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Friday Update 6-21-13

Greetings faithful readers. Per usual we have much to cover this week. Let's start with a special shoutout to our elected officials who have an undeniably hard job and apparently aren't getting much love from the American public. I mean, can public opinion about Congress get any worse? Gallup is out with a poll showing that confidence in the House and Senate has dropped so low that it now ranks as the least popular societal institution in U.S. history. Maybe our elected officials (you know, the folks who work for us) should try the time-honored art of compromise - it might improve their ratings.Or, they could take the Sally Fields approach, though we think they would get more traction if they revisited the Ted Talk we shared a few months ago by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig who issues a bipartisan rallying cry that will resonate with many in the US and beyond. Okay, now that you are inspired by Sally Fields and Lawrence Lessig (now there is a combination!), get to readin' Friday Update.

Most important reads for this week

House Republicans want to know if Navigators are prepared
Heads up Network faithful, a new wrinkle is emerging regarding the role of navigators. A group of House Republicans have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to express concern that the health law's navigators will be ill-suited to help consumers sign up for health insurance. The lawmakers also want Sebelius to explain how the administration will ensure that the public knows that navigators aren't licensed or insured against accidental mistakes like agents or brokers. Politics aside (if that is ever possible) the questions raised in the letter are worthy of discussion.

Young adults see value in health insurance - good news for health reform
The Kaiser Foundation is out with a poll showing that young adults under the age of 30 believe they want and need health insurance. For the insurance pools being created by the health reform law to be successful young adults need to sign up for insurance. This poll brings good news to the overall picture of American's view on the importance of insurance coverage, not to mention the success of the health care reform law.

Are there better alternatives to seclusion and restraint?
Don't miss this important Morning Zen post by Dr. Joseph Ryan, Associate Director of Research for the School of Education, and Vice President of the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders. In the post, Dr. Ryan frames the challenges around the over-reliance on seclusion and restraint in schools and offers practical tips for how schools can respond safely and appropriately.

HHS proposes rule requiring insurers to accept all types of payment options for insurance
HHS, bowing to pressure from the tax preparation firm Jackson Hewitt and state officials, proposed a rule requiring insurers accept all types of payment options, including replenishable debit cards, to ensure the millions of people eligible for insurance subsidies in the exchanges but who lack traditional bank accounts can pay their monthly premiums. The proposal was applauded by Jackson Hewitt, which recently issued a report finding nearly one in four of the uninsured population lacks a bank account and noting many insurers had already suggested they would not accept non-traditional payments for the monthly premiums, potentially undermining the goal of the health law. Their findings showed that more than one in four Americans - 27 percent -- that would be eligible for premium tax credits under the health reform law don't have a checking account. The report further noted that African-American and Hispanic-Americans are 40 percent more likely to be "unbanked" than white residents in the same income category. Kudos to HHS for responding appropriately. This example illustrates why we must be hyper-vigilant about the nooks and crannies of health care reform that could unintentionally exacerbate disparities in access to insurance coverage.

SAMHSA Strategic Initiatives up for review after 2014 - let's get children's mental health front and center
Network faithful know how chagrined we have been at the lack of prominence of children's mental health in the eight strategic initiatives set forth by SAMHSA to guide their planning efforts. One of our eagle-eye Advisory Council members pointed out the other day that the initiatives are designed to guide SAMHSA's work only through 2014. That means there should be another round of public comment and discussion when SAMHSA starts planning for 2015 and beyond. So, instead of whining about the lack of focus on children's mental health, Network faithful can do something about it. Let's get a head start on this and write a strategic initiative focus for SAMHSA that prominently focuses on children's mental health.

Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration
Sesame Workshop has done it again with another excellent resource as part of their "Little Children, Big Challenges" series. Check out the new video and toolkit that tells the story of Alex, whose dad is in prison. We at the Network are so excited about this resource that we are partnering with Our Children's Place in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to chronicle how they are using these materials in their work with incarcerated parents and their families. We will keep you updated.

National Family Dialogue for Youth with Substance Use Disorders
Network faithful are encouraged to learn more about the growing movement of families who have youth with substance use disorders. The National Family Dialogue for Youth with Substance Use Disorders has a rapidly growing following on Facebook and is led by two powerhouse family advocates Sharon LeGore and Shannon Crossbear.

National HIV Testing Day--June 27th, 2013
Network faithful take note: CDC, AIDS.gov and a number of other national organizations are promoting National HIV Testing Day as part of an important campaign to raise awareness about this preventable disease. So what are you waiting for? Take a test and take control of your health and your life!

Registration is now open for the 2013 Georgetown Leadership Academy training
Think of the Georgetown Leadership Academy as an intensive think tank of the best and brightest in the system of care world, all coming together to work on leadership skills to help them further the concept of a system of care approach in communities throughout the nation. Dang, I get goose bumps just thinkin' about it. There are only 50 slots available for this jam-packed training event and they will go quickly so get on it!

Health Care Innovation Awards deadline is June 28
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for round two of the Health Care Innovation Awards. Under this announcement, CMS will spend up to $1 billion for awards and evaluation of projects from across the country that test new payment and service delivery models that will deliver better care and lower costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees. Letters of Intent are due June 28!

Ending LGBT Youth Homelessness: A Call to Action
Looks like another great webinar from our colleagues at the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health. Mark it down on your calendar Network faithful!

Everyone Plays a Role in Suicide Prevention: Turning Strategy Into Action
It's not too late to register and attend "Everyone Plays a Role in Suicide Prevention: Turning Strategy Into Action," an interactive event that will include a keynote speaker, knowledgeable plenary presenters, and a panel representing high-risk populations. The event will kick off "75 Days of Action" to put plans into action and begin to reduce suicides dramatically by National Suicide Awareness Day on September 10, 2013.

Funding opportunities

Resources

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A big THANK YOU for reading and participating in Friday Update each and every week. Our promise to you is that we will work to improve and expand our coverage of pertinent issues for children's mental health advocates, families, policy makers and just plain folk who care about making our communities stronger. So in the spirit of innovation and change what would you do to improve Friday Update for 2013? Send us your ideas. We are grateful for any and all feedback especially for ideas of how we can improve upon what we offer you. Not signed up yet to receive Friday Update every week? Sign up now and get the latest information you need to help you improve services for children and families. Forward a copy of this Update to a colleague and be a part of spreading the love about children's mental health far and wide. Just be sure to give us a wee bit of credit, okay?

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
http://cmhnetwork.org

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