2011 Action Alerts

Update From Mike Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, NAMI

To: NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliate Leaders

From: Mike Fitzpatrick, NAMI executive director

Re: Update

Date: April 18, 2011

OPPOSE BLOCK GRANTING MEDICAID- Medicaid is the most important source of public mental health funding, paying for nearly half of all services. The budget passed at the end of last week in the House would result in major reductions in future federal spending on Medicaid and convert the program from a federal entitlement to a block grant to the states. As you know, states are already struggling to contain Medicaid expenses. Converting Medicaid to a block grant program will increase pressure on state officials to further contain costs. Enrollments in Medicaid will be cut and essential services will be at risk.

As our E-News last week noted the time is now for advocates to contact their Senators and urge them to oppose a Medicaid Block Grant. All Senate offices can be reached at 1 (888) 876-6242 or (202) 224-3121 or send an e-mail message to your congressional member.


Update from NIMH

1. NIMH hosted a lecture, Advances in Autism Treatment Research, in observance of Autism Awareness Month on April 21, 2011 from 10:30-11:30AM. This lecture was available via videocast.

2. SAMHSA has released two new fact sheets to support National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day activities:

3. As the Department of Defense has named April “Month of the Military Child,” you will see a number of resources released this month to support activities for and about children of service members.

We hope you find this information useful for your work.

Please sign NAMI-NYS's petition to maintain funding to NIMH
There is still time to sign the petition NAMI-NYS started to maintain the funding of NIMH in this year’s budget as well as in the 2012-13 Federal budget. We will be sending the petition to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee and the New York State Congressional Delegation. If you have not already signed the petition, please take a minute to tell Congress that you believe in the importance of research as our hope for the future and that you urge them to maintain funding to NIMH. Share the petition with your affiliate members, friends and family. When signing the petition be sure to click the tab that shows that you like the petition on Facebook. This will put a link on your Facebook page allowing all your friends to view and sign the petition.

NIMH connect the dots videocast to be included in NAMI-NYS's Children Mental Health Awareness Event
NAMI-NYS held our first Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Event, which took place on Thursday, May 5th at the Main Branch of Albany Public Library. NAMI partnered with other mental health organizations and children and education advocacy organizations to present the latest information on understanding the mental health issues of children and adolescents from age 0-18.  Included was a videocast presentation of NIMH’s Connect the Dots panel presentation. The panel was moderated by Dr. Thomas R. Insel, Director, NIMH and included:
  • Ellen Leibenluft, M.D., Chief, Section on Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, Emotion and Development Branch, NIMH Intramural Research Program. Dr. Leibenluft is an internationally-recognized expert on the brain mechanisms involved in bipolar disorder in children and adolescents.
  • Daniel Pine, M.D., Chief, Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience and Chief, Emotion and Development Branch, NIMH Intramural Research Programs. A renowned expert on the causes and occurrence, biological basis and treatment of childhood mental disorders.
  • Jay Giedd, M.D., Chief, Unit on Brain Imaging, Child Psychiatry Branch, NIMH Intramural Research Program. Dr. Giedd is a leading expert on the biological basis of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders in children.
  • Benedetto Vitiello, Ph.D., Chief, Child and Adolescent Treatment and Preventive Interventions Research Branch, Division of Services and Intervention Research, NIMH. Dr. Vitiello is a research expert on the effects of medications and other interventions to treat mental disorders in children and adolescents.

New Lending Library


NAMI-NYS is excited to announce the launching of our new Lending Library with over 160 titles of DVDs and books. The Library has resources on schizophrenia, bipolar, autism, criminal justice issues and many more, which are in the non-fiction, fiction and self-help genres. The process of borrowing is quick, easy and free. Please click on the following link http://www.naminys.org/lending-library to enter our lending library which operates like an online interlibrary loan.


If there are any particular titles you would like to see in our library, please let Tammie Paradis know. Although funds are limited, we will try our best to find books and DVDs that interest our membership.


Also, if you have any books or DVDs you would like to donate to our library so other members can enjoy them, please contact Tammie. You can email Tammie at tammie@ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or reach her by phone at (518) 462-2000.


Thank you for your continued support and please enjoy our books and DVDs.


NYS Budget Agreement

Urgent and immediate action is required to keep Provider Prevails and request patient protections be included in the NYS budget agreement. We cannot give up our advocacy for the NYS budget to include open access to the full gamut of evidence based psychiatric medications which are crucial for treating people with mental illness.

We can still impact the final outcome as the Medicaid Provisions are being discussed right now.  Please share this with everyone and tell them to immediately to make these calls.

Assembly Speaker Silver: (518) 455-3791
Assemblyman Gottfried: (518) 455-4941
Tell them to include Provider Prevails and include Patient Protections in the Budget language.

Senate Majority Leader Skelos: (518) 455-3171
Tell him to continue supporting Provider Prevails and include Patient Protections in the Budget language.

Governor Cuomo: (518) 474-8390
Tell them to include Provider Prevails and include Patient Protections in the Budget language.

The budget process will end today. Making these 4 calls is critical in keeping patients safe. We have this small window of opportunity to influence the final outcome. Flood these offices with calls immediately. Thank you for continuing the fight.

Don't Let Albany Vote Without You

A vote on the Medicaid redesign plan is imminent. Every voice is needed! PLEASE CALL Assemblyman Gottfried's Albany office now at (518) 455-4941. Tell them you want a Medicaid Redesign that has open access to the full spectrum of medications.

Then share your views with Assembly Speaker Silver at (518) 455-3791.

We need to keep patient protections in place and reject proposal #11 that would eliminate the fee-for-service Medicaid drug program and carve the drug benefit into managed care.

Tomorrow will be too late! Share this message with everyone you know. Please call now:

Assemblyman Gottfried: (518) 455-4941
Speaker Silver: (518) 455-3791

Keep the current language and patient protections in place and reject proposal #15 that would eliminate "Prescriber Prevails" allowing the State Medicaid Director to make final determinations regarding prior authorizations of non-preferred brand drugs, and require prior authorization for currently protected classes of drugs (antipsychotics, antidepressants, anti-retroviral drugs, and immunosuppressants), and eliminate the Medicare Part D coverage wrap for dual eligibles for the same drugs.


Medicaid Redesign Team Recommendations

Over the last several days, we have been making headway on the issues of access to mental health medication and other protected medication classes as well as physician prevails protection language, but we need to keep the momentum going and we have to do it quickly.

The Senate has supported the advocates proposals to keep the mental health carve out and ‘physician prevails’ language in place.

We need to convince the Assembly as well. Please call your Assembly Member today and urge them to reject the Medicaid Redesign Team Language that would eliminate the carve out for the four different classes of medication (including mental health medications) and also urge them to reject language that would limit ‘physician prevails’

Call the New York State Assembly switch board at (518) 455-4100 and ask for your Assembly member.

The Message is “Please reject the MRT language in the budget that limits medication choice and insure that the carve out for mental health medications and the three other protected classes of medication stay in place and continue to insure that ‘physician prevails’ language stay in place to protect consumer rights.”

Our Advocacy on the Medicaid Redesign Plan

NAMI-NYS has been out front and vocal about the recommendations made by Governor Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign proposal. We applaud the proposed “carve out” of Medicaid mental health services into its own Regional Behavioral Healthcare system. However, we oppose proposal 11 and proposal 15.  These proposals would limit the open access to medications crucial to the treatment of mental illness by eliminating the fee-for-service Medicaid drug program for the majority of recipients and restructuring the Preferred Drug List.

NAMI-NYS supports unrestricted access to evidence-based psychiatric medications.

Over the last few weeks NAMI-NYS has been proud to partner with a wide range of mental health and health organizations to voice our opposition to a redesigned Medicaid plan that limits the open access to medications vital to maintaining mental health.

Yesterday, NAMI-NYS represented the mental health community at a news conference featuring Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of Senate Health Committee.  We thank our friends at the Lupus Foundation of Mid and Northern New York for organizing the event.


Assemblyman Ortiz and Assemblyman Rivera Stand Up
to Oppose Proposals 11 & 15 of the Medicaid Redesign Plan

NAMI-NYS applauds New York State Assembly Mental Health Committee Chairman, Felix Ortiz and Assemblyman Peter Rivera for standing up and voicing their opposition to proposals 11 and 15 of the Medicaid Redesign Proposal.

The Assemblymen have sent a letter detailing their opposition to the proposals to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and their colleagues in the Assembly.

NAMI-NYS is proud to stand alongside Chairman Ortiz and Assemblyman Rivera and the other 33 health organizations mentioned in the letter in expressing our opposition to proposals 11 and 15.

Proposal 11 would eliminate the fee-for-service Medicaid drug program for the majority of recipients and “carve out” the drug benefit into managed care.

Proposal 15 would restructure the Preferred Drug List to eliminate “Prescriber Prevails” provisions allowing the State Medicaid Director to make the final determination regarding prior authorization of nonpreferred brand drugs and require prior authorization for currently protected classes of drugs (antipsychotics, antidepressants, anti-retroviral drugs, and immunosuppressants), and eliminate the Medicare Part D coverage wrap for dual eligibles for the same drugs.



ENSURE OUR LOVED ONES RECEIVE THE BEST CARE POSSIBLE VOICE YOUR SUPPORT OF THE CARVE-OUT OF MEDICAID SERVICES TODAY!This week, a group appointed by Governor Cuomo called the Medicaid Redesign Team is working to decide on how the Medicaid system will be changed to save money. We need your voice heard because their decision will have a tremendous impact on the future care of our loved ones.

Mental health advocates, including NAMI, agree that the best alternative on the table is a separate behavioral health managed care plan, called a “carve-out plan”..

A carve-out model will ensure Medicaid mental health dollars would be managed by specialized health plans that know about the complex needs of people with serious mental illness. A carve out will give behavioral health advocates and providers a say in restructuring outpatient, care management and rehabilitation services to improve the quality of care, so that the need for inpatient and emergency services goes down saving the state money. That’s the kind of reform that NAMI and its members can support..

A carve-out model is critical to ensure that individuals and their families get access to quality mental health services. It would ensure that our loved ones will receive the most effective and focused care possible from specialized doctors. The carve-out will save New York State money while empowering behavioral care providers with the authority to have its own focus of care.

It is CRUCIAL that you CALL MEMBERS of the MEDICAID REDESIGN TEAM and tell them to save our state money and ensure our love ones receive the best care possible by support the carve-out of Medicaid funded mental health services for people with serious mental illness..

Phone Number
Phone Number
Senator Kemp Hannon
NYS Senate
Senator Tom Duane
NYS Senate
Richard N Gottfried
Committee on Health
NYS Assembly
Joe Giglio
NYS Assembly
Linda Gibbs
Deputy Mayor,
Health and Human Services
City of New York
Ed Matthews
Chief Executive Officer
United Cerebal Palsy of NYC
Dr Nirav Shah
Commissioner of Health
NYS Department of Health
Lara Kassel
Medicaid Matters New York
Ann F Monroe
Community Health Foundation of Western
and Central New York

NAMI-NYS Helpline
(518) 462-2000
1-800-950-3228 - NY Only

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