Providing a voice for consumers of

mental health services

The Consumer Council System of Maine represents fellow consumers with an effective, organized voice in shaping public policy and mental health services.

Consumer Council System of Maine has a Job Opening

The Consumer Council System of Maine has a current job opening for a part-time office assistant. This position is for 15 hours per week.

Please see the job description here for more information.

Please email a Resume and Cover letter to: smaline@maineccsm.org or you can mail it to:
Att: Simonne Maline
Consumer Council System of Maine
55 Middle Street, Suite 2
Augusta, ME 04330

You may contact the office with any questions: 430-8300 or 1-877-207-5073

Public Transportation Forums Announced.....

 

MEHHS Banner

 

 

Dear Transit Stakeholder,

The Maine Department of Transportation is holding a series of forums regarding general public transit -services.  A recent statewide analysis of transit services, compiled as part of the Maine Strategic Transit Plan 2025, shows that there are unmet transit needs in a number of communities. We are holding these forums in those communities that appear to have the largest unmet needs.  We are seeking ideas from the public on how to improve services for: 

·         Low income individuals

·         The elderly

·         Individuals with disabilities

·         Members of the general public 

The results of these forums will be important for advising future investments for general public transit services and for the public participation process established by MaineDOT in its efforts to meet both state and federal transportationplanning and funding requirements for transit services (Ref 23 MRSA 4209 and Federal Transit Administration's  Locally Coordinated Transit Plan requirements). 

We hope you will join us for one or more of these this important meetings at the following locations:

 

May

11

Monday

Biddeford

City Hall - Council Chambers

2-4pm

 

12

Tuesday

Bath

Patten Free Library

2-4pm

 

13

Wednesday

Lewiston

City Hall - Council Chambers

2-4pm

 

19

Tuesday

Mexico

Region 9 Education Center

3-5pm

 

21

Thursday

Calais

Washington County Community College

2-4pm

June

9

Tuesday

Portland

Public Library - Rines Room

2-4pm

 

11

Thursday

Machias

DHHS CFS, CFS Large Conference Room

2-4pm

 

16

Tuesday

Rockland

DHHS District Operations, Rockland

2-4pm

 

18

Thursday

Naples

Town Office Large Conference Room

2-4pm

If you are unable to join us in person, please send us your input by email at Transit.MaineDOT@maine.gov,  or by mail at Transit Workshop, MaineDOT, Bureau of Planning, 16 State House Station, Augusta, ME, 04333-0016.

Med Management Saves Lives! Please Protect Our Community Based Behavioral Health Services!

There has been lots of discussion about cuts in the Governor’s proposed 2016-2017 budget. There are tax cuts and cuts to waitlists, but one cut that has been getting very little attention is the 56% cut to med management services for community providers. This cut has gotten so little attention because it isn’t being called a cut, it’s being called an equalization of rates. However, it would reduce rates to a level that would no longer allow our community based mental health providers to effectively offer this service that is so critical for many patients to stay at home or in their own communities. Already operating at a loss, many of these community based mental health providers will have to scale back these services or, more likely, close the programs altogether.

Services like medication management are what enable patients to function in their communities. Access to these services provides patients with the exact dosage of the one medication that doesn’t make them sick, the coping mechanisms and support they need to survive the worst symptoms of their illness, or the consistent support they need to live happy and healthy lives at home. Closing these programs would mean that thousands of patients and their families would have no one to turn to. The lucky patients would find more expensive residential treatments and the unlucky ones would go untreated, ending up in jails, emergency rooms, or worse, in the news associated with a fatal tragedy.

This is not what we want for Maine and it is not what we want for the thousands of people who need these services. With our jails and emergency rooms already struggling to provide adequate services for these patients, why would we cut funding to organizations that provide the lifeline that allows them to stay with their families and communities? Please stand with us in opposition to the cuts to med management and help protect our community based behavioral health services! 

We Need Your Help to Spread the Word About Harmful Budget Cuts!

There are cuts in this year’s proposed budget that would equalize medication management rates for community behavioral health providers with primary care physicians. This may seem harmless but what it means is a 56% cut in the rates for community behavioral health providers to provide medication management services. These are the very medications that allow people with severe and persistent mental illness remain stable and safe in their communities.  Already, many of these community based mental health providers are operating at a loss and they will have to scale back these services or, more likely, close the programs altogether, limiting access and compromising safety. That is not the only cut. The proposed budget also includes a 10% cut to Section 28 and 65 that would reduce in-home and community based services. Medication management and the services in section 28 and 65 are what allow patients to live safely and happily in their own communities. These services help patients stay out of the emergency room and the criminal justice system.

The Consumer Council System of Maine knows how important these services are. We need your help to make sure that the legislators who are voting on the budget in the next two weeks hear from us. We want to use social media to make sure that the members of the Appropriations committee know what these services mean to us and what enacting these cuts would do to our communities.

CCSM will be posting on Facebook and Twitter frequently over the next week. We need you to help by sharing and re-tweeting as well as expressing your own reasons for support and tagging members of the appropriations committee.

Examples could look like

On Facebook: My family and friends need medication management services from local providers in order to live safely and happily in their own communities. Help protect our community based behavioral health services. #medmgmtsaveslives #Mepolitics

On Twitter: My friends & family need med mgmt to live happily & safely in their communities. Remind legislators that #medmgmtsaveslives! #mepolitics

You can use and follow #medmgmtsaveslives and #mepolitics to really get the word out and magnify our voice. Watch for our posts and help us make sure that these legislators hear from the people who will really be effected by these cuts. 

Follow up on LD 1209: An Act to Increase the Effectiveness of Peer Supports in the State

Below are some more talking points about the changes to LD 1209 that the CCSM has asked for since the public hearing and why the passing of this bill is important. To view the amendments to the bill that we submitted, please click HERE



Please note: What we are asking for is that the Health and Human Service Committee approve the amendment and not move this into a study or workgroup as this would delay much needed change. We will continue to work with the state no matter what happens and we have already been talking this week to SAMHS leadership about this We need this bill to go to a vote!!!!  If this bill passes, we will have ample opportunity to work with DHHS to design what this program and certification will look like. This will NOT be done behind closed doors!

 

 

The Consumer Council System of Maine proposes an Amendment to do the following:

 

Sec 4.  Clearly lays out that the department contract out for peer support training through a train the trainer statewide program and that the training be by peers for peers.   Also adds that this entity shall keep and electronic tracking system accessible to trainees and specialists regarding their status

 

Removes the requirement that Peer Support Specialists be included on all ACT teams

 

 

Sec 5.  Clarifies that the already existing IPSAC committee name its appointees from a list of people interested and who have gone through a protocol jointly developed by SAMHS and CCSM.

 

 

WHY?
  

The CCSM listened to the concerns raised at the public hearing. The Department’s objections were based on requiring Peer Specialists on ACT teams primarily due to the fiscal note. We have removed that requirement. 

 

It clarifies that the services being contracted for are peer support specialist training and oversight, and they are to be served by and for peers, in a train the trainer model.

 

Lastly, it clarifies that the appointments to the already existing IPSAC are to be appointed through a process developed by the Department and the CCSM that will allow anyone to apply and be selected based on objective criteria. 

 

 

COMMENTS 

This is such an important bill.  Peer Support Specialists are a critical part of our behavioral health system, and the need for growing numbers of trained, supported specialists speaks to the importance of this bill. 

 

The work session has been scheduled for this coming Monday the 4th for the afternoon session and our bill is the last on the list.  Remember that the work session is not a place where we can speak unless asked.  Also, this is where a vote will take place from the committee members of HHS. You are welcome to come, but know this….we will probably be sitting and waiting for a long time with no guarantee of an ability to speak. 

 

Here are the work session guidelines that you are expected to follow:

 

PLEASE NOTE: While this is a public meeting, people are only allowed to speak at the request of the Committee.

 

Work sessions: Work sessions allow committee members to discuss bills thoroughly and to vote on one or more recommendations (“reports”) to the Legislature. The committee works with its legislative analyst to draft amendments or review amendments proposed by others. Some bills require several work sessions. Work sessions are open to the public and, at the invitation of the committee, department representatives, lobbyists and others may address the committee about bills being considered, suggest compromises or amendments and

answer questions. The committee may also ask its legislative analyst to research and explain certain details of the bill or to provide additional information. Under the Joint Rules (Rule 306), a Senate member of the committee must be present in order for the committee to vote unless the President of the Senate authorizes an exception. Work session schedules may be found on the web through the Legislature’s website under “Committees” at http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/commit.htm  and are also available on the Senate website.

 

Committee amendments: Amendments are suggested changes that may clarify, restrict, expand, correct or otherwise modify the printed bill. Proposed amendments may be technical or substantive. At times, revisions are so extensive that the entire substance of the bill is changed by the amendment. On rare occasions, extensive revision of the b ill may take the form o f a new

draft rather than that of an amendment. A new draft is then printed as a new L.D. and assigned a new number. Under the Joint Rules (Rule 310 (4)) the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House must authorize a new draft.

 

Committee report: Except in the case of a report of “leave to withdraw” the committee’s decisions on bills and amendments are expressed by votes on motions made during a work session; the final action is called a committee report, which is the committee’s recommended action on a bill. The report a bill receives is often the most important influence on its passage or defeat. Several types of reports on a bill are permissible under the

Joint Rules (Rule 310(2)):

Ought to pass,

Ought to pass as amended,

Ought to pass in new draft, Ought not to pass,

Refer to another committee, and

Leave to withdraw.

 

 

For more information on any of the above guidelines, please refer to the Legislator’s Handbook at: http://www.maine.gov/legis/opla/127thlegHandbook.pdf

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