Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mental Health Cuts Are Life-Threatening for Some

A 32-year-old entertainment lawyer, incapacitated by bipolar disorder, loses her case manager and less than two months later tries to take her own life.

A 57-year-old registered nurse, also bipolar, is forced to switch to generic drugs. She, too, begins a downward spiral as the drugs don't affect her well.

A 47-year-old laundry attendant with two diagnoses of serious mental illness fears she'll have to quit her job to get the mental-health coverage she needs.

The three Southern Arizonans are among 28,000 state residents affected by drastic cuts to behavioral health this year.

The cuts, which amount to a $65 million drop since 2008, affect Arizonans who need behavioral-health services but do not qualify for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which is the state's version of Medicaid and is for Arizona's poorest residents. The cuts represent a 52 percent reduction over two fiscal years.

In addition to providing mental-health coverage for Arizonans on Medicaid, the state has historically offered mental-health services patients often can't get through their regular insurance. That included prescription-drug coverage, case managers, bus passes, cab fare and other therapeutic support. The latest cuts took away coverage for most name-brand drugs and slashed all other support services for non-Medicaid behavioral-health patients.

The cuts are unprecedented in Arizona and in the long term could impact taxpayers and health-care providers by putting more pressure on jails and emergency rooms.

Full Article and Source:
Mental Health Cuts Are Life-Threatening for Some


Lee said...

Unfortunately, the mentally ill are the first group to be cut when cuts are made because society throws them under the bus first.

Anonymous said...

The taxpayers can't play Santa Claus with every group of people who need help. It's time that families, churches, and non-profit groups do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

The people of this country are kidding themselves. If you are unable to buy health care coverage, you are at risk. May they be general health issues, or mental health problems, you are on you own, because the government does not want to offer Universal and Comprehensive care to every citizen for a reason. Therefore, you have no rights - if you insist on being taken care of,(maybe after the Medicare coverage is exhausted) they get rid of you, one way or another, mostly by probate court orders and state appointed guardians, which seize your assets and dispose of all you own - and then you are at their mercy. Read the many cases published here...It is all about money...and protecting their own interests.E Boldt, another victim