GERIATRIC MENTAL HEALTH LETTER

posted Nov 23, 2012, 5:31 AM by Frank Baskin   [ updated Nov 23, 2012, 5:38 AM ]
The Greater Lowell Elder Mental Health Collaborative has signed-on to a letter sent to Governor Patrick. It implores him to re-store monies(for the....FOR MORE CLICK TITLE... fiscal year 2014 budget) to a line item in the State budget dedicated to elder mental health services. There was funding there in 2007 but it was reduced to zero and has not been funded since then. A number of effective direct service and training programs were set up but no longer have this funding. The following is a copy of the letter: 

November 19, 2012

Governor Deval Patrick

Massachusetts State House

Office of the Governor, Room 280

Boston, MA 02133



Re: Restoration of Funding for Geriatric Mental Health Services;

EOEA Line Item 9110-1640

Dear Governor Patrick:

We are writing as a coalition of advocates for low and moderate income senior citizens throughout Massachusetts. We urge you to restore at least $350,000 to the Geriatric Mental Health line item within the Executive Office of Elder Affair’s (EOEA) budget, Line Item # 9110-1640, as you prepare your FY’2014 budget proposal.

During FY’2007-2009, this line item helped fund critical and innovative home and community-based geriatric mental health services and supports including: crisis stabilization; in-home treatment engagement services; in-home mental health and substance abuse services; innovative and effective inter-disciplinary geriatric mental health training for first responders, case managers and nurses; and other specialized geriatric mental health interventions. The detrimental effects of defunding have been felt by seniors with psychiatric disabilities and their family members throughout the Commonwealth. Failure to fund this line item has contributed to increased costs of MassHealth-funded preventable psychiatric hospitalizations, emergency room visits, nursing home admissions, and homelessness resources for seniors. As a result, unmanageable burdens have been placed on other state and municipal-funded elder services.

Nearly two thirds of older adults with a mental health disorder do not receive needed services. We know that untreated psychiatric conditions among elders increase the likelihood of multiple ER visits, hospitalizations and nursing home admissions. State-funded Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs), and other agencies, are ill-equipped to provide needed mental health services and supports to elders with serious mental illnesses without the services funded by this line item. Funding for this line item was used to mold an effective inter-agency, inter-disciplinary response to the needs of elders with psychiatric conditions that impaired their daily functioning. The programs it funded made it possible for elders with psychiatric conditions to live safely in their own homes with vital supports. It is long overdue for this funding to be restored.

Massachusetts’ failure to fund specialized Geriatric Mental Health services and supports is a classic example of a “penny-wise, pound-foolish” government policy, not only fiscally but also in the myriad ways that defunding these crucial services has harmed the independence and wellbeing of countless senior citizens with psychiatric disabilities and their families. We urge you to restore $350,000 to EOEA’s Line Item 9110-1640. Should you or your staff need additional information, we are happy to meet with your designees and provide information as requested.

Thank you for your anticipated attention and cooperation in responding to this urgent request.

Sincerely,

Deborah Filler

Senior Staff Attorney
Greater Boston Legal Services


cc: Secretary Ann Hartstein, Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, Executive Office of Health and Human Services



Co-signers to this request:


John J. Drew

President/CEO

Boston ABCD


Scott Miyake Geron

Director of Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research

Boston University School of Social Work


Rita Shah

Senior Outreach Coordinator

Burlington Council on Aging


Margaret Fox

Psychologist

Cambridge Health Alliance


Darlene Perkins

Senior Programs Advocate

Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands, Inc.



Bruce Menin

Executive Director

Disability Policy Consortium


Allison Theberge

Clinical Director

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc.


Dale Mitchell

Executive Director

Ethos


Janet Seckel-Cerrotti

Executive Director

Friendship Works


Frank Baskin

Coordinator

Greater Lowell Elder Mental Health Coalition


Marsha Frankel

Clinical Director of Senior Services and Director of Mental Health

Jewish Family & Children’s Service


Lisa Krinsky

Executive Director

LGBT Aging Project


Arlene Germain

President

Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform


Jim Callahan

Chair

Massachusetts Aging and Mental Health Aging Coalition


Chet Jakubiak, Executive Director

Margery Munro, Board Member

Massachusetts Association of Older Americans


Carol Trust

Executive Director

Massachusetts Chapter of National Association of Social Workers




David P. Stevens

Executive Director

Massachusetts Council on Aging

Barbara E. Moscowitz

Coordinator of Geriatric Social Work and Director of MGH Senior HealthWISE

MGH Geriatric Medicine Unit


Nancy Euchner

President of Board of Directors

New England Chapter of National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers


John O’Neill

Executive Director

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services


Penelope Ann Shaw

State and National Long-term Care and Disability and Policy Advisor


Elizabeth Aguilo, Daniel Burroso, Cassie Cramer, Meckle Elston,

Lisa Hartnett, Cathy Liu, Mathew Mahoney, Michael Medeiros,

Suzanne Norton, Christine Palmieri, Elizabeth Seelman

Members of Coalition

Cambridge-Somerville Mental Health and Aging Coalition

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