Top Stories for Youth Mental Health Advocates
Group of Dems Push Status Offender Reform, Medicaid for Inmates, Ban on Solitary Confinement
The Chronicle of Social Change – 4.30.14
John Kelly, editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change, highlights three legislative efforts related to juvenile justice—spearheaded by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif). The bills include H.R. 4390 and S. 2211, which would “for the first time, require states to keep incarcerated juvenile offenders connected to Medicaid.”
Federal law forbids spending Medicaid dollars on almost anyone who is incarcerated or institutionalized. For Medicaid-eligible youth that means once they are detained and/or incarcerated, states must suspend the juvenile’s Medicaid eligibility or dis-enroll them. In 2008, California acted to require suspension, not disenrollment, for detained youths (SB 1147 (2008)). The new federal bill would make it so all States could only suspend a youth’s Medicaid eligibility, but not terminate it. The bills would also require states to re-enroll youth after they leave juvenile detention centers, unless there is a new determination that they are no longer eligible for Medicaid.
Barriers to Mental Health Treatment Remain Under Obamacare
California Health Report – 4.27.14
Under The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and state parity laws, many California’s living with mental illness who have insurance, still face challenges accessing care, according to the California Health Report. One of the obstacles to treatment is that the type of insurance patients have, determines which doctors can they see and even when they can see them.
Not all mental health professionals take every insurance plan. In fact, some don’t take any at all because they say they can make more money from patients who pay out of pocket, rather than being reimbursed by an insurance company. Others will take private insurance but do not accept Medi-Cal. Finding out which providers accept which types of insurance is another challenge. However efforts are underway to increase access to mental health services for low-income patients.
The California Department of Health Care Services is “working on agreements regarding payments, referrals and screening tools that should provide direction for both providers and insurers,” according to spokeswoman Carol Sloan. The agreements, which should be finalized by June 30, will apply to Medi-Cal patients. The state has also announced that they will distribute $75.3 million in grants to 28 California counties to help people living with severe mental illness. “The goal is to prevent those who need treatment from landing in jail or the hospital repeatedly.”
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**News stories shared by Young Minds in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.