1, 2006, anyone applying for or being recertified as Medicaid eligible will be required to document United States citizenship and identity. Prior to the DRA, states could allow individuals to self-declare citizenship. Now they will be required to show documentation.

MAY

House Passes Veterans Spending Bill
House Passes Veterans Spending Bill -- $400 Million Added for VA Mental Illness Treatment Services, $25 Million Added to Address Mental Health Needs of Soldiers Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan

NAMI warns about Research Funding Cuts 5-19-2006
Today at a Senate Hearing NAMI President, Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia, testified on the importance of mental illness research and the need for continued investment in medical research on schizophrenia, bipolar disease, and major depression.

Medicare Drug Benefit Enrollment Period Expires
As is being widely reported in the press, the initial sign-up period for the new Medicare drug benefit expired on May 15. Starting May 16, Medicare beneficiaries that did not signed up for drug coverage will have to wait until the fall to enroll and their coverage will not be effective until January 1, 2007.

Threat to State Parity Laws Averted – For Now
By a vote 55-43, the Senate rejected the effort to limit debate on S 1955, legislation to authorize new small business health insurance plans that would have significantly undermine laws at the state level requiring health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses (insurance parity).

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: 2006 Enrollment Deadline Less Than 5 Days Away
As is being widely reported in the press, the initial sign-up period for the new Medicare drug benefit expires on May 15. After Monday, most Medicare beneficiaries that have not signed up for drug coverage will have to wait until next fall and their coverage will not be effective until January 1, 2007.

Senate Set to Consider Health Insurance Legislation
Next week, the Senate is scheduled to take up legislation that would place at risk the 39 existing state laws that require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses.

NAMI Joins National Partners in Promoting Children’s Mental Health
SAMHSA is launching an annual initiative called National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which this year will take place on May 8 and every year will be designated to coincide with “May is Mental Health Month.”

APRIL

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: April 28, 2006
On April 27, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidelines requiring Medicare drug plans to continue covering medications for any beneficiaries already enrolled in the plan after a plan removes a medication from its list of covered drugs (also known as a formulary).

NAMI Applauds Representatives for Addressing Workforce Crisis in Children's Mental Health
On March 30th, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed an amendment (H.R. 609), sponsored by Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), which allows child and adolescent mental health professionals to be eligible for loan forgiveness. The Senate companion bill, entitled the Higher Education Amendments Act (S. 1614), is likely to be taken up by the full Senate in late April or May.

CATIE Phase II Released
On April 1, 2006, the latest in a series of major research studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) into the effectiveness of psychiatric medications was released.

Budget Update April 3, 2006
The week of April 3, the House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the FY 2007 Budget Resolution. Later this week, the House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the FY 2007 Budget Resolution.

MARCH

Medicare Part D update March 27, 2006
Initial transition rules for the Medicare Part D drug benefit will expire on March 31, allowing Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) to begin imposing restrictions on access to some medications on their preferred drug lists (also known as formularies).

FDA Panel Recommends Against Black Box Warnings For ADHD Medications
On March 22, 2006, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC) recommended against requiring "black-box" warnings about potential risks associated with the use of stimulants to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

NAMI Statement on STAR*D Phase Two
Statement from NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick on the release of Star*D phase two findings.

Senate Passes Specter-Harkin Amendment
By a 73-27 vote, the Senate yesterday added $7 billion in spending authority to a broad range of health and human service programs as part of the FY 2007 budget resolution. This would allow additional funding authority for FY 2007 spending legislation covering mental illness research and services that will be taken up by Congress this coming summer.

Specter-Harkin Amendment to Boost Health Research and Services Funding
Work begins this week in the Senate on the FY 2007 budget resolution -- the fiscal blueprint that sets limits for all spending -- and Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) are planning an amendment to boost overall spending on health research and services by $7 billion above the President's request.

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: March 9, 2006
In March of 2006, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for Medicare, issued guidelines that renew protections that require drug plans to offer broad coverage of psychotropic medications and cover all prescriptions new plan enrollees.

FEBRUARY

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: Consumer and Family Tip Sheet Available
The Medicare Part D drug benefit is now 45 days old and while many of the problems that plagued the early days of the benefit have been addressed, some problems persist. Of particular concern to NAMI are coverage gaps faced by low-income beneficiaries with severe mental illness who are concurrently (dually) eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

White House Releases FY 2007 Budget Proposal
President Bush, on February 6, 2006, unveiled his $2.77 trillion budget plan for the fiscal year (FY) 2007 - with major increases proposed for defense and homeland security, but an overall 2.3% reduction for most domestic discretionary programs.

Medicare Drug Benefit Update
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced yesterday that it is extending, for an additional 60 days, a requirement for drug plans to automatically cover medications prescribed to dual eligibles as of January 1.

House Passes Budget Cuts to Medicaid
The House on February 1st, 2006 gave final approval to a $39 billion package of budget cuts that will result in major changes in Medicaid including reductions aimed at beneficiaries across all eligibility categories and new flexibility for states that could result in higher cost sharing for recipients with mental illnesses and other disabilities.

JANUARY

House Set to Vote on Budget Bill That Includes Cuts to Medicaid
The House of Representatives is expected to vote next week on final passage of a massive package of budget cuts that includes some of the most important changes to the Medicaid program in years.

Medicare Drug Benefit Update: January 25, 2006
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to provide reimbursement to states that have elected to cover costs associated with gaps in coverage during the transition to the new Medicare drug benefit.

Medicare Part D Update
In order to address continuing problems with the implementation of the new Medicare drug benefit program, the Bush Administration has ordered prescription drug plans to provide a 30-day supply of any drug that a low-income beneficiary (including a dual eligible) was previously taking, for no more than $5 for each covered drug ($2 if the medication is generic).

How is the New Medicare Drug Benefit Working for You?
The new Medicare drug benefit went into effect on January 1. During the initial days of this benefit, NAMI is hearing both positive and negative stories from across the country about the initial transition period to the new benefit -- especially among low-income individuals with severe mental illness who are "dually eligible" for both Medicare and Medicaid.

2005

DECEMBER

Medicare Drug Benefit Goes Live on January 1
More than two years after Congress passed legislation authorizing a new prescription drug benefit in Medicare, the program goes into effect on Sunday, January 1. There are growing concerns about how the initial period of transition to the new benefit will work.

Congress Clears Legislation Funding Mental Illness Research and Services
In its final action prior to adjournment for the year, the Senate gave final approval yesterday to legislation allocating FY 2006 funding for labor, health, and education programs including mental illness research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and mental illness treatment and services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Senate Passes Budget Bill That Is Harmful For Medicaid Recipients With Serious Mental Illnesses
This morning, the Senate passed the Budget Reconciliation package (S 1932) on a 50-50 tie vote, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote, allowing the bill to pass. S 1932, as passed, allows states to impose co-pays and other cost sharing requirements in their Medicaid programs.

House-Passed Budget Legislation Would Harm Medicaid Beneficiaries With Serious Mental Illness; Senate Vote Pending
The legislation, known as the "budget reconciliation" package now moves to the Senate which is expected to move on the legislation as early as tonight. The vote is expected to be very close.

House and Senate Leaders Move Toward Agreement on Medicaid Cuts
Congressional leaders and the Bush Administration are working toward an agreement on budget legislation that will include important changes to Medicaid, including new authority for states to impose higher cost sharing requirements for critical services including prescriptions, physician services and inpatient care.

Congress Grapples With Medical Research Funding
Congress returns to Washington on December 6 and will again try to pass spending legislation for health, labor, and education programs. Included in this legislation is FY 2006 funding for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and a Senate proposal to boost mental illness research funding by $48.2 million.

NOVEMBER

Congress Completes Action on Budgets for Housing, Veterans' and Criminal Justice Programs
Just prior to beginning a two-week Thanksgiving holiday recess, the House and Senate on November 18 passed legislation containing the 2006 budgets for housing, veterans', and criminal justice programs. These bills restore deep cuts that had been proposed for housing assistance to low-income people with mental illness and boost funding for treatment and services for veterans' with mental illness.

House Clears Budget Package Including Medicaid Cuts
Early this morning, the House passed (217-215) the long expected budget “reconciliation” package that includes $11.4 billion in reductions to the Medicaid program over the next 5 years. This sends the budget “reconciliation” measure to a conference committee with the Senate that will try to resolve differences between the two bills.

Enrollment for Medicare Drug Benefit Begins
As of November 15, Medicare beneficiaries can begin signing up for prescription drug coverage. The actual benefit goes into effect on January 1, 2006 and the initial enrollment period will run through May 15, 2006.

House Set to Vote on Changes to Medicaid
Later this week the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a $53.9 billion deficit reduction package that includes at least $10 billion in reductions to Medicaid, including new authority for states to require higher cost sharing and premiums from beneficiaries.

OCTOBER

House and Senate Set to Consider Legislation Reforming and Cutting Medicaid
This week and next, both the House and Senate will be taking up legislation to reform the Medicaid program and achieve a net $10 billion in savings over the next 5 years.

Housing Update: Senate to Consider 2006 HUD Budget
This week the Senate is expected to take up the FY 2006 funding bill for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The bill (HR 3058) includes funding for critically important housing programs serving low-income people with mental illness including Section 811, permanent housing under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the Section 8 rental voucher program.

SEPTEMBER

CMS Announces the Names of Plans Offering Coverage for the New Medicare Rx Benefit
On September 23, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the names of the plans in each state that will be offering coverage under the upcoming Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Senators Introduce Legislation Expanding Medicaid Assistance for Hurricane Katrina Victims
A bipartisan coalition of Senators introduced legislation to temporarily expand eligibility and services for Medicaid in response to Hurricane Katrina. The legislation includes expanded federal matching funds (i.e., a 100% federal matching rate) through December 31, 2006 for Louisiana, Mississippi and impacted counties in Alabama.

House and Senate Leaders Delay Action on Medicaid Proposals
As a result of the urgent need to respond to the Hurricane Katrina emergency, House and Senate leaders announced on September 12 that action on separate legislation to cut future Medicaid spending by $10 billion over the next 5 years has been delayed until at least October 26.

Action Needed to Preserve Medicaid Funding for ACT Programs
On September 6, Congress returns from its month-long summer recess and will begin work on a massive budget measure that includes a requirement to limit future Medicaid spending by $10 billion over the next 5 years.

AUGUST

NAMI Strongly Urges Families to Submit Comments on Proposed IDEA Regulations
In December 2004, President Bush signed into law a bill that re-authorizes The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - our nation’s special education law.

NAMI’s Letter to the U.S. Department of Education on Proposed IDEA Regulations
In December 2004, President Bush signed into law a bill that re-authorizes The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - our nation’s special education law.

Medicaid Reform Commission Endorses Higher Co-Payments for Prescription Drugs
On August 18, a federal Commission charged with developing changes to the Medicaid program endorsed a series of recommendations to Congress for trimming future spending by $10 billion over the next 5 years.

Congress to Consider Major Medicaid Changes in September
This week the House and Senate began a month long summer recess, during which members of Congress will be in their states and districts across the country. One of the major issues Congress will confront upon their return to work in September is how to reduce future Medicaid expenditures by $10 billion over the next five years.

JULY

Congress Begins August Recess After Flurry of Legislative Activity
Today Congress began a month-long summer recess after a flurry of legislative activity that included action on Association Health Plan (AHP) legislation by the House and movement by the Senate on spending legislation covering the budgets of NIMH, SAMHSA, HUD and the VA.

House Passes Association Health Plan Legislation
On July 26, the House cleared legislation vastly expanding multi-employer Association Health Plans (AHPs) and potentially undermining existing state laws that require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses – commonly referred to as parity.

Landmark Roadmap for Mental Health Reform Released
The Campaign for Mental Health Reform, a partnership of 16 national mental health organizations, including NAMI, released an important report today recommending a series of actions that Congress and the Administration can take to improve services for people with mental illnesses.

Federal Government Releases Action Plan For Transformation Of Mental Health Services
SAMHSA, in collaboration with seven cabinet level federal agencies, recently released an Action Plan describing initial steps to be taken as part of a multi-year effort to alter the form and function of America's mental health system.

House to Consider Association Health Plan Legislation
Later this week the U.S. House of Representatives will consider legislation to vastly expand multi-employer Association Health Plans (AHPs) and undermine existing state laws that require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses - commonly referred to as parity.

House Clears Housing Funding Legislation
By a vote of 405-18, the House cleared legislation funding the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for FY 2006, on June 30.

JUNE

Medicare Drug Benefit Update
In a major victory for Medicare beneficiaries living with mental illness, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued guidelines to the private sector plans that will be administering the upcoming Medicare drug benefit requiring them to offer broad interrupted coverage of "all or substantially all" medications within specific therapeutic categories.

Oppose the Paul Amendment
On Thursday, June 23, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider legislation funding the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for FY 2006. During debate on this important measure, Representatives Ron Paul (R-TX) is expected to offer an amendment to bar federal funding for screening and early intervention programs targeted to children and adolescents with mental illness.

MAY

Tuesday, May 10: PBS Airs Frontline Report On Criminalization
On May 10, PBS will broadcast a documentary entitled "The New Asylums", an in-depth look at the realities of mental illness filmed inside the Ohio state prison system.

Senate Allies Push for Suicide Prevention Funding
A bipartisan coalition of House members -- led by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Harry Reid (D-NV) -- are currently pushing their colleagues to include funding for recently authorized federal initiatives to expand effective youth suicide prevention services.

NAMI To Participate in Congressional Briefing on Children's Mental Health
There is a critical need for our nation to improve the early identification of mental disorders in children and adolescents and to ensure early and appropriate intervention.

Congress Clears $2.6 Trillion Budget Plan, $10 Billion in Cuts to Medicaid Included
On Thursday, April 28 both the House and Senate narrowly cleared the FY 2006 budget resolution setting forth binding limits for both mandatory and discretionary programs for the next five years.

APRIL

House to Consider Association Health Plan Legislation
Later this week the U.S. House of Representatives will consider legislation to vastly expand multi-employer Association Health Plans (AHPs) and undermine existing state laws that require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses -- commonly referred to as parity.

Legislation to Address Chronic Homelessness and Mental Illness Introduced
This past week, a bipartisan coalition of Senators and House members introduced legislation to further the cause of ending chronic homelessness over the next decade.

House Allies Push for Suicide Prevention Funding
A bipartisan coalition of House members -- led by Representatives Bart Gordon (D-TN), Tom Osborne (R-NE) and Danny Davis (D-IL) -- are currently pushing their colleagues to include funding for recently authorized federal initiatives to expand effective youth suicide prevention services.

Senators Press for Funding Mental Illness Criminal Justice Programs
A bipartisan coalition of Senators and House members are pressing their colleagues to include funding in the FY 2006 budget for the Justice Department to support newly authorized programs to help local communities cope with the disturbing trend of "criminalization" of mental illness.

MARCH

Senate Rejects Proposed Medicaid Cuts
By a bipartisan vote of 52-48, the Senate stripped a proposal to require $15 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program over the next five years. The vote came on an amendment to the FY 2006 budget resolution authored by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to remove the proposed cuts to Medicaid and replace them with a commission to examine long-term reforms to the program.

Medicaid Alert: House and Senate Move Forward With Budget Resolutions
Both the House and Senate Budget Committees acted this week on separate versions of the FY 2006 budget resolution that include cuts to the Medicaid program.

Housing Update, Action Needed: Deep Cut Sought for HUD 811 Program, New Housing Production Proposed for Elimination
The Bush Administration's FY 2006 seeks to cut funding for a key housing resource for people with severe mental illnesses and their families by 50% and completely eliminate funding for production of new units of supportive housing.

FEBRUARY

Medicaid Funding of Mental Illness Treatment
Medicaid is now the dominant source of funding for treatment and support services for both children and adults living with severe mental illness - currently, Medicaid comprises 50% of overall public mental health spending, a figure that is expected to rise to 60% by 2010.

NAMI Urges Support for Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicaid
A bipartisan coalition led by Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Donna Christensen have introduced legislation (S 338 & HR 985) to create a bipartisan commission on the future of the Medicaid program.

Support the Keeping Families Together Act
NAMI strongly supports the Keeping Families Together Act (S 1704/HR 3243 in the 108th Congress - the bill number has not yet been assigned in the 109th Congress), bipartisan and bicameral supported federal legislation designed to help stop the scandal that has lingered too long in states across our nation, one in which parents are forced to give up custody of their child with a mental illness to secure vitally necessary treatment.

JANUARY

CMS Releases Final Regulations on Medicare Drug Benefit, Dual Eligibles to Be "Auto-Enrolled"
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued final regulations implementing the new Medicare prescription drug benefit -part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA).

Mental Health Screening Will Save Lives
Our nation simply cannot afford to continue to fail our youth with mental disorders who need treatment. The tragic consequences of our failure to identify youth through early assessment and to intervene with appropriate mental health treatment and services are well documented. The facts speak for themselves.

NAMI Joins Group Launching Resources for Families
NAMI participated today in a press conference to launch ParentsMedGuide.org, a new resource center developed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents with depression.

2004

DECEMBER

President Bush Signs Law to Reauthorize Our Nation's Special Education Law
On Friday, December 3rd, President Bush signed into law a bipartisan bill that revamps our nation's special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

New British Guidelines Advise Physicians on Treatment of Depression and Anxiety
On December 6, 2004, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidelines for the British National Health Service on the treatment and care of people with depression and anxiety.

NOVEMBER

Housing Alert
House and Senate negotiators this week are considering major changes to the Section 8 rental voucher program as part of final deliberations on the FY 2005 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Action Expected on FY 2005 Funding Bills for Mental Illness Research and Services
With the 2004 elections now behind them, Congress will return to Washington the week of November 15 for a "lame duck" session to complete action on spending legislation for the current fiscal year.

OCTOBER

FDA Requires "Black Box" Warning on Antidepressants
NAMI applauds the FDA for calling for close monitoring of youth living with depression and for providing better information about medications for treating depression in youth. However, the FDA's actions may also have unintended negative consequences.

Congress Reaches Pre-Election Adjournment
As is being widely reported in the press, Congress has adjourned until after the upcoming November elections. Both the House and Senate will return in late November for a post-election “lame duck” session that will be necessary to resolve a range of unfinished spending bills for the current fiscal year (FY 2005). These include appropriations bills funding a range of mental illness research and services programs including the FY 2005 budgets for NIMH, SAMHSA, VA and HUD.

House Passes S. 1994
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed S. 1194, the "Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004".

SEPTEMBER

FDA Advisory Committee Recommends "Black Box Warnings" for Anti-depression Medications
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA)advisory committee held two days of meetings on September 13th and 14th to make recommendations on the use of anti-depression medications for children and adolescents and the risk of suicide.

Congress Passes Suicide Prevention Bill
The United States Congress passed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act that supports state and local suicide prevention programs.

House Set to Take Up Child-Adolescent Suicide Prevention Bill
Later this week, the House of Representatives is set to take up the legislation to bolster state and local efforts to implement effective suicide prevention strategies for young people.

JULY

House Committee Reports Spending Bill for Veterans and Housing Programs
Last week the House Appropriations Committee approved a massive $92.9 billion spending bill that includes the FY 2005 budgets for the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and numerous independent agencies. The entire bill is 2.4% above spending levels for the current fiscal year (FY 2004).

Senate Passes Legislation to Expand Access to On-Campus Mental Illness Treatment Services and Address Youth Suicide
On Thursday, July 8, the Senate cleared legislation authorizing a new program to support mental illness treatment programs at colleges and universities and expand early intervention services aimed at curbing youth suicide.

Stop Putting Sick Children in Jail
NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)today condemned state and local governments that warehouse children and adolescents with mental illnesses in the juvenile justice system - simply because adequate treatment and services in their communities are not available.

JUNE

NAMI's June Poe Testifies at House Hearing on S. 1194
After passing the Senate in 2003, "The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act" (S. 1194) has, until recently, languished in the House of Representatives. Now, it appears that the bill is beginning to move in the House. On June 22nd, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on the bill. Witnesses testifying at the hearing included June Poe, former President of NAMI-Roanoke Valley (Virginia), on behalf of NAMI.

MAY

Senate Passes the Special Education Bill
On Thursday May 13, the Senate passed S. 1248 -- a bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Senate worked hard, under the leadership of Senator Gregg (R-NH), as Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Senator Kennedy (D-MA), as Ranking Minority Member, to develop a bipartisan bill. The bill passed the Senate in a 95-3 vote.

Association Health Plan Bill in House Would Weaken Parity
HR 4281 - the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2004 - a bill in favor of Association Health Plans,is going to be voted on in the House on Thursday, May 13. Please contact your Representative to urge opposition to this bill, as it may be detrimental to people with mental illness for a variety of reasons.

Association Health Plan Bill in Senate Would Weaken Parity
In June, 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Small Business Health Plan (AHP) legislation. On May 12, 2004, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a similar bill - S. 545 - the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2003. Advocates are urged to contact your U.S. Senators to request their opposition to this bill. If S. 545 passes, state mental illness parity laws will be significantly weakened.

APRIL

Insurance Parity Update - Effort Launched to Push for Senate Action
The Senate has begun a 10-day spring recess during with senators will be in their home states until April 20. During this time NAMI is launching an all out effort to help Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)force action on their bill to require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses -insurance parity.

MARCH

FDA Issues Advisory on Antidepressants
NAMI applauds the FDA for issuing a public health advisory on March 22, 2004 that calls for the careful monitoring of children and adults using antidepressant medications.

NAMI Releases a New Report on Research Needs for Serious Mental Illness
NAMI released an important report from its Task Force on Research: "Roadmap to Recovery & Cure" -- calling for large increases in severe mental illness research and a closer alignment of the research and treatment system.

Federal Legislation Introduced to Help End Youth Suicide
On Monday, March 8, 2004, Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), and Gordon Smith (R-OR) introduced the Youth Suicide Early Intervention and Prevention Expansion Act of 2004 (Senate bill 2175).

Senate Votes to Strike Proposed $11 Billion in Medicaid Cuts
By a 53-43 vote, the Senate on March 10th, rejected efforts to cut Medicaid by $11 billion over the next five years. The bipartisan vote came on an amendment by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) to strike provisions in the FY 2005 budget resolution that would have required the Medicaid cuts to have been put in place by the end of the year.

Senate to Consider Amendments to Delete Proposed Medicaid Cuts from the Budget
This week the Senate is considering the FY 2005 budget resolution - the tax and spending blueprint for the coming fiscal year - that includes $11 billion in proposed cuts to the Medicaid program over the next five years.

Senate Budget Resolution Proposes $11 Billion in Cuts to Medicaid
This week the Senate Budget Committee is considering its FY 2005 Budget Resolution - the tax and spending blueprint for the coming fiscal year - that includes $11 billion in proposed cuts to the Medicaid program.

Urge your U.S. Representative to Support Bill to Reduce Criminalization of People with Mental Illness
NAMI asks for your leadership in urging your Congressman or Congresswoman to co-sponsor HR 2387, the "Mentally Ill Offender and Crime Reduction Act of 2004"

FEBRUARY

NAMI Members Urged to Contact Federal Representatives to Bring Family Opportunity Act to the Floor
There are indications that Speaker Hastert will soon bring the FOA to the House Floor for a vote. This is an unprecedented opportunity - there has been great difficulty in bringing this important bill to this point in the past.

Senate Completes Action on Budget Resolution, Medicaid Cuts Rejected, Action Now Shifts to the House
Early on March 12, the Senate completed action on the FY 2005 budget resolution, after eliminating $11 billion in proposed cuts to Medicaid over the next five years. The House is scheduled to take up its version of the budget resolution this week.

House to Consider Social Security Legislation
On February 11, the House of Representatives is expected to consider legislation to reform the Social Security representative payee program and enact important reforms to protect the interests of vulnerable SSI and SSDI recipients with mental impairments including severe mental illness. NAMI advocates are urged to contact House members in support the Bill to protect and improve the representative payee program.

White House Releases FY 2005 Budget Proposal
President Bush laid out his $2.4 trillion budget plan for FY 2005 - with major increases proposed for defense and homeland security, but only a .5%increase for all other domestic discretionary programs.

JANUARY

NAMI Leaders Lobby Congress
State and local leaders of NAMI: The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness visited Capitol Hill offices on Thursday, January 15, as part of an annual leadership conference lasting through the weekend.

2003

NOVEMBER

House and Senate Negotiators Consider Last Minute FY 2004 Reduction for Medical Research Funding -- Increase for NIMH at Risk
Congress and the Bush Administration are in the final stages of negotiations over the FY 2004 budgets for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Advocates seeking a larger increase for education programs are pushing a proposal to increase funding for Pell Grants by reducing the proposed increase for NIH and NIMH.

NAMI Position on Medicare Conference Report
The new benefits for prescription drug coverage and protections for vulnerable, low-income beneficiaries (including those dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid) appear to be a major improvement over the status quo and previous congressional proposals. As a result, NAMI has sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging members to vote in favor of passage later this week.

How the Quality of Mental Health Care of is Measured
Changes are being made to the measurement of the quality of mental health care. Action is requested regarding how quality of mental health care should be measured.

OCTOBER

The Keeping Families Together Act (S. 1704/H.R. 3243)NAMI Creates a Story Bank on Custody Relinquishment
Bipartisan federal legislation, the Keeping Families Together Act (Senate Bill - S. 1704 and House Bill - H.R. 3243), introduced on October 2nd -- promises to address the scandal that has lingered too long in states throughout the nation - parents being forced to give up custody of their children solely to secure vitally necessary mental health treatment. The media, legislative staff and others often contact NAMI and other advocacy groups and request family stories related to custody relinquishment. NAMI has created a story bank to fill this need.

Remembering Senator Paul Wellstone – NAMI Marks Anniversary of His Tragic Death With Call to Action on Insurance Parity Legislation
October 25 will mark the 1st anniversary of the passing of an unrivaled champion for people living with severe mental illness and their families – Senator Paul Wellstone. In memory of his legacy and in celebration of his life, NAMI advocates are urged to call their members of Congress this week and urge immediate action on mental illness insurance parity legislation (S 486/HR 953 – the Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2003).

NAMI Calls on VA to Maintain Inpatient Capacity, Increase Community Services
NAMI feels strongly that the VA must do more to maintain capacity for veterans with severe and chronic mental illness and the lack of access to treatment and community supports for veterans with severe mental illness is one of the greatest unmet needs in the VA.

SEPTEMBER

Federal Funding of Mental Health Courts in Jeopardy2
To date, neither the U.S. House of Representatives nor the U.S. Senate have appropriated money for fiscal year 2004 for the federal Mental Health Courts program. We have one more chance in the Senate to advocate for restoration of funding for this vital program

Senate Finance Committee Votes in Favor of Family Opportunity Act


AUGUST

SPECIAL TELEVISION ALERT!
NAMI and other advocates are preparing to tune-in Tuesday, August 19 to the highly acclaimed PBS television series, P.O.V. (Point of View) series, for the national premiere of the gripping documentary, "West 47th Street," which follows the progress of four members of Fountain House in New York City.

Senate Holds Hearing on Bill Addressing Criminalization of Mental Illness
On Wednesday, July 30, the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate held a hearing on S. 1194, "The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2003". NAMI's Legal Director, Ron Honberg, testified at the hearing in behalf of NAMI and the Campaign for Mental Health Reform

JULY

House Passes Funding Bill for Housing and Veterans' Programs
The House of Representatives on July 25 cleared legislation on next year's budgets for the U.S. Departments of Veterans' Affairs (VA) and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including housing and homeless programs serving adults with severe mental illnesses

Presidential Commission Report Emphasizes Need To Transform Mental Health System.
President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health today released its long anticipated final report highlighting the serious fragmentation of the nation's mental health system and emphasizing the desperate need to transform this system. The report, entitled "Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America", provides recommendations for steps that can be taken at national, state and local levels to improve mental health services and supports for people of all ages with mental illnesses.

CONGRESS MOVES FORWARD ON SPENDING LEGISLATION
The Senate is scheduled this week to take up spending legislation covering FY 2004 funding for federal agencies and programs that include important federal investments for mental illness research and services

NAMI TESTIFIES AT SENATE HEARING ON SAMHSA REAUTHORIZATION
On July 15, NAMI Board Member Gloria Walker of Ohio testified before the new Senate Subcommittee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services on legislation to reauthorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Senate Hearings Focus On 'Families on the Brink'
In 1999, NAMI released a report, entitled Families on the Brink: the Impact of Ignoring Children with Serious Mental Illness, which revealed that 20% of families surveyed reported having to give up custody of their children with mental illnesses in order to secure services for them.

House and Senate Complete Action on Medicare Prescription Drug Legislation, House-Senate Conference Awaits
the House and Senate on June 27 cleared separate bills to add a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program. The vote in the House was 216 to 215, largely along party lines. By contrast, the Senate cleared its version 76 to 21 with support from both Democrats and Republicans

JUNE

House and Senate Begin Work on FY 2004 Spending Bill for Mental Illness Research and Services Programs
This past week Congress began action on spending legislation for mental illness research and services for the coming federal fiscal year that will begin on October 1. The massive FY 2004 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (nearly $138 billion) includes important increases for mental illness research and services programs, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).

Power Named to Head Federal Center for Mental Health Services
The largest grassroots advocacy organization in America, NAMI, The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness, welcomes the selection of Kathryn Power as the new Director of the Federal Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).

New Report Highlights Worsening Housing Crisis for SSI Beneficiaries with Mental Illness
For the first time ever, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment has exceeded monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, documenting a worsening housing crisis for SSI beneficiaries with severe mental illness. A new report entitled “Priced Out in 2002” reveals that the combination of extreme poverty and record-setting rent levels has continued to fuel the housing crisis confronting people with severe disabilities in every housing market across the country.

House Association Health Plan Legislation Would Weaken State Mental Illness Insurance Parity Laws!
Later this week the U.S. House of Representatives will consider legislation to vastly expand multi-employer Association Health Plans (AHPs) and undermine existing state laws that require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses – commonly referred to as parity.

Action Looms On Medicare Prescription Drugs Legislation
Both the House and Senate are working on legislation that would for the first time authorize payment for prescription drugs under Medicare. This legislation will benefit large numbers of Medicare recipients with mental illnesses who traditionally have had to pay for their medications themselves or through alternative programs.

NAMI Applauds Visionary Bill to Reduce Criminalization of Mental Illness
Your advocacy is needed to achieve passage! Please contact your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Congressman or Congresswoman and urge them to co-sponsor the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2003.

MAY

State Medicaid Programs Receive Needed Financial Relief
President Bush has signed a $350 billion tax reduction and economic stimulus bill (HR 2) that includes $20 billion in federal aid for the states. This includes $10 billion in additional federal matching funds for Medicaid for FY 2003 and FY 2004 (Medicaid is the largest and most important source of funding for public sector mental illness treatment and support programs).

Good News! Congress Approves More Federal Funds for Medicaid!


Senate Supports FMAP and State Fiscal Relief


HUD Announces 2003 SuperNOFA


House Hearing Out of Step with President Bush & Surgeon General


House Passes Special Education Bill Eroding Important Protections for Students with Mental Illnesses


APRIL

States Force Families to Abandon Thousands of Children


House Passes Social Security Protection Act


NAMI Objects to Biased and Inaccurate Portrayal of ADHD


Congress Completes Action on FY 2004 Budget Resolution


Don't Miss the 2003 NAMI Convention


Pulitzer Prizes focus on Mental Illness for Second Year in a Row


NAMI Board Calls on Senate-House Conferees to Hold the Line on Medicaid


MARCH

House Republicans Introduce Bill to Reauthorize IDEA- URGENT Action Needed


Immediate Efforts Needed to Fight House Cuts to Medicaid
With the shadow of war hanging over the Congress, House and Senate leaders are pushing to complete action on the FY 2004 budget resolution. As part of this effort, House leaders are continuing efforts to force as much as $92 billion in future cuts to Medicaid over the next decade.

Family Opportunity Act Re-Introduced in tbe Senate


NAMI Urges Grassroots to Call in Opposition to Medicaid Cuts


NAMI Issues Statement on Medicaid Malpractice


FEBRUARY

Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2003 Introduced


Congress Completes Action on 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill


White House Releases FY 2004 Budget Proposal


JANUARY

President Unveils Proposal to Assist People With Disabilities


HUD announces $35 Million Initiative on Chronic Homelessness


Senate Completes Action on 2003 Omnibus Spending Bill


National Champion of People With Mental Illness Dies


108th Congress Set to Convene


2002

DECEMBER

HUD Releases 2002 Funds For Homeless Assistance Programs and Disability Rental Vouchers


SAMHSA Issues Report on Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders to Congress


NOVEMBER

NAMI Says a Few Congressional Leaders Will Decide Mental Health Parity: Discrimination That Can Kill


Congress Adjourns for the Year Without Acting on Spending or Social Security Disability Legislation


Congress Moves Toward Final Adjournment


Legislation Introduced to Address Criminalization of Mental Illness


Congress Begins Post-Election 'Lame Duck' Session


White House Commission Releases Interim Report


OCTOBER

NAMI Mourns death of Senator Paul Wellstone


Congress Adjourns for Election Campaign


Sponsors Make Final Push for Agreement on Parity Legislation


SEPTEMBER

NAMI Condemns Congressional Hearing for Promoting Bad Science


Senate Panel to Consider Medicare Legislation


House Leaders Press for Action on FY 2003 Spending Bill for Research and Services


AUGUST

Mental Health in Troubled Times Radio Series to Air


NAMI Comments on Special Education Project


Congress Begins August Recess


Department of Justice Announces Availability of Funds for Mental Health Courts


Senate Passes Prescription Drug Legislation; Fails To Reach Agreement on Medicare Outpatient Drug Benefit


JULY

Senate Begins Work on Funding Bill of Housing and Veterans' Programs


Senate Holds Hearing on VA's Ability to Deliver Mental Health Care


House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Mental Illness Insurance Parity


Senate Committee Approves Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services Program


NAMI President Testifies Before the New Freedom Commission


JUNE

Final Regulations on Medicaid Managed Care Issued


Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Report Provides Blueprint for Jail Diversion, Opportunities for Advocates


NAMI Loses A Dedicated Friend - Richard Jed Wyatt, M.D., former Chief of the Neuropsychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health


NAMI Members Rally in Support of Mental Health Parity


President Bush Names Appointments to White House Commission on Mental Health


MAY

President Bush Expresses Support for Federal Parity


Bipartisan Coalition of House Members Support Upcoming White House Commission on Mental Illness Treatment Services


APRIL

NAMI Condemns CBS's 60 Minutes For "Sound Bite Journalism"


NAMI Supports the Existing IDEA Discipline Provisions


PBS Documentary: A Brilliant Madness


Senate Holds Hearing on IDEA: Focuses on Behavioral Supports in Schools


MARCH

New Roukema-Kennedy Bill Introduced in the House: Education and the Workforce Committee Convenes Hearing


House Subcommittee Sets Hearing on Mental Illness Parity


NAMI Comments on the Reauthorization of IDEA


The Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2001 (S. 543)


FEBRUARY

Action Needed To Include Funds in House and Senate Budget Resolutions to Support the Family Opportunity Act


White House Releases FY 2003 Budget Proposal


JANUARY

U.S. House of Representatives Poised to Act on Mental Illness Parity Legislation


Social Security Issues Final Regulations for the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA)


2001

DECEMBER

Congress Approves Education Legislation: Full Funding of IDEA Not Included


Congress Completes Action on FY 2002 Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services Programs


Congress Approves Eduction Legislation; Full Funding of IDEA Not Included


New Report Shows Dramatic Increase in Housing Affordability Prices for Non-Elderly Adults with Mental Illness


House-Senate Conference Committee Votes Down Domenici-Wellstone Parity Amendment


House-Senate Conferees Preparing to Vote on Parity


Parity Battle Pushes On


Congress Moves Forward on Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services Programs


NOVEMBER

NAMI Says a Few Congressional Leaders Will Decide Mental Health Parity: Discrimination That Can Kill


HUD Releases 2001 Funds for the Homeless Disability Voucher and Section 811 Programs


Congress To Recess Without Passing Parity
Letters and Phone Calls are Vital



Congress Clears Spending Bill for Housing and Veterans Programs


House-Senate Conferees Add $4 Million in Funding for Federal Mental Health Courts Program


Final Push Needed For Federal Parity - 6 Steps Every NAMI Advocate Can Take to Ensure Victory


Senate Passes Parity -- Effort to End Insurance Discrimination Shifts to the House


House Veterans' Affairs Committee Approves Bill to Expand Services for Veterans with Mental Illness


NAMI Submits Comments on Revised Medicaid Managed Care Regulations


NIMH Director Hyman to Step Down


Senate Adds Funding for Federal Mental Health Courts Program -- Your Advocacy is Needed to Keep this Money in the Final House-Senate Conference Report


Senate Poised to Vote on Full Mental Illness Parity Legislation


OCTOBER

1996 Mental Health Parity Act Set to Expire in Three Days
Senators Domenici and Wellstone Push for Action Full Parity Bill



Action Needed on Family Opportunity Act
Contact the Senate Majority Leader Today



NAMI Offers Comments on Bush Executive Order Regarding State Implementation of Olmstead


The Infinite Mind One-Hour Special on "Terror: Trauma and Healing"


U.S. Surgeon General Releases Report on Mental Health: Culture, Race & Ethnicity


Federal Action Alert: Rural Mental Health Accessibility Act of 2001 (S 859)


Jim McNulty, President of NAMI, Testifies before Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families


AUGUST

Bush Administration Delays Medicaid Managed Care Patient Protection Rules And Announces State Flexibility Initiative


Federal Court Strikes Down Maine Law Restricting Voting For People With Mental Illnesses


HHS Issues Guidance On New Medical Privacy Information


HOUSING UPDATE: Proposals To Establish National Housing Trust Fund Introduced, Emphasis On Development Of Rental Housing For Extremely Low-Income Households


Congress Adjourns for August Recess: Update on Recent Congressional Action


Federal Action Alert: HR 2363 - Consumer-Run Peer Support Centers


Federal Parity Passed Unanimously by Senate Help Committee: Statement by NAMI Board President Jim McNulty


NIMH Seeks Family Members and Consumers To Serve on NIMH Scientific Review Groups


Senate Allocates Funds for Federal Mental Health Courts Program: Grassroots Action Requested


Restraint Regulations for RTC Comments


Congress Begins Work on Funding Bill of Housing and Veterans' Programs


House Takes Up Patients' Rights Legislation


Statement of Jacqueline Shannon


Vocational Rehabilitation Report: A Legacy Of Failure


JULY

Letter to Secretary Anthony J. Principi regarding Access to Medications for Veterans


NAMI Supports Rural Mental Health Accessibility Act of 2001 (S 859)


House Measures Introduced that would Improve Services for Individuals with Serious Brain Disorders


President Bush Signs Executive Order to Implement Supreme Court's Olmstead Decision


JUNE

Senate Begins Debate on Patients' Bill of Rights


NAMI Testifies Before House VA Committee


Senate Passed ESEA Reauthorization


New HCFA Grant Initiative to Improve Community Services


The Medicare Mental Health Modernization Act of 2001


MAY

HCFA Revises Final Interim Rules on Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities for Children and Adolescents


FY 2002 Research and Services Appropriations


FEDERAL PARITY ACTION ALERT: Senators Domenici and Wellstone Seek Cosponsors for Parity Act and NAMI Calls for Insurance Discrimination/Parity Stories


Study Reveals Cost To Society For Housing Homeless Persons With Mental Illness Is Essentially Equal To Cost Of Remaining Homeless


Surgeon General's Suicide Prevention Plan Calls For More Screening And Improved Access To Treatment And Services For People With Serious Brain Disorders


APRIL

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS RELEASED BY SSA FOR EMPLOYMENT NETWORKS FOR THE TICKET TO WORK PROGRAM


NAMI Letter to The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson Regarding the Final Privacy Rule, April 8, 2001


NAMI E-News White House Releases FY 2002 Budget


NAMI Testimony on VA-HUD Appropriations


The Family Opportunity Act of 2001 (S. 321)


Family Opportunity Act


NAMI Testimony on HHS FY 2002 Appropriations


MARCH

FULL MENTAL HEALTH PARITY BILL INTRODUCED IN U.S. CONGRESS TODAY: Strong Grassroots Action Needed


HEALTH CARE FINANCING ADMINISTRATION DELAYS MEDICAID MANAGED CARE RULES


Medicaid Managed Care Regulation: Summary of Major Sections


PRESIDENT BUSH UNVEILS BUDGET PLAN, PROPOSAL INCLUDES MAJOR INCREASES FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH


U.S. SUPREME COURT CUTS BACK PROTECTIONS OF THE ADA


FEBRUARY

NAMI SUBMITS COMMENTS ON SOCIAL SECURITY'S TICKET TO WORK REGULATIONS


Patient Bill Of Rights Update: Consensus Legislation Introduced, President Bush Announces Principles, Partisan Stalemate May Finally End


FDA APPROVES GEODON (ZIPRASIDONE) FOR THE TREATMENT OF SCHIZOPHRENIA


Family Opportunity Act


Letter from NAMI President Jacqueline Shannon to President George W. Bush Commending the "New Freedom Initiative


AoA RELEASES NEW REPORT ON OLDER ADULTS AND MENTAL ILLNESS


HHS INSPECTOR GENERAL RELEASES REPORTS ON INDIVIDUALS WITH SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESSES IN NURSING HOMES


NAMI APPLAUDS PRESIDENT BUSH’S “NEW FREEDOM INITIATIVE"


NAMI APPLAUDS PRESIDENT BUSH’S “NEW FREEDOM INITIATIVE"


JANUARY

NAMI Applauds White House Conference on Mental Health


White House Conference Reflects NAMI Message


HCFA Issues Interim Final Rules On Restraint And Seclusion For Children's Psychiatric Facilities


Opportunity To Improve Treatment And Services For Children With Severe Mental Illnesses


Social Security Issues Final Rules On Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) And Trial Work Period (TWP) Increases


NAMI Policy and Legislation 2000 Archive


NAMI Policy and Legislation Index


2000

DECEMBER

U.S. General Accounting Office Issues Report on Community-Based Services for People With Severe Mental Illness


Work Incentives Update: Social Security Issues Draft


HUD Announces $1 Billion In Homeless Funding Awards


President Clinton Issues New Rules On Medical Privacy And Confidentiality


Congress Adjourns For The Year After Reaching Agreement On Budget; Family Opportunity Act Set Aside Until Next Year


A Consumer Speaks Out, 30 Nov 96


A letter from NAMI executive director Laurie Flynn to Governor George Pataki of New York,
While certainly not unique to the state of New York, the failure of the state’s mental health system to provide the treatments, services and programs needed by Andrew Goldstein guarantees that further tragedies will happen.

A Summary of Reports of Restraints & Seclusion Abuse Received Since the October 1998 Investigation by The Hartford Courant


Advocate Coalition For Appropriate Use Of Restraints
The following is a letter from NAMI on behalf of the Advocate Coalition for Appropriate Use of Restraints to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, regarding the Department's impending insufficient response to the tragedy of people with serious brain disorders and other disabilities dying or suffering serious injury from the use of restraints.

Balanced Budget Plan Signed Into Law, New Childrens’ Health Program Enacted


CARF ACT Standards Inadequate - Not Researched Evidence-Based


Clinton Administration Supports Assertive Community Treatment
Amidst all the speeches and announcements at the White House Conference on Mental Health, one little-noticed action by the Clinton Administration has opened the door for what could be a revolution in the treatment of persons with severe and chronic mental illnesses.

Congratulations To The NAMI Membership, White House Conference Reflects NAMI Message, National Leaders Embrace Needs Of People With Serious Brain Disorders
The NAMI Board and staff would like to congratulate our consumer and family membership and grassroots leaders for twenty years of hard work and tireless effort communicating the concerns of people with serious brain disorders and their families

Congress And The President Agree On Housing Funds For Adults With Severe Mental Illnesses And Other Disabilities


Congress And The President Reach Agreement On Budget And Work Incentives Legislation


Congress Begins August Recess
Congress has now begun its month-long summer recess, after struggling but failing, to complete action on range of policy issues of concern to NAMI’s consumer and family membership. Throughout the summer, Congress has been unable to act on many of these issues (funding for mental illness research and services, housing and managed care reform) because of partisan fights over tax and budget priorities and tight constraints on discretionary spending.

Congress Close To Agreement On The Work Incentives Improvement Act


Congress Moves Forward On FY 2000 Spending Bills Covering Mental Illness Research And Services


Congressional Briefing On Mental Health Courts


Consumer-Staffed Monitoring Teams In Managed-Care Assessment - NAMI


DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ANNOUNCES FY’98 WELFARE TO WORK FUNDING


Does Your Governor Support Federal Flexibility To Serve Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders?
The mental health advocacy community has proposed a legislative amendment which would allow, at the discretion of the Governor, states to use a portion of their Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block Grant funds to finance integrated treatment. States would have to report on how they used the funds.

Federal Action Alert: Four Public Hearings Planned To Seek Recommendations To Improve Substance Abuse Treatment
NAMI is concerned that the estimated 10 million Americans who have co-occurring mental and addictive disorders are not being effectively served by SAMHSA, the federal-government agency charged with administering services programs for these two populations.

Federal Action Alert: House Set To Take Up Managed Care Patient Bill Of Rights Legislation Next Week


Federal Action Alert: Wellstone Amendment Would Exempt People With Mental Illness From The Prison Litigation Reform Act, NAMI Advocacy Is Urgently Needed
Congress passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a law that significantly limits legal protections for inmates in jails and prisons, including those who suffer from severe mental illnesses. We received news today that Senator Paul Wellstone (D. Minn.) has drafted legislation to exempt individuals with mental illnesses and children from the PLRA.

Foster Care Independence Act Signed Into Law - Provisions Included On SSI Overpayments, Treatment Of Trusts And Transfer Of Assets


From State Hospitals to Jails and Prisons?


Full Senate Passes Managed Care Patient Bill Of Rights Legislation, Clinton Threatens Veto, Action Now Shifts To The House
The Senate on July 15 passed a GOP managed care Patient Bill of Rights bill (S 1344) by a 53-47 margin. All 45 Democrats opposed the bill, while all but 2 Republicans – Chafee (RI) and Fitzgerald (IL) – supported it.

Full Senate Set To Take Up Managed Care Patient Bill Of Rights Legislation Next Week
Senate leaders reached agreement on June 29 to take up managed care legislation the week of July 12. Under a "unanimous consent" agreement reached by Senate leaders, there will be four days of debate, ending on July 15.

HCFA Announces Restraints Rules
Tipper Gore with Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT); Representatives John Dingell (D-MI), Pete Stark (D-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Administration officials in attendance announced a new Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) regulation governing the use of restraints and seclusion in Medicare and Medicaid financed hospitals.

HFCA Director Letter
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) programs have been used to serve persons with serious and persistent mental illness for a number of years. Programs based on ACT principles employ interdisciplinary treatment teams, shared caseloads, 24-hour mobile crisis teams, assertive outreach for treatment in clients' own environments, individualized treatment, medication, rehabilitation and supportive services.

HHS Inspector General Calls For Greater Accountability By JCAHO; Report Reinforces NAMI's Call For Greater Restraint Legislation And Regulation


Historic Step Toward Ending Discrimination, 30 Nov 96


House Passes Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill - With Funding For Mental Illness Research And Services, Presidential Veto Expected


House Passes Managed Care Patient Bill Of Rights; Senate Adds Additional Funds For The Mental Health Block Grant


House Passes Work Incentives Improvement Act 412-9


House Subcommittee Approves H.R. 3206 - NAMI


House Ways And Means Committee Passes Work Incentives Reform Bill, House Floor Action Next Week Possible


House-Senate Conference On Juvenile Justice Legislation Scheduled For Tomorrow, Thursday, September 23


HUD Announces Award Of 1999 Housing Funds For The Section 811 Program


IDEA UNDER ATTACK: Rights of Students with Brain Disorders in Severe Jeopardy!


IMD Exclusion: Implications of Repeal


Index: White House Conference On Mental Health Looks At Mental Illness


INSURANCE CARRIER/HEALTH PLAN VIEWS ON IMPACT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE PARITY LEGISLATION


JCAHO Provides NAMI With Helpful Clarification; NAMI Remains Gravely Concerned With Certain Draft Restraint And Seclusion Standards


Joint Commission Seeks Comments On Its Proposed Restraint And Seclusion Standards


Legal Issues


Maine upholds voting restrictions


Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000 (S. 2639 & H.R 5091)


Momentum Continues As Senate Committee On Finance Conducts Public Hearing On Use Of Restraint And Seclusion


NAMI Action Alert: Contact House Judiciary Committee Regarding The Juvenile Justice Bill
When the Congress returns June 7 from its Memorial Day recess, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will take up the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) amendment which the Senate attached to the Juvenile Justice bill.

NAMI Advocates In Congress Continue Push for Working Group On Mental Illness


NAMI Analysis of President Clinton's FY 1998 Budget Proposal


NAMI Applauds Indiana Legislature


NAMI Applauds Surgeon General's Report As A Foundation For Action


NAMI Applauds White House Conference On Mental Health
NAMI applauded the President of the United States and Mrs. Tipper Gore, Mental Health Advisor to the President, for their leadership in convening the first White House Conference on Mental Health, and embracing NAMI’s language and agenda—including the President’s announcement on Saturday of an official, national.campaign against stigma, which to many NAMI members sounded much like NAMI’s own Campaign to End Discrimination.

NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn Sends Letter To The Editor Of The New York Times Praising Support Of Insurance Parity
A letter sent by NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn in response to today's New York Times' editorial supporting parity for mental illness coverage in all group insurance plans. The article appears at the end of this NAMI E-News. Anyone interested in joining NAMI's desire to applaud the decision of the N.Y. Times to endorse parity.

NAMI Files Amicus Brief in Lewis Case


NAMI Hand-Delivers Letter To Attorney General In Reaction To Department Of Justice Report On Criminalization
NAMI hand-delivered the letter below to Attorney General Janet Reno in conjunction with a major DOJ conference on Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System that is being held today and tomorrow. This letter will also be distributed on-site at the conference, which is being attended by several NAMI representatives.

NAMI Members Need To Send Comments On HFCA Restraint Rules By August 31, 1999
new regulations by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) were announced that govern the use of restraints and seclusion in Medicare and Medicaid financed hospitals. The actual interim final rule which appeared in the July 2, Vol. 64. No. 127 Federal Register makes significant improvements in how restraints are used in hospitals.

NAMI Policy and Legislation 1995 Archive


NAMI Policy and Legislation 1996 Archive


NAMI Policy and Legislation 1998 Archive


NAMI Submits Comments To HUD On 'One Strike' Regulations Regarding Eviction And Disqualification From Public Housing


NAMI Submits Testimony in Congressional Hearing on Vocational Rehabilitation


NAMI Urges State and Local Affiliates To Sign On To Letter<BR>In Opposition of H.R. 3206, An Assault on The Fair Housing Act


National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Statement on Suicide of John Salvi III


New Housing Advocacy Guide Available For Nami Affiliates; New Information About How To Use The Hud Consolidated Plan Process To Argue For More Housing Dollars


New Mississippi Law Brings Sweeping Reform To State's Mental Health Care System


NO COST INCREASE ASSOCIATED WITH EQUAL INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESSES, FINDS NAMI STUDY


Oregon County Report Demonstrates Need For Mental Health Block Grant Accountability: House Preparing For Debate Over Year 2000 SAMHSA Reauthorization


PARITY IN DELAWARE – THE TIME IS NOW


PARITY IN MASSACHUSETTS – THE TIME IS NOW


PARITY IN TEXAS – THE TIME IS NOW


President Clinton Announces End To Discriminatory Federal Hiring Practices For People With Psychiatric Disabilities
President Clinton announced today an end to unfair and restrictive hiring practices by federal agencies using personnel policies that have discriminated against people with severe mental illnesses for decades.

President Clinton Signs Historic Work Incentives Legislation Into Law
Today, President Clinton signed the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act into law.

Principled Mental Health System Reform


Radio Address Of The President To The Nation
Radio Address Of The President To The Nation

Rules Committee Considers Damaging Amendments To The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
The House of Representatives' Rules Committee is scheduled to finalize the rule for floor debate on H.R. 1501, the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 1999 and amendments to H.R. 1501. The Rules Committee has been asked to consider several damaging amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

SAMHSA And CMHS Seek Candidates For Grant Application Peer Review Committee


Senate Chairman To Hold Hearing On Abuse Of Seclusion & Restraints In Psychiatric Facilities
We are heartened by the announcement of Senator William Roth (R-DE), chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance-with jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid and much of the nation's health industry-that he will hold a hearing later this fall on the abuse of seclusion and restraints in psychiatric hospitals.

Senate Committee Reports Dodd Restraints Legislation As Part of SAMSHA Reauthorization
The legislation reauthorizes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Senate Committee Reports SAMSHA Reauthorization Bill
The legislation contains many positive initiatives, including Senator Christopher Dodd’s (D-CT) restraints regulations and reporting requirements. [Refer to NAMI E-News Volume 00-18 of August 2, 1999 for details.] Missing from the legislation are NAMI’s two highest priorities with SAMHSA

Senate Passes Work Incentives Improvement Act 99-0; Action Now Shifts To House Ways And Means Committee
After over a week of difficult negotiations among Senate leaders, the Work Incentives Improvement Act (S 331) passed unanimously today

Senators Domenici & Kennedy Introduce Child Suicide And Violence Research Bill- Senate Cosponsors Needed
Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S 1555, the "Public Health Response to Youth Suicide and Violence Act of 1999." This bill represents an important new effort to significantly enhance clinical research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) on severe mental illness in children and adolescents, with a specific focus on violence and suicide.

Side-by-Side Chart on Major Medicare Prescription Drug Proposals


State Commissioners Say No To Integrated Treatment
Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) are in the midst of deliberations to finalize legislation to reauthorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

States Falling Short In Plans To Cover Children


Switch From SSI To SSDI Does Not Mean Loss Of Medicaid


Taking Mood Stabilizers during the Childbearing Years


The Cost Of Mental Illness Insurance Parity


The Family Opportunity Act of 2000


The Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 1999


The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996


Update On State's Use Of Tobacco Settlement To Fund Treatment And Services For People With Mental Illnesses
Governors are establishing trust funds and endowments to allocate tobacco settlement funds to be used for health care, tobacco prevention and cessation programs, public health and aid to tobacco farmers

Update: Campaign to End Discrimination, 30 Nov 96


What Consumers and Families Expect From Treatment Systems for Persons with Severe Mental Illness


White House Unveils Medicare Reform Proposal
As is being widely reported in the press, President Clinton put forward a new Medicare reform plan that includes a new voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit. The proposal would extend the life of the Medicare Part A trust fund to 2027, 12 years beyond its current expected solvency.

Women At Risk: Women And Mental Health


Work Incentives Improvement Act Update: House And Senate Conferees Selected, Final Push Needed For WIIA Passage Before Adjournment


Work Incentives Legislation Update: House Cosponsors Reach 225, Action Needed To Ensure House Passage Before Summer Recess Begins On August 6
The landmark legislation, which cleared the Senate by a 99-0 vote on June 16 and the House Commerce Committee on May 19, is now pending before the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill is intended to remove many of the barriers that currently exist in Social Security’s disability programs and corresponding health entitlements that prevent adults with disabilities from going to work.

Family Opportunity Act Still Alive - Contact The Senate Majority Leader Today


Funding Increases For NIMH And CMHS In Jeopardy


NOVEMBER

New Study Reports Link Between Smoking And Mental Illness


Department Of Labor Announces New Health Care Rights For Employees


Outpatient Services Experience Big Decline In Availability According To New Study


President Clinton Signs Mental Health Courts Bill Into Law And Bills On Missing Adults And Citizenship Tests For Immigrants With Mental Disabilities


Housing Update: HUD Announces Awards for Section 811


Congress Adjourns Until After The Election Leaving Family Opportunity Act And HHS Funding Bills Unresolved


HCFA Issues Proposed Rule On


OCTOBER

Sponsors Of Family Opportunity Act Continue To Push For Action As Congressional Adjournment Is Postponed


Evidence-Based Treatment Gains Congressional Support


House Passes Mental Health Courts Legislation, Next Stop President Clinton's Desk


Housing Update: Congress Completes Action On FY 2001 Housing Budget; HUD Issues Section 811 Awards For 2000


Family Opportunity Act Update: Grassroots Effort Needed For Final Push Before Congressional Adjournment


Letters To Rep. Roukema And Senator Wellstone On Medicare Parity


Social Security Update: SSA Issues Regulations On Substantial Gainful Activity


NAMI Submits Testimony To Congressional Subcommittee On Hearing That Questioned The Legitimacy Of Mental Illnesses


Federal District Judge Affirms HCFA's One-Hour Restraint Rule


I Vote. I Count. 2000, NAMI Voter Registration Campaign, Now Accessible On The Internet


Presidential Debate Ignores Medicare Beneficiaries Who Need Prescription Drug Benefit The Most


House Subcommittee Convenes Hearing Where Mental Illness Is Called A


SEPTEMBER

FOA Update: House And Senate Committees Refuse To Add Family Opportunity Act To Budget And Tax Bill


House Passes H.R. 4365, President Clinton Expected To Sign Into Law


Senate Passes Mental Health Courts Legislation


Congress Refuses To Give States Flexibility In Providing Integrated Treatment For Persons With Co-Occurring Mental Illness And Addictive Disorders


Senate Passes Restraint Protections


AUGUST

Get Candidates On The Record!


Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Mental Health Courts Legislation; Action Now Moves To Senate Floor


JULY

Congress Begins August Recess Leaving Key Mental Illness Issues Unresolved


Clinton Administration Unveils Disability Policy Initiatives To Commemorate 10th Anniversary Of The ADA


House SAMHSA Legislation Silent On Integrated Treatment For Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders


Senate Budget Hearing On Family Opportunity Act Builds Momentum


Congress Moves Forward On Research And Services Funding For FY 2001, Labor-HHS-Education Spending Set For House-Senate Conference Committee


Reminder: CARF ACT Standards Inadequate - Not Researched Evidence-Based


JUNE

Letter From NAMI Executive Director to Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert on Medicare Rx 2000 Act


Congress Begins Work On Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Legislation, Full House Expected To Act Next Week


Employment Update: HCFA and Social Security Move Forward on Work Incentives Implementation


Housing Update: Congress Begins Work On FY 2001 HUD Budget


NAMI Offers Testimony On Homeless Program Consolidation Legislation


NAMI President Jackie Shannon Gives Testimony On Mental Health Parity


Presidential Candidate Gore Unveils Mental Health Reform Proposal - Endorses Parity For Children


MAY

Senators Domenici and Kennedy Introduce Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment and Prevention Act


HHS Inspector General Identifies Deficiencies In Psych Hopsital Quality Review


NAMI Board Member Sue Davis Testifies On Social Security Representative Payee Program


U. S. Senate Committee Conducts Hearing on Parity; GAO Reports on Employer Compliance with 1996 Federal Law


NAMI Comments on New Federal Rules on Hiring of People with Psychiatric Disabilities


Congress Begins Action on FY 2001 Spending Bills for Research and Services


Special Education Alert: Senate May Take Up Amendment to Weaken IDEA Protections forChildren with Mental Illnesses and Other Disabilities


APRIL

Community Action Grants Available To NAMI Organizations


Special Education Alert: House Takes Up Amendment To Weaken IDEA Protections For Children With Mental Illnesses And Other Disabilities


NAMI To Hold 21st Annual Convention In San Diego


NAMI Testimony on VA HUD Appropriations


The Family Opportunity Act of 2000, S 2274, Needs Your Push During The Spring Recess


Statement Of Jim McNulty On Research Funding


Please Send Thanks To Sponsors That Responded To Grassroots Advocacy And Pulled Support For Wonderland


Statement of Michael Freedman On The SGA Level For Blind And Disabled Beneficiaries


HHS Inspector General Issues Report Showing Widespread Flaws In Medicare Reimbursements For Outpatient Psychiatric Services


NAMI Testimony on Medicare Drug Benefit


MARCH

Senators Grassley And Kennedy Introduce The Family Opportunity Act Of 2000


Housing Update: NAMI Urges Congress To Address Looming Crisis In The HUD Shelter Plus Care Program


HUD Announces The Availability Of New Funding To Expand Affordable Housing Opportunities For People With Severe Mental Illness And Other Disabilities


NAMI Participates In Congressional Staff Briefing On The Abuses Of Restraints In Psychiatric Facilities: Please Write Your Members Of Congress


HHS Inspector General Medicaid Managed Mental Health Recommendations Consistent With NAMI Public Policy Objectives


House-Senate Conference Committee Begins Work On Managed Care Legislation


FEBRUARY

Consumers and Family Members Have Opportunity to Directly Report Adverse Medication Reactions to the FDA


NAMI Submits Comments On Department Of Health And Human Services Medical Records Privacy Regulations


SAMHSA Regional Grant Training Workshops


President Clinton Unveils Proposed FY 2001 Budget


House To Consider Legislation To Weaken Fair Housing Protections - NAMI


Policy Discussions Related to Election 2000


JANUARY

North Carolina Newspaper Reports 35 Questionable Deaths: Is This Is A Complete System Failure?


Simple Changes In Depression Treatments In Medical Clinics Produce Significantly Better Treatment Results


NAMI Submits Comments on State Children's Health Insurance Program


1999

DECEMBER

NAMI Policy and Legislation 1999 Archive


Thank You Letter To President Clinton For His Efforts On Behalf Of The WIIA.
On behalf of the 208,000 members and 1,200 affiliates of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), is expressing our deep appreciation for President Clinton's efforts on behalf of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (HR 1180).

Thank you letter to President Clinton for his efforts to increasefunding for the Mental Health Block Grant and PATH programs.
Thank You Letter To President Clinton For His Efforts To Increase Funding For The Mental Health Block Grant And PATH Programs.

MAY

White House Conference On Mental Health:
Tipper Gore, advisor to the President on Mental Health and wife of the Vice-President, will chair the first White House Conference on Mental Health along with the President, Vice-President, and First Lady at Howard University in Washington, DC.

Senate Scheduled To Vote Tomorrow On Amendment To IDEA, Placing Students With Serious Brain Disorders At Risk
Senators John Ashcroft (R-MO), William Frist (R-TN) and others introduced an amendment to the Juvenile Crime bill (S. 254), sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), that the Senate is now debating. The amendment introduced by Senators Ashcroft and Frist would amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and erode the protections for students with disabilities, including children with severe mental illnesses, and increase the likelihood of discrimination

Oklahoma, New Jersey And Indiana Enact State Parity Laws
NAMI applauds Governors Frank Keating (R-OK), Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ) and Frank L. O’Bannon (D-IN) for signing their respective state parity bills into law and putting an end to insurance discrimination against people with severe mental illnesses in their states. Oklahoma and New Jersey became the 22nd and 23rd states overall to enact state parity legislation, adding momentum to the movement throughout this country against unequal coverage.

Work Incentives Legislation Update: Bill Stalled In Senate
Despite overwhelming bipartisan support for S. 331, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) has been reluctant to move the bill forward. S. 331 now has 74 Senate cosponsors, much more than is needed to overcome a possible filibuster, and demonstrates enormous recognition on both sides of the aisle that people with disabilities, including people with severe mental illnesses, who want to work, should have reasonable incentives to help them join the workforce and should not be encouraged to stay unemployed and on social security by existing policy.

NAMI Applauds Colorado For Enacting Restraint Legislation
NAMI applauds Colorado Governor Bill Owens for recently signing into law HB 99-1090, the "Protection of Persons From Restraint Act", introduced by Representative Maryanne "Moe" Keller (D-Jefferson) and Senator Dottie Wham (R-Denver).

The National Regulation of Restraint Use in HCFA Funded Treatment Facilities: Some Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers on The National Regulation of Restraint Use in HCFA Funded Treatment Facilities.

APRIL

NAMI Submits Comments To NCQA On Accreditation Standards For Managed Care


NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn Testifies Before House Appropriations Committee


Childhood Depression Awareness Day Offering Hope To Parents & Children Alike - NAMI


New Report Highlights Growing Housing Crisis For People With Severe Mental Illness And Other Disabilities
The Technical Assistance Collaborative Inc. (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force earlier this month published a compelling report detailing the housing situation facing people with severe mental illness and other disabilities.

Work Incentives Improvement Act Update: House Subcommittee Approves HR 1180, Next Stop Full Commerce Committee
By a unanimous vote, the House Commerce Health Subcommittee on April 20th favorably reported the Work Incentives Improvement Act (HR 1180/S 331), setting the stage for action by the full Commerce Committee within the next few weeks.

Virginia And Montana Enact Parity Laws
Virginia and Montana have become the 20th and 21st states respectively to enact laws to end discrimination in health insurance benefits for persons suffering from severe mental illnesses.

Social Security Administration Increases Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Level To $700 A Month
On April 15, the Social Security Administration published final rules implementing a proposed increase in the Substantial Gainful Activity level for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) non-blind disabled beneficiaries. Effective July 1, 1999, the amount will increase from $500 a month to $700 a month.

Senators Domenici And Wellstone Introduce Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act Of 1999
At a press conference on Capitol Hill on April 14, Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) announced the introduction of S. 796, the Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 1999 (MHETA), a bill that ends insurance discrimination against people with serious brain disorders and their families.

NAMI Testifies At U.S. Senate Hearing On Deaths From Restraints


Federal Action Alert: Grassroots Action Needed To Allow Block Grants To Effectively Serve Persons With Co-Occuring Disorders
National studies commissioned by the federal government estimate that 10 million Americans have co-occurring mental and addictive disorders. Disagreements between the mental-illness and addictive-disorders communities over shared responsibility for persons with these co-occurring illnesses has become an obstacle to the legislative reauthorization of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the federal-government agency charged with administering services programs for these two populations.

New Survey Shows Positive Employer Compliance With Mental Health Parity Act Of 1996 And Negative Cost Impact
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a survey of employers this week on the implementation of the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) that suggests growing acceptance of equal benefits for brain disorders and negative cost impact.

MARCH

Federal Action Alert: Grassroots Action Needed To Enact Patient Freedom From Restraint Legislation


NAMI Testifies On Long-Term Disability Insurance Discrimination Against People With Serious Brain Disorders


Legislative Update: Senate Committee Passes Managed Cared Patients' Bill Of Rights Legislation


NAMI To Release Summary of Restraints & Seclusion Abuse Reports


Increase In Substantial Gainful Activity Level Near Approval


Work Incentives Improvement Act Introduced In House, NAMI Testifies Before House Ways And Means Committee


Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Services For Student With Disability


Representatives Degette And Stark Plan Press Conference To Introduce Legislation Ending The Inappropriate Use Of Restraint - NAMI


Joint Commission Schedules Hearings On Use Of Physical Restraints In Psychiatric FacilitiesAnd Establishes Toll Free Complaint Hot Line


FUNDING ALERT: HUD Issues Notices Of Funding Availability for Housing for Adults With Severe Mental Illnesses and Other Disabilities


Senator Wellstone Introduces Mental Health Juvenile Justice Act


NAMI Assists National Association Of Mental Health Planning And Advisory Councils (NAMHPAC)


FEBRUARY

New legislation Provides Full Parity for People with Severe Mental Illnesses and Ends Insurance Discrimination - NAMI


Virginia Moves Toward Victory Over Insurance Discrimination - NAMI


Congress Prepares to Act on Managed Care Patient Bill of Rights Legislation


House Committee Moves Forward On SSI Fraud And Abuse Prevention Legislation


Use Of Restraints And Seclusion


Senate Work Incentives Legislation Gains Support, More Than 50 Cosponsors Now On Board; NAMI Submits Testimony In Support Of Jeffords-Kennedy Bill


Vice President Proposes New Regulation To Improve Work Incentives For People With Disabilities, Including People With Serious Brain Disorders


NIMH and the National Advisory Mental Health Council Stand Up for Consumer Participation and Increased Protections in Research


NAMI Members Speak Out At Forum Held By The Joint Commission On Accreditation Of Healthcare Organizations


Proceeds from the Settlement Between Tobacco Companies and the States


Work Incentives Improvement Act Update: Finance Committee Approves S 331, Next Stop Senate Floor


Clinton Administration Releases its FY 2000 Budget Proposal


JANUARY

President Clinton Announces White House Conference on Mental Health in the State of the Union and Urges Passage of the Work Incentives Improvement Act


NAMI Comments on the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 Regulations


White House Announces Proposal to Increase Mental Health Block Grant Funding and to AmendPersonnel Rules for Federal Workers With Mental Illnesses


President and Key Senate Leaders Endorse Work Incentives Legislation


1997

JUNE

In support of true parity: An interview with Edward M. Kennedy


MAY

May 14th Congressional Seminar On Severe Mental Illness


APRIL

Special Report to Congress Finds Cost of Ending Discrimination Against Serious Mental Illness Negligible


Parity in Oklahoma - The Time is Now


Parity In Vermont – The Time Is Now


Latest Research Indicates Early Intervention In Schizophrenia Key To Improved Outcome


PARITY IN PENNSYLVANIA – THE TIME IS NOW


1996

NOVEMBER

Federal Entitlement Programs That Affect Persons With Serious Brain Disorders




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