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DCBHA Members Testify About Severe Cuts to Mental Health Treatment

posted Apr 15, 2011, 5:05 AM by DC Behavioral Health Association

Members of the D.C. Behavioral Health Association recently testified before D.C. Council on the proposed FY2012 budget, and the impact of its deep cuts to treatment for adults and children with severe mental illness.

 

Ø      Eleni Getachew, Psy.D., Clinical Director of Latin American Youth Center: discussed the number of children in the D.C. Medicaid program who have unmet mental health needs.  She indicated that the Latin American Youth Center would like to expand to treat more children, but it is unable to do so at current reimbursement rates.  She discussed the District’s under-investment in community-based treatment for children, and the need to increase early, preventive interventions for D.C. youth.

 

Ø      Tim Sawina, M.S.W., President and CEO of Green Door: discussed the regressive nature of cuts to Medicaid programs which, to save $30 in local dollars, forfeit $70 in federal matching funds and result in a loss of $100-worth of treatment.  He indicated that the regressive cuts in the FY2012 budget will threaten access to treatment for those with severe mental health conditions.

 

Ø      Sarah Steverman, Board of Directors, McClendon Center: discussed the disproportionate share of the District’s mental health dollars being directly to Saint Elizabeths, at the expense of community-based treatment.  She also summarized research demonstrating the value of paraprofessionals like community support workers, who can deliver lost-cost care without sacrificing patient outcomes, in areas where there are not a sufficient number of licensed professionals.  Finally, Ms. Steverman summarized the research showing a direct, strong, positive correlation between reimbursement rates and provider participation in insurance programs like Medicaid. 

 

Ø      Richard Bebout, Ph.D., Associate Director of Community Connections: discussed the savings that are achieved when the city invests in supported housing, and when it meets the mental health needs of children exposed to trauma.  He cited studies linking the adequacy of provider capacity to low reimbursement rates. 

 

Ø      Shannon Hall, J.D., Executive Director of the D.C. Behavioral Health Association: discussed the results of DCBHA’s financial analysis for five of the eight largest mental health clinics.  The analysis revealed that providers have little liquidity, due to recent expansions and rate cuts.  If some providers close, this analysis suggests that the remaining provider network may not be able to absorb new clients, causing delays in access to treatment.
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DC Behavioral Health Association,
Apr 15, 2011, 5:34 AM
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DC Behavioral Health Association,
Apr 15, 2011, 5:34 AM
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DC Behavioral Health Association,
Apr 15, 2011, 5:34 AM
Ċ
DC Behavioral Health Association,
Apr 15, 2011, 5:34 AM
Ċ
DC Behavioral Health Association,
Apr 15, 2011, 5:34 AM
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