Editorial: When Actions, Assurances Are At Odds
(Des Moines Register)
November 10, 2011
DES MOINES, IOWA– [Excerpt provided by Inclusion Daily] In the 1970s, Congress created a network of organizations to help protect people living in institutions. Disability Rights Iowa receives federal money to advocate for disabled and elderly Iowans. The organization may be at odds with politicians or owners of senior living businesses, so its leader needs to be passionate and have thick skin.
Sylvia Piper was that leader for 11 years in Iowa, and she was critical of Democrats as well as Republicans. During the tenure of Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, she clashed with state agencies over the care of people in two state mental institutions. During the eight months after Republican Terry Branstad was sworn in as governor, Piper clashed with his administrators — and then was fired.
A few weeks earlier she released an open letter to Branstad. She wrote that because of his “political choices, people are suffering and dying on a regular basis in Iowa’s nursing homes.”
While there may have been exaggeration in her statement, she was giving voice to what many Iowans were thinking.
Editorial: When actions, assurances are at odds
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As Demand Increased, 28 States Cut $1.7 Billion From Mental Health Budgets
(Kaiser Health News)
November 10, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC– [Excerpt] More than half the states have cut their mental health budgets since the recession hit home, while the economic slump has pushed up demand for such services, according to a new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
General funds for mental health — excluding funds brought in through Medicaid and other federal programs — are down $1.6 billion overall between fiscal year 2009 and fiscal 2012, a period when 28 states plus D.C. reduced mental health outlays.
That’s actually a slight improvement from the $1.8 billion slide that NAMI reported through FY 2011. Thirty states increased their budgets for FY 2012, but “these increases do not mitigate the damage that has been done,” the NAMI report noted.
Between FY 2009 and FY2012, four states — South Carolina, Alabama, Alaska and Illinois — cut their mental health budgets more than 30 percent. Ten others reduced their budgets by more than 10 percent.
“Mental health treatment in this country is so fragile, so inaccessible and so variable that taking out that much money really staggers it,” said NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick.
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