mental health

Becoming pregnant and giving birth is a joyous time for many women. And yet, many suffer from serious depression during pregnancy and after birth. Now, the federal government is recommending that pregnant women and new mothers get screened for depression.

Guests:

  • Kim Vandegeest-Wallace is a psychologist and sex therapist with the Women’s Specialty Clinic at KU Med.
  • Jane McKinney a licensed social worker with the Lakewood Counseling Service.

We know the violent tragedies by the cities where they happened — San Bernardino, Paris, Newtown. Seeing the casualties and the details of what happened can be difficult for anyone to deal with them. But how do you explain these events and what they mean to a child?

Guests:

  • Amy Nine is a social worker at Comanche Elementary School in the Shawnee Mission School District.
  • Dr. Rochelle Harris is a clinical psychologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The state will try to get Osawatomie State Hospital back into Medicare’s good graces within the next six months, officials told a joint legislative committee Thursday.

Tim Keck, interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said the department will pursue recertification for Osawatomie, ending several weeks of speculation.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in December that it would halt Medicare payments to Osawatomie due to security issues that had come to light after the reported rape of an employee by a patient.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas won’t require customers who need outpatient mental health services to get prior authorization from now on, but the insurer can recoup payments from providers if their treatment is significantly different from that of their peers.

Heartland Health Montior file photo

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles previewing health-related issues that the Kansas Legislature will face in its upcoming 2016 session.

Kansas mental health advocates will enter the 2016 session at a critical juncture, 25 years into the state’s effort to move away from institutionalization to community-based care.

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The reported rape of an employee at Osawatomie State Hospital in October exposed security concerns that federal officials cited when they decided last week to stop sending Medicare payments to the facility after Monday.

Osawatomie had submitted a correction plan for the security issues to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but federal inspectors who visited the hospital Dec. 15 and Friday to follow up decided to proceed with cutting payments, said Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

White, middle-aged Americans' death rates are on the rise, in Kansas City and beyond. How suicide, alcohol and drugs are contributing to the problem. Plus, gaps in mental healthcare services in and around Kansas City.

For immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. 

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Walk into the courtroom of Wyandotte County District Judge Kathleen M. Lynch and you may be surprised to find lawyers who aren’t asked to stand up and a judge who prefers street dress to a judge’s robes. Lynch’s docket includes lots of cases involving mental illness or substance abuse and offenders needing institutional treatment. She’s become a big advocate for more social services in the area and for courtrooms more sensitive to people who have experienced trauma.

Kevin Briggs saved hundreds of people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco while he served as a California Highway Patrol Officer.  Kevin Hines was 19 years old when he jumped off the same bridge. Now both men speak about suicide prevention.

Kevin Briggs will be signing his book,  'Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair' at 7 p.m. Friday, October 16 at Barnes & Noble Zona Rosa. 

Maria Carter / KCUR

A 72-bed, private behavioral health hospital opens its doors this week in Olathe amid growing demand for mental health and substance abuse services in an era of uncertain government support.  

Cottonwood Springs Hospital is the 12th behavioral health hospital built or under construction by Springstone Inc., a for-profit company founded in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2010 and backed by venture capital.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Several advocates for people with mental illness on Wednesday panned a proposal that would allow treatment facilities to hold people in crisis situations for up to 72 hours as involuntary patients.

“This is a deprivation of liberty,” Mike Burgess, a spokesperson with the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, said during a meeting of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition.

It would be better, he said, to expand access to voluntary treatment.

Esther Honig

This summer, more than 200 teams from around the world competed in KCRW's third International Radio Race. Participants were given the theme "Time Change" and 24 hours to produce a short radio story.

An advisory committee charged with helping state officials design a system for regulating the use of prescription mental health drugs for Medicaid patients met for the first time Tuesday.

“This is going to be an evolving process,” said Dr. Vishal Adma, a committee member and president of the Kansas Psychiatric Society.

State officials have decided to ask members of a committee charged with critiquing the state’s behavioral health system to continue meeting.

“We don’t want this to be a group that makes recommendations and stops,” said Doug Wallace, housing and homeless specialist at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. “We want this to be an action-oriented group.”

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David Wiebe, one of the best known advocates for people with mental illness in Kansas, died Monday in Fairway at age 76. He had cancer.

“If you step back and look at how, over the decades, Kansas’ mental health system was developed, created and formed to where it is now, you’ll see that he was one of the pioneers,” says Tim DeWeese, executive director at the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

“His service to both the mental health field and to mental health consumers was invaluable,” DeWeese says.

Kansas Won’t Apply For Mental Health Reform Grant

Jul 30, 2015
Publik15 / Flickr-CC

Kansas officials have decided against participating in the Excellence in Mental Health Act, a federal initiative that could have generated millions of dollars for behavioral health programs throughout the state.

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A children’s psychiatric facility in Kansas City, Kansas, has agreed to set aside 12 inpatient beds for adults who have been referred to Osawatomie State Hospital but haven’t been admitted due to overcrowding there.

  “This will definitely help with the situation at Osawatomie,” said Kyle Kessler, executive director with the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas.

The additional beds at KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital will be available Monday, Kessler said.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A new partnership in southwest Kansas aims to build mental health services and help strengthen a couple of rural hospitals at the same time.

The nonprofit United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is leading an effort to make the health system work better for people in rural Kansas. The fund’s president, Kim Moore, says the current structure based on small, low-volume hospitals isn’t likely to survive long-term.

Is Kansas Mental Health System Near Breaking Point?

Jun 29, 2015
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The filing of a murder charge against a former patient at the Osawatomie State Hospital is prompting questions about the state’s mental health system.

On May 14, Brandon Brown, 30, was released from a five-day stay at Osawatomie. He was sent to the state hospital after threatening other patients at the Haviland Care Center, a nursing facility in Kiowa County that specializes in treating adults with serious and persistent mental illness.

Cody Newill / KCUR

A new emergency shelter for children in Wyandotte County opening up this summer got a little help from the community Saturday.

The proceeds from the "Luau with Love" at St. Patrick Catholic Church will help fund Robert's Place, a shelter where children in abusive homes can be taken after police have intervened.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas City-area business leaders and health executives are kicking off an effort to make mental health a priority in the workplace.

On Friday, the Mid-America Coalition on Health Care (MACHC) introduced the Right Direction Initiative, a free, ready-to-use communication campaign for businesses that want to improve the mental health of their employees.

A proposal to allow prior authorizations for Medicaid reimbursements on mental health drugs passed its final legislative hurdle Friday.

The measure, which was requested by Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration as part of a budget proposal and projected to save $8 million, passed the House 82-31 as part of a small health conference committee package. It passed the Senate 31-6 earlier in the week and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Davis says he fancied himself a tough guy. So when he started exhibiting signs of odd behavior, like never opening the curtains in his house or always driving his convertible with the top down, he ignored them.

It was only after he went to jail for drunk driving, his wife left him and he lost his business that he understood he was in denial.   

Eventually he was diagnosed with clinical depression.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A group of men in the vanguard of a new model of housing for chronically homeless people with mental illnesses sat around a small conference table eating pizza recently in Leavenworth.

It was the monthly social gathering for residents of the Marion Apartments, a single-story, 10-unit complex just off Main Street.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

A Kansas City, Kan., facility meant to improve emergency mental health care was lauded by state officials, mental health service providers and law enforcement officials at a first-anniversary celebration Tuesday.

Rainbow Services Inc. opened April 7, 2014, to provide stabilization services for mental health or substance abuse emergencies. The facility near the University of Kansas Medical Center previously housed the Rainbow Mental Health Facility, a former state mental hospital.

Organizations that advocate on behalf of Kansas adults and children with mental illnesses are asking legislators to adopt a proviso that would protect their budgets for at least another year.

“We are having those conversations now,” said Rick Cagan, executive director with the Kansas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The conversations, he said, are on behalf of NAMI and Keys for Networking, a program that counsels families with children with severe emotional disturbances.

Kansas Senate Rejects Mental Health Drug Bill

Feb 25, 2015

The Kansas Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have allowed KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, to regulate mental health patients’ access to antipsychotic medications.

Fifteen Senators voted for Senate Bill 123, while 25 voted against the measure.

Since 2002, Kansas law has guaranteed Medicaid patients access to whatever behavioral health drugs their physician or psychiatrist sees fit to prescribe.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services recently announced that it will not renew its grants with five in-state organizations that advocate for emotionally disturbed children and people with mental illness, developmental disabilities or addiction issues.

The grants, totaling $518,000, end June 30.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

It looks like the state won’t be spending more money on its four hospitals for people whose disabilities or mental illnesses prevent them from safely caring for themselves.

Budget committees in the House and Senate have adopted Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for keeping the hospitals at their current spending levels through fiscal year 2017.

The committees each have forwarded their flat-spending recommendations to their respective chambers.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

 

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is attempting to head off opposition to a bill being crafted to allow the state to regulate the use of prescription mental health drugs.

Kari Bruffett, secretary of KDADS, met Wednesday with the Kansas Mental Health Coalition to ask its members to drop their opposition and instead help her draft a workable bill.

“We are open to having that discussion,” Bruffett said.

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