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LMHAS
June 24, 2009 10:00 AM
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THE BAD NEWS: CT HAS NO BUDGET. THE GOOD NEWS: CT HAS NO BUDGET.

MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION OF CT:

THE BAD NEWS: CT HAS NO BUDGET.
THE GOOD NEWS: CT HAS NO BUDGET.

WHY? Because there is still time to advocate for the people we serve. Access to Mental Health Medications will be jeopardized by restricting access to a Preferred Drug List (PDL). The proposed budget contains many cuts adversely affecting people with mental health disabilities.
CALL IN to tell legislative leaders what is most important to you especially:
Appropriations Committee Co-Chair Senator Toni Harp: (860) 240-0393 or

Other contact information for other legislative leaders - please contact at least Sen. Toni Harp and one or two others:
Appropriations Committee Co-Chair Representative John Geragosian: (860) 240-0394 or

Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan, (860) 240-8500, 1-800-842-1902 or

Senate President Donald Williams, (860) 240-8600, 1-800-842-1420 or

STATUS OF PROPOSED CHANGE TO REMOVE THE MENTAL HEALTH EXEMPTION FROM THE PREFERRED DRUG LIST AND CHANGES TO THE MEDICAID MEDICAL NECESSITY DEFINITION please check out the MHAC June 12 letter by D. Thornton to all legislators (attached) which summarizes the effect of the proposed change and gives specific examples of the harm to a person with a serious mental illness.

Though the regular legislative session has ended, no deal has been reached between legislative leadership and the Governor on a budget for after the current fiscal year expires (on June 30, 2009), and no budget has been passed by the legislature even without the consent of the Governor. Nevertheless, there is much talk of the Democratic Leadership working to pass its own budget later this week, without consent of the Governor. By most accounts, unless there is much opposition voiced, whatever is negotiated or passed will likely include the Governor's harmful proposal, unfortunately adopted by the Appropriations Committee place mental health medications on a preferred drug list and to gut the long-standing Medical Necessity definition applicable to all services for all 420,000 Medicaid recipients, including the elderly and disabled, those on the various Medicaid waiver programs and all those on HUSKY A (children and adults).

So contacts with legislative leaders urging them to reject the current budget proposal or they are likely to adopt this week.
A last round of contacts with legislative leaders regarding this issue is being called for Mon & Tues June 22 and 23.

PLEASE CONTACT THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS BELOW WITH THIS SIMPLE MESSAGE:
"A 10 state study showed that cutting access to psychiatric medications increased the risk of adverse outcomes and cost more money for more costly treatments." (Attached)

"Since the Medicaid medical necessity definition isn't broken, and changing the definition won't save any money, don't fix it! PLEASE LEAVE IT ALONE!"

It also would help if you contacted your own state senator and state representative and urged them to contact the legislative leaders about this.

If you don't know who they are, you can find out by going to www.vote-smart.org.

Phone numbers for state legislators:
Democratic Representative: 1-800-842-8267
Republican Representatives: 1-800-842-8270
Democratic Senators: 1-800-842-1420
Republican Senators: 1-800-842-1421

Additional Things to Consider Mentioning in Your Contacts:
1. P lease refer to MHAC letter or the 10 State Study when you make your contact (letter & article attached).

2. Besides "IT AIN'T BROKE, SO DON'T FIX IT," you also may want to mention one or two of these points:
1. The medical necessity definition has worked well in the Medicaid program for many years
2. The medical necessity definition is an unambiguously positive aspect of the entire Medicaid program
3. The current definition has been a critical lifeline for those 3/4 of Medicaid recipients forced to enroll in HUSKY HMOs; this consumer protection gives them a chance to fight for what their families need
4. If there are any short-term savings from this change, they will go to the HUSKY HMOs, NOT to the taxpayers.

3. You may want to say that you have seen media coverage of the impact from this change and you are concerned about the harm that would result if the legislature agreed to the Governor's proposal. If you have not seen these, here is some of the media coverage about this:
http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/health/health_wtnh_equal_similar_incomparable_in_health_200906151853 (click on picture of pill bottles)
http://www.wshu.org/news/story.php?ID=6777&source=mailer (click on "Listen")
http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/health_care/what_a_difference_a_word_makes.php
http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2009/05/29/news/a3-ctmedical.txt

Please make every effort to attend the Rally or Call In, so that we can send a strong message that constituents care about preserving these essential services ! Thanks for your support.

Attached Files:

MHAC Medical Necessity Letter
Budget Cut List

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