Saturday, July 11, 2009

Haley Barbour: No Friend to Health Care

Mental health services slashed by Barbour veto:

Clarksdale’s Region I Mental Health Center received news July 1 that may literally cut it off at its knees and cause serious problems for the four counties its serves and its 3,000 mental health clients.

Governor Haley Barbour vetoed a bill passed by the Mississippi House and Senate to fund the state’s regional mental health facilities, leaving them without the $29 million matching funds to run the facilities.

According to Karen Corley, interim director of the Regional I Mental Health Center in Clarksdale, this is devastating news and could possibly mean a shut-down of the area’s only non-private mental health facility along with the lay-offs of all 158 people on staff.

“We don’t know what is going to happen. The legislature is going back into special session this Friday and we are hopeful that our funding will be included,” Corley stated. “If it isn’t, we do not know what we are going to do. We are right now just working to get everyone behind us to get the funding. If not, this could be catastrophic.”

Region I Mental Health Center provides services to approximately 3,000 mental health patients, most needing life supporting medications and therapy. According to David Cook, clinical director, most of the 3,000 patients currently using Region I Mental Health Center will end up on the street with no medication, which could lead to psychotic breakdowns.

“We have people who come here on a daily basis to receive life altering medications. Many of our clients have major psychoses, have no insurance, and could end up not functioning. There are no hospitals to service our clients and state facilities are extremely backed-up. It could be weeks or months before anything opens up for them. They will probably end up on the streets, in jail, or in Whitfield, if anything is available,” Cook stated.

The staff is currently juggling to stave off the potential shut-down of the facility rather than worrying about their own jobs. If the legislature chooses not to address the problem, all 158 people currently on the staff will probably lose their jobs.

The Region I Mental Health Center is an independent, public, non-profit agency which receives 56 percent of its funding from the Federal Government, but must match the funds. The matching funds, which have come from the state, are what Barbour vetoed. These monies from the state are then paid to the federal government (matching medicaid funds).The Mississippi State Department of Mental Health disburses the money to the Regional Mental Health Centers.

DMH has notified the Department of Medicaid that some of the community mental health centers cannot pay the match and others do not plan to pay the match because of the legality of the request.“For some centers, the lack of funding will have immediate consequences. None of the centers can provide services as intended and survive any length of time,” said Jerry Mayo, executive director of Pine Belt Mental Health in Hattiesburg and president of the Mississippi Association of Community Mental Health Centers.

“Current Medicaid rates do not cover the full costs of most of the services provided as it is. Without the match, services provided by our centers would have to be reduced drastically. Such a reduction in services is likely to contribute to long waiting lists for state hospital beds and an increase in the number of citizens being held in jails awaiting those beds,” said Mayo.

The fifteen community mental health centers operate as individual businesses serving defined counties and not as state-owned institutions or a division of the Department of Mental Health. The centers throughout the state serve more than 100,000 citizens per year including residential services for the seriously mentally ill and addicted. These will likely be some of the first programs that will need to be reduced if the lack of funding goes unaddressed, according to Mayo.

As the name implies, community mental health centers provide services in community settings such as schools, homes, correctional facilities and churches as well as outpatient clinics and facilities in every county of the state. Programs range from intensive services for the seriously mentally ill, behavioral interventions for children, and residential treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, to HIV testing and counseling, prevention programs and specialized services for the elderly.

“We have in good faith worked with the legislators over the years. The House has been very receptive and supportive. It is apparent that others have placed politics above the needs of the seriously mentally ill, developmentally disabled, children and elderly,” said Mayo.The Clarksdale staff requests that citizens contact state officials and request that the funds be made available to continue the services.

As if taxing our hospitals to death were not enough, now our Governor Barbour has turned his wrath toward our community mental health centers. Although the above article refers to Region I (Clarksdale's) possible closure, all 14 Regions in the state face the same woes if his "lunacy" is not stopped.

Throughout the state, thousands of adults and children depend on our community mental health centers for counseling and medications to remain functional members of our society. What will happen to these people? Inpatient treatment is outrageously expensive in comparison to the cost of the outpatient treatment offered at our current facilities.

Where will these patients go... to the hospital ERs which are already crowded with non-emergency patients. That will only increase their costs, not to mention that ER staff members are not qualified to deal with psychiatric patients.

Failing to fund our mental health centers will adversely impact every public institution in our state. Crime will increase, hospitals will incur additional costs, schools will suffer as un-medicated children become disruptive, hundreds of jobs will be lost and most importantly, our friends, family and loved ones will incur great suffering.

If you have never needed the services of our community mental health centers, you are among the fortunate; but, I would bet that you know someone whose life and future happiness depends upon their existence. Mental health disorders are some of the most debilitating maladies that we face today and to withdraw services to these patients will have catastrophic results!

Since Barbour refuses to discuss this matter with either the senate or the house, it is difficult to discern his actual motives; however, the results of his actions are quite clear: Increased crime, major job losses and untold human suffering.

If you feel strongly about this health care travesty, get on line and write your state Representatives and the governor and let them know how you feel. Barbour is no friend to health care and if we allow him to go unchecked, he will completely destroy what has taken Mississippi so long to achieve.



Anonymous said...

News Flash!Good grief - NO!!!!

Governor Hudson?


Saturday, July 11, 2009 10:09 PM CDT

GREENVILLE — Governor Hudson?


After a City Hall leak trickled gossip through the town, Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson confirmed Friday that the rumors were true: She is considering a possible candidacy for the state’s top office.

“All I can say right now is that I have been approached as a candidate for either the lieutenant governor’s or the governor’s seat,” Hudson said in a telephone conversation Friday. “And I am taking time to consider this.”

Hudson, 33, would not say who it was that approached her with the offer, but if she runs for governor and wins, her victory will be historic.

No black woman has ever been elected governor of a U.S. state.

And only four African Americans have ever served in such a capacity. Of those four black men, only two were elected.

New York Gov. David Patterson is the most recent black person to ascend to governor in a U.S. state. Formerly lieutenant governor, Patterson became governor in March 2008 after Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned following a prostitution scandal.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, elected in 2006, is the second black governor elected to the governorship of a U.S. state.

Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder was the state’s chief executive for one term after he was elected in 1990. Wilder was the first African American elected to govern a state, and there had not been a black state governor before him in 118 years.

Pinckney Pinchback was the first black governor in the nation. He became governor of Louisiana in December 1872 during the post-Civil War era of Reconstruction while Henry Warmoth, the previous governor, weathered impeachment charges. Pinchback served the last 35 days of Warmoth’s term.

The new millennium has been much more kind to female gubernatorial candidates than it has been to African Americans running for the office.

Seventeen of the 31 women who have served as governor in the U.S. have done so since 2000.

Hudson, a Democrat, is herself a historic figure, as she is the first black person and the first woman ever elected mayor of Greenville.

If Hudson runs for governor, she will join several others who have already tossed their hat into the ring for the the 2011 governor’s race.

Gov. Haley Barbour, a possible 2012 presidential candidate, is currently in his second and final term.

Among the most prominent of candidates are attorney and businessman Bill Lucket of Clarksdale as well as Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant.

“I think we have a lot of good and viable candidates running,” Hudson said

Anonymous said...

On the other hand,she wouldn"t be Mayor of Greenville anymore.

Anonymous said...

I have heard a lot of unbeleivabe things but this may top the list.
1. Hudson was elected to 2 terms as mayor of Greenville and both times were because she was Black.
2. Come take a look at Greenville and see what it looks like after just 6 yrs under her leadership. See how many Tax Paying Citizens have left and see how much industry has moved in and how much money the city has in the bank.
3. With a home that is going into foreclosure for the 2nd time it is evident she cannot take care of her personal affairs let along the City of Greenville and Lord help us not the State.
4. Greenville residents both black and white refer to Hudson as the worst thing that has happened to Greenville since the 1927 Flood.
5. In closing would someone please find out who approached her about this because it sounds as outrageous to me as the threatening phone calls she received that resulted in her need of a body guard provided and paid for by the tax payers of Greenville. Hudson is on a major Ego trip when actually she is living in a fantasy land. So Sad !

Happy resident said...

And what is this BS about property values increasing by 11% in Washington County. They tell us it is because the "replacement" value of your house has gone up. Who in their right mind would rebuild a house in Greenville if they were lucky enough to have it destroyed? Take the money and run!

So now, our car tags are going up, our property taxes are going up, you can't even GIVE your home away in Greenville and when all of this makes you suicidal...the mental health doors will be locked.

Anonymous said...

As far as the mental health, I have seen many people go to the mental health place here in Greenville with a minor problem. These people where put on a medication that they can not stop taking and leaves them in a zombie state of mind. When they stop taking the drug it makes them go crazy. And of course they are very mental once they take these drugs and NO hope for being normal. Leaving their lives a wreck!!

I have seen this happen to 3 ladies that I know. One being my close sister. She is worthless now due to the mental health care in Greenville. She can hardly talk, drools on herself and can not think for herself. She was not like that until her first visit. It makes me sick to think of how many lives are being destroyed.

Anonymous said...

Don't judge all mental health care facilities by Greenville's! There are many good physicians and mental health care facilities throughout the state, but Greenville doesn't happen to be among them! Gil MacVaugh had a lot to do with the lack of quality provided to patients in our region. Just like DRMC, if we use one facility as a yardstick, then we should close all hospitals?

Anonymous said...

Thank You Haley ! Stop some of these give-away's !

Anonymous said...

I would also like to know who approached must have been a next door neighbor. You have got to be kidding.

What has she done for Greenville?
I am still riding on bumpy rodes.
Car tags are still high.

Just because she is "the first African American"....SO WHAT???
Why does that have to always come into play?
I think we need to get to the place where color doesn't matter...are you QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB????

Maybe after James Lowe straightens out Leland, maybe he will come to Greenville and help Heather.

Anonymous said...

And, car tags are going up.... again!!!! So is your property tax. Great stimulus!!!!!!

But, hey, lets all vote for her, then she will not be our problem. Sure she will be the whole state's problem, but the state ignores the Delta anyway, so we would be better off!!!!!! Perhaps another competent non racist black woman or black man wants the job of Greenville's mayor? Heck, I would vote on them just to get rid of her!!!!! I'm white, so no racism there!!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of race the fact is Greenville was built by white business men and destroyed by a black mayor and a majority black council. Am i right or wrong ?
Look at Clarksdale (same thing)
Leland has taken a big step forward
Greenwood has taken a step forward.The majority in Greenville are welfare recipients who have no desire for anymore than a monthly check. Until the black and white community face the problem Greenville will never recover.
Think about which department in Greenville is operating in budget and doing fine. NO not the water dept ! Not the police dept ! Not City Hall ! Ahhhh the Fire Dept is the winner and we are fortunate enough to have a chief with business sense along with common sense but he is white ! I just be durn ! How did that happen ?

Fed up! said...

I don't understand why it is so complicated in the Water Dept. That office just can not seem to get it right under ANY leadership apparently. It has always had shennanigans going on. Embezzelment, misuse of funds, inefficient workers, the list goes on! What is so hard to have someone running the office and managing the employees with honest decent actions? This office apparently needs an overhall in many ways, but first start with the City Manager or otherwise known as the Mayor...the buck stops there! She can not manage her job or her employees because she is always off somewhere promoting herself and not caring for the job she was elected for. If she can not manage her job now, what nightmares would she create as a governor...that is a scary thought! Send her home...period!

Anonymous said...

Mayor Hudson is scheduled to be on Supertalk MS Paul Gallo's show in the morning (Wed.) at 7:05 to confirm the report that she has been approached about a run for gov.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of good TV time! Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Ever been to City Hall in the morning? The first hour is spent talking and visiting amongst employees--obviously they are under managed.

I agree that hardly a department is working well--I think heads need to roll--but Heather doesn't have balls to do that. She's a politician, not a leader, and wants to stay popular. Only when things get real bad will things change.

Anonymous said...

How much worse do things have to get???

Anonymous said...

Exactly! The ship is sinking! Call out the Coast Guard!

Anonymous said...

...OR abandon ship!

Anonymous said...

Heather is racist as hell. She treats the 5 white City Hall employees (out of about 40) like crap. You have to make an apointment to see her and she sweeps everything under the rug if it does not pertain to her self importance.

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