NC Mental Health woes

NY Times article: pilot program for mental patients in NC

E.R. Costs for Mentally Ill Soar, and Hospitals Seek Better Way
NY Times article, published Dec. 25, 2013

In the past, paramedics would have taken the man to the closest hospital emergency room — most likely the nearby WakeMed Health and Hospitals, one of the largest centers in the region. But instead, under a pilot program, paramedics ushered him through the doors of Holly Hill Hospital, a commercial psychiatric facility...

For decades, North Carolina resisted the broad mental health reforms. But in 2000, state lawmakers moved to overhaul the state’s mental health system, closing state facilities and pushing counseling and outpatient programs to local communities.

Alzheimer's patients at risk of Medicaid cuts

And of course they aren't aware they're at risk:

Changes to state Medicaid rules that will cut benefits to group home residents across the state will also affect between 3,000 and 4,000 people with Alzheimer's disease who live in adult care facilities, sources close to state proceedings told WRAL News Wednesday.

I will freely admit that many of the issues I blog about are not from experience, but from research, the vast majority of which I glean from online sources. But this is one issue I learned about firsthand, and I will likely spend the rest of my life trying to repair the parts of my heart that broke as a result.

More chairs needed at the Dix negotiating table

3,000 more chairs, to be precise:

The county, spending $22 million a year on mental health, had “imbedded” care for those groups into widespread operations and clinics. Now each part of the care that Wake County had offered through its Human Services Department must be examined as part of the ongoing “divestiture.” That means some other private or nonprofit entity will likely take over the work through a contract with Alliance.

There appears to be a whole lot of potential cracks for these patients to fall through, and part of this park deal should be an agreement by the State and Raleigh/Wake to make sure that doesn't happen.

Disabled NC children sent to other states

Because we refuse to make the needed changes to our mental health system:

A study released Wednesday by Disability Rights North Carolina says the state is failing children with a "dual diagnosis," such as having both autism and bipolar disorder. The report shows the state quadrupled the number of children housed in facilities outside North Carolina between 2005 and 2010, from 117 to 494.

To call this a "failure" is a gross understatement. It's somewhere between an abrogation of responsibility and criminal negligence. And yes, this might sound petty and self-centered, but it's also downright embarassing. South Carolina and Tennessee can provide better care? Really?

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