Jun
02

Action: MH/DD Services To Be Decimated, and There Is No Safety Net

By

vertigo3 The NC House budget proposes a 40% cut in mental health services including the dissolution of Community Support Services, a vital tool to maintain people in their communities rather than relying on emergency rooms, hospitals, and jails. If you make three calls today, you can help our legislators understand that cutting education and mental health services will have extraordinary costs to future generations. The ARC of North Carolina sent this Action Alert:

Our service system will be set back 40 years. The House’s proposed budget cuts to Health and Human Services and Medicaid will have a total impact of close to $3.5 billion.

The entire service system will be destroyed. Individuals and families will lose their services. It’s not even a matter of trying to send people with [mental illness and] developmental disabilities back to institutions – there won’t be institutions and there won’t be community supports.

A few of the worst cuts are:

* Reducing the budget for state-funded services by over $150,000,000
* Cuts all Medicaid service rates by 4% causing salary reductions and layoffs
* Cuts Medicaid Personal Care Services by over $50,000,000…reducing the services by over half. This is the only direct service other than case management that is a Medicaid entitlement for people with developmental disabilities
* Eliminates continuation increases in Medicaid of over $500,000,000. This cut means serious reductions because any increases in CAP plans implemented during the last fiscal year will be eliminated
* Cuts case management services by over $50,000,000 by “consolidation”
* Eliminates the Medicaid service called Community Support which is the one Medicaid service that is designed to support people with mental illness in the community.

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW! We must all unite to fight the House’s proposed budget, and we have no time to waste. The House may vote on the budget as early as June 8.

No one can afford to sit back and watch this budget debacle play out. The lives of people with disabilities, their families and the entire state of North Carolina depend on everyone getting involved. Don’t think someone else will make the calls. YOU must make the calls!

The Arc of NC has a strategic advocacy plan. Today, tomorrow and Wednesday the leadership of the House must hear from you. We will send out an e-alert when it is time for the next steps, but today, you need to make three calls:

Speaker Hackney 919-733-3451

Majority Leader Holliman 919-715-0873

Minority Leader Stam 919-733-2962

These representatives must receive thousands of phone calls in the next two days.

To follow The Arc of North Carolina’s activities on the House budget, read our blog at: www.thearcnc.blogspot.com.

We’ve got a tough fight ahead of us, but we can make a difference if we all work together to defeat the House’s proposed budget.

Dave Richard
Executive Director
The Arc of North Carolina

Please make these three calls right now. It will take you five minutes, and you’ll be letting the House leadership know that shortsighted policy will not be tolerated by the people of North Carolina.


Categories : Action, NC Legislature

Comments

  1. bobaloo says:

    Thanks for highlighting this Gordon. The cuts basically translate to sacrificing the weakest members of our society to save money. It’s absolutely horrific.

    I hope all hooligans will take the few minutes needed to contact the House leadership. It really does mean a lot.

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  2. Linda Cloud says:

    I’ll make the calls, and pass the word in this part of the state. This is important.

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  3. Gordon Smith says:

    Dave,

    I’m more intimately acquainted with the mental health field by virtue of my profession, but the education cuts exhibit the same sort of shortsighted, generational mistake that could portend dark days for North Carolina.

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  4. Bryan Freeborn says:

    Dave,

    Check out conversation on firings over at my FB links. http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/posted.php?id=663973141&share_id=86078793961&post_id=86078793961&comments

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  5. Linda says:

    I just made these calls. It literally took less than 5 minutes. I got two message machines and one live person at the Speaker’s office. He says the phones are ringing off the hook.

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  6. Gordon Smith says:

    Audio from the Tuesday, June 2, meeting of the House Health and Human Appropriations Committee is available at:

    http://ncmentalhope.org/HouseHHSAp060209.mp3

    or download (10 mb and preferable for less bandwidth use and greater flexibility in listening) at:

    http://ncmentalhope.org/HouseHHSAp060209.mp3.zip

    (Double click on the downloaded zip file to produce the mp3 file on your desktop.)

    The committee will be meeting again Thursday after the general session of the House to make provisions to its budget recommendation. Email addresses of committee members as well as a written report on the committee meeting will be circulated via this newsletter by tomorrow morning.

    The meeting today is well worth listening to because it gives insight into the complexity, confusion and frustration of committee members over the budgeting process. Most of the first part of the audio is legislative staff reporting on the differences in the budget recommendations passed Friday and the budget figures presented today (I and some members of the committee don’t really understand).

    The second half of the audio is committee members’ thoughts on the recommendations.

    At this point the audio can only be accessed by the links above and not yet posted on the NC Mental Hope website. As usual, quality of the recording is inconsistent.

    David Cornwell
    Executive Director
    North Carolina Mental Hope

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  7. Doug Gibson says:

    Thank you, Heath Shuler, for being a principled voice against providing aid to states in this financial crisis.

    Had it not been for your leadership, and the leadership of other centrist Democrats on this issue, North Carolina might have had an easier time providing mental health services to its neediest citizens.

    And we certainly wouldn’t have wanted that to happen.

    Okay, snark aside, the current cutting frenzy was totally predictable. In addition, folks like Paul Krugman were warning about this precise scenario – the counter-stimulus of cutting state jobs and putting independent providers out of work.

    I don’t doubt for a moment that Shuler thinks of human services as an important part of what the government does. But I do think that his prejudice against funding human services through the stimulus bill, and his prejudice in favor of giving big companies big money to build big things (my translation of “we should spend more on infrastructure and renewable energy”) – these prejudices were incredibly short-sighted.

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  8. Mortise Tortoise says:

    People in postions of power who make wrong decsions that affect the powerless have poisoned minds. The poisons of the mind are ignorance, anger, attachment, jealousy and pride. True peacemakers have made peace with these poisons and will act accordingly to combat poisoned proposals peacefully.

    Power to the peaceful!

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  9. WooHoo!Change is happening all over the place …. maybe not quite the change we thought we worked for??????

    All the phone calling and protesting will never make true change happening …. is it time to admit that our 2 party system is broken????

    And who is willing to really work for change?(don’t answer that one hahaha)

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