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Legislation to end Ghost Networks heads to conference committee!

The CMHC's efforts to eliminate "ghost networks" has reached another milestone. On October 17th, The Massachusetts State Senate passed An Act relative to children's health and wellness (S. 2638). The House passed similar legislation (H. 4012) in July. While the language differs in the House and Senate approaches, both versions contain provisions that will help ensure that insurance provider directories include accurate information that will reduce barriers and increase access to timely, effective children's mental health services. A conference committee has been appointed and will work to reconcile the two bills.

What is Behavioral Health Intergration?
The Children's Mental Health Campaign: 13 Years On.

For 13 years, The Children's Mental Health Campaign has driven the movement for better mental health care for all kids forward. To celebrate our anniversary, take a look at some of the Campaign highlights!

2006.

On January 26, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor issued an almost 100 page decision that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts violated the federal Medicaid Act by failing to provide appropriate home based mental health care to an estimated 15,000 children.
"Children's Mental Health in the Commonwealth: The Time is NOW" white paper, published by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Boston Children's Hospital, enumerates issues facing children in MA with mental health needs. The Campaign's policy agenda is launched in November 2006.

2007.

The coalition expands to include the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, Health Care For All, & Health Law Advocates.

2008.

An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health creates a structure for enhancing early identification, treating children in the most appropriate setting, enhancing coordination among state health care agencies, and establishing mechanisms for oversight of and input into the state's children's mental health system.
Mental health parity is expanded by the passage of Chapter 256. The Campaign advocates for this law, which strengthens the state's mental health parity law by expanding the categories of disorders for which health insurance plans must provide mental health benefits.

2011.

The Campaign helps to lead the drive to replace the state's CHINS (Child in Need of Services) system with for coping with children with serious disciplinary services (many of whom have behavioral health conditions) with the new FACES (Families and Children Engaged in Services) system. FACES offers families access to community-based services to keep children out of the juvenile justice system.

2014.

The Campaign’s support for the establishment of a statewide “safe and supportive framework” to assist schools to create learning environments that improve educational outcomes for youth with behavioral health conditions was realized when Governor Deval Patrick signed the provision into law.

2016.

In 2016, the Campaign’s advocacy for supporting adolescent substance use prevention took a leap forward with the enactment of an Act relative to substance use, treatment, education and prevention (STEP Act) which outlines how public schools in the Commonwealth should engage in substance use screening and education. The Campaign continues to work to prevent youth substance use and misuse by expanding a risk-assessment tool called SBIRT, or Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, throughout the state.

2017.

The Children’s Mental Health Campaign hosted its Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Summit, in June 2017, to convene a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss inequities in infant & early childhood mental health care (IECMH). The recommendations and action steps captured at this convening continues to inform CMHC’s work to address equity, workforce development, access to services & supports, and public awareness in the infant and early childhood space.

2018.

The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health joined the Campaign, and becomes the sixth partner organization.

2019.

The Campaign becomes a funded partner for the Boston Children's Collaboration for Community Health to engage in targeted efforts to operationalize behavioral health equity. With support from Massachusetts Public Health Association, CMHC will develop goals, strategies, processes and tools for ensuring that policy priorities, external communications and organizational culture facilitate the promotion of behavioral health equity.
Behavioral Health Services for Children & Adolescents.

On July 1, 2019, many Massachusetts private health insurance plans began paying for certain Behavioral Health services for Children and Adolescents (BHCA). Additional BHCA services will begin on July 1, 2020 (Additional Services). You will need to check with your insurance plan or your employer’s human resources department to find out if your health insurance will cover these important services. The contact information for your insurance plan is on your health insurance card.

PPAL's Latest Blog

Don't miss Parent/Professional Advocacy League's Newest Blog!

Click below to read a parent's powerful observations on how parenting siblings of a child with mental health needs comes with its own set of challenges and strategies.

Your Headlines.
"The rise in suicides among those of college age has left many campuses across the country grappling with how best to help the growing number of students who are suffering from depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental health issues."
"Today's teens have a lot on their plate. They strive for perfect grades, college-essay worthy volunteer gigs, trophies in multiple sports — and many of them still find hours a day to spend on social media. 'This is an incredibly stressful time to be a teenager,' says pediatrician Megan Moreno, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison."
"Each year, thousands of Massachusetts children and teenagers become involved with the juvenile justice 'system,' a collection of local, county and state agencies, all of whom are responsible for deciding how to respond to children who are accused of breaking the law. In Massachusetts, children between the ages of 12 and 18 may be arrested, charged in court, removed from their homes, and confined in secure, locked facilities."

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