Friday Update

Friday morning update – 3-1-13

March 03, 2013


Friday morning update – 3-1-13

Greetings faithful readers – This sequestration adventure has been quite a journey and now, here we are on March 1st. First there was the near-miss asteroid and then the mini-asteroid (comet) that exploded over Russia, and now quite possibly, sequestration. Regardless of what happens today, we will march on fighting the good fight for children and families. But hey, let’s stay positive in the face of adversity and start this issue off with a little 5th Dimension for all of you old hippies and hippie wannabes – Time to let the sun shine in… Okay, now that you have watched the video (you did watch it, didn’t you?), it’s time to get back to 2013. Enjoy our offerings from this week. Might want to take a couple of aspirin before you start reading though…

So now what?
Okay Network faithful, our nation’s leaders still have until midnight tonight to resolve the sequestration nightmare, which is the deadline for the President to send out official notice on sequestration. However, there has been a bit of confusion on the timing and some agencies could start issuing furloughs today. Maybe the Administration and Congress are consulting a numerologist to decide when to resolve the sequestration conundrum. It appears more and more likely that 3-1-2013 just isn’t a good number combination for resolution. So how about 3-27-2013? Maybe that will be better. That is the day when a stopgap continuing resolution, or CR, expires. What does this mean for Network faithful? While it would be tempting to throw your hands up in frustration, we strongly encourage you not to. Stay as vigilant as ever! Details on what you can do can be found here. Hang in there folks!

OMB prepares agencies for sequestration 
Network faithful take note – OMB has sent a memo to agencies outlining their responsibilities for implementing sequestration. This is not the official sequestration order, but will give you a good idea of the planning that is taking place. Details here.

Maybe we should just have Michelle Obama in charge… 
You know, we are beginning to think this whole sequestration thing should be turned over to Michelle Obama. I mean, with the new haircut and all, she just might be able to bring folks together and dance their way through this mess. If she can do it with Jimmy Fallon, she certainly should be able to do it with John Boehner… Watch the video here.

Still don’t understand the sequester?
Or having trouble getting others to understand? This “Absolute Moron’s Guide to Understanding the Sequester” informs on the automatic cuts in a funny, easy to swallow way. Thanks to Emily Holubowich for this one!

Yet another great resource for everything sequestration
The Budget Coalition has gone live with their version of the NDDUnited Hub. You can access their collection of sequester related announcements, materials, and impact examples here.

More grist for the sequestration mill – Rep. DeLauro report details impact on labor, health, & education programs
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Ranking Member on the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, released a report on February 20th that details the impact of sequestration on labor, health, and education programs. In the press release from her office, she states, “This report thoroughly refutes Republican claims that spending on labor, education and health programs is out of control, and demonstrates that substantial cuts have already been made to services critical to the nation’s well-being. Particularly on the heels of the worst recession in decades, we should be bolstering programs that provide job training, access to higher education and mental health services, not further cutting in to them and harming American families.” Details here.

Let the slippery slope begin – States can cut back on Medicaid payments 
A recent article in the New York Times is a disturbing harbinger of things to come. The Obama administration has given the green light to states to cut Medicaid payments to doctors and other health care providers to help contain costs. In the article, Dr. Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Association said, “Two-thirds of doctors in California cannot afford to participate in Medicaid because the rates are so low. The problem will only get worse if rates are cut as we move more and more people into Medicaid.” And therein lies the rub… What about the people who benefit from Medicaid? You know, the approximately 60 million low-income people whose numbers are soon to be increased with the new health care law. What happens to them? Hence, the slippery slope. Read more in Morning Zen.

26th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research & Policy Conference – we are in the house!
Can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces at the Tampa conference. If you don’t know us just look for the sunburned ones… we forgot the SPF-30…. The agenda is out and it is crazy good! Check it out here, Be sure to come by the CMHNetwork Exhibit table and say hello and check out our great array of resources. More details on the conference can be found here.

Sesame Street launches new initiative: Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce
The Children’s Mental Health Network is thrilled to be partnering with Sesame Workshop this year. We are currently promoting Sesame Street’s newest outreach initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce, which provides much-needed resources for families with young children (ages 2 to 8) as they encounter the tough transitions that come with divorce. For those of you who are attending the Tampa Conference, be sure to stop by the Children’s Mental Health Network exhibit table to pick up your free copy of Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce! Details here.

SAMHSA under attack by Congressman Tim Murphy in Face the Nation discussion
In a discussion on Face the Nation about the relationship between mental health and violent video games, Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Murphy comes down hard on SAMHSA. Mike Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of NAMI does a nice job emphasizing the need for more focus on early intervention, addressing stigma and education of community partners about mental health. Watch the episode here.

Crossing the line: Teen-dating violence
Great resources from the Office of Adolescent Health on dating violence. Details here.

Higher co-pays and fees for Medicaid beneficiaries? Organizations ask for clarity
Props to the 79 organizations who prepared an excellent letter to Secretary Sebelius in response to the request for comments on Proposed Rule “Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges…” Remember, states have choice in what Medicaid benefits to cover, so long as the packages include coverage in the 10 Essential Health Benefit categories outlined in the health law. Frankly, it is up to us to make sure that decision-makers are aware of the choices that work best for youth with serious emotional challenges and their families. A “must read” for Network faithful. Details here.

The Breakaway Health Policy Savings Matrix
Breakaway Policy Strategies has just released a searchable matrix that compares the health proposals in the top deficit reduction plans. The Children’s Mental Health Network has been receiving many an email pleading for some sort of cross-comparison. This interactive report is a great start. Check it out here.

Study on genetics and mental health suggests 5 most common disorders share similar genetic components
NIMH study (the largest study yet into genetics and mental health) reveals that the five most common disorders—autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, and major depression—all share similar genetic components. The results suggest that a rethink in how these disorders are defined might be in order. Read more here.

Here are a few more items for you to consider before getting back to work…

Is Friday Update workin’ for ya?
A big THANK YOU for reading and participating in Friday Update each and every week. Our promise to you is that we will work hard 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
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