Live Web Chat on the Affordable Care Act & Behavioral Health scheduled for Wednesday, Sept.15th

SAMHSA is hosting a live web chat to discuss the Affordable Care Act and Behavioral Health. As stated by SAMHSA, “This new law contains important new programs that will help improve and expand coverage for those with behavioral health issues”
The web chat will be conducted by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They will discuss the Affordable Care Act and how it affects you, your family , and others. This is also an opportunity to find out more about important benefits to those with behavioral health disorders under the Affordable Care Act.
Join the web chat discussion and ask questions at:
You can send in your questions before the Web Chat by emailing them to [email protected], or submit them live to @HealthCareGov using Twitter.
If you are unable to participate in this live web chat or want to learn more about the implications the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have for the behavioral health system, register for SAMHSA’s Webinar “Health Care Reform: Implications for Behavioral Health Providers” scheduled for September 21, 2010, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
To register for Webinar, click here
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Do you have MaineCare? Let your voice be heard!

Come to a Listening Session about MaineCare!
Tell researchers what you think about MaineCare and how you get your health care!

DHHS is looking for people who have MaineCare to come talk about MaineCare and their health care with researchers from the University of Southern Maine.  The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is changing the way it pays hospitals and physicians in order to improve the quality of services and the way services are delivered to MaineCare members. So the purpose of this group is to hear directly from you about your experiences with MaineCare and your ideas for improving it. These Listening Sessions are a chance for you to let DHHS know about what you like and dislike about MaineCare and how it can work better for you.

The names of people who go to the Listening Sessions will be kept confidential. The researchers will summarize what is said in a report that will be shared with people in DHHS and others who are trying to improve the MaineCare program.  This is a great opportunity to help improve the MaineCare program.

Participants will receive a $30 gift certificate to Hannaford’s, travel reimbursement (44 cents per mile) and child care reimbursement, if needed.

Where and When

Lewiston, Thursday, September 9, 2010, 10 am – noon

Portland, Thursday, September 16, 2010, 10 am – noon

Bangor, Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 10 am – noon

Presque Isle, Thursday, September 23, 2010, 10 am – noon

If you would like to attend, please contact:

Mary Henderson
Maine Equal Justice Partners
126 Sewall Street
Augusta, ME 04330
(207) 212-8805
(Reasonable accommodations available on request)
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DEA Heads First-Ever Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The DEA, along with government, community, public health and law enforcemnet partners, has set up a nationwide prescription drug take-back day on Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 10 am to 2 pm.
Collection sites around the country will take any expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for safe, legal, and environmentally friendly disposal.
For more information or to find a collection site in Maine, click on the image below.
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September CSN Meetings Cancelled

Please note that the following CSN meetings for September have been cancelled: CSN 4- scheduled for Sept. 13th & CSN 7- scheduled for Sept. 9th.

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6th Annual Creative Writing Contest

Maine Mental Health Connections is accepting entries for its 6th Annual Creative Writing Contest, with cash prizes of $50, $25, & $15 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners respectively. Mental health consumers throughout the State of Maine are eligible to submit entries. Eligible entries must be essays or works of fiction under 2,000 words, or poetry under 100 lines. They must be original, unpublished works submitted in English. No more than 5 entries per person.There is no prescribed theme for entries. There is no entry fee and no purchase of any kind required to enter. An anthology of outstanding entries, including the winners, will be published and distributed free of charge to all those whose entries are selected for publication. The copyright of each entry will otherwise remain the property of the author. Entrants desiring their names not to be used in this publication should so indicate on each submission. Entries and contact information (name, address) should be submitted to:

Creative Writing Contest
Maine Mental Health Connections
150 Union Street
Bangor, ME. 04401
Deadline For Submission: September 1, 2010. Winners will be notified by November, 2010.
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Recovery Guidelines–INPUT NEEDED!

UPDATE: OAMHS recently approved the CCSM’s revised plan for gathering consumer input on the Recovery for ME Guidelines. We have contracted with a consultant, Dana Oltchick Lundy (whom we met in the Outreach Coordinator interviews), and she will create a narrated powerpoint presentation that incorporates survey questions that can be posted and completed on our own website. This presentation will also guide the focus groups we will hold during January: at all three Regional Meetings and in Portland, Bath-Brunswick, and Caribou. Dana is hitting the ground running! This is major movement on a project that has had more than its share of challenges.

To view our revised plan, click HERE


The development of Maine’s new practice guidelines for recovery-oriented care is underway and needs focused consumer attention and input. As many may already know, the Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) is using guidelines developed by Connecticut as the template for this project. (CT Guidelines)

The guidelines contain 6 “domains” or areas, and OAMHS is gathering any and all input on one domain each month during 2010, as follows:

May. . . . . . . . Recovery-oriented care is consumer and family-driven
June . . . . . . . Recovery-oriented care is timely and responsive
July . . . . . . . . Recovery-oriented care is person-centered
August . . . . .  Recovery-oriented care is effective, equitable, and efficient
September. . Recovery-oriented care is safe and trustworthy
October . . . . Recovery-oriented care maximizes use of natural support and settings

There are several ways to give feedback: 1) Participate in OAMHS monthly webinar-conference call; 2) email your written comments to [email protected]; 3) snail mail to OAMHS, Recovery Guidelines, 11 SHS, AMHI Campus/Marquardt Bldg, Augusta, ME 04333-0011;  or 4) comment below, and we will submit to OAMHS. The CCSM will also gather feedback from the local councils. For information on how to join the webinar-conference call on May 18th, click HERE.

Each domain is available separately by clicking above or by going to the Recovery for ME page on the OAMHS website. You may also request paper copies by calling Jane Malinowski at OAMHS: 287-4243. Meaningful feedback does require thoughtful study–we encourage everyone to dive in and give it their best. The process will move pretty quickly, so let’s “strike while the iron is hot!”

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CCSM Hires New Outreach Coordinators

We are beyond happy to announce that two new Outreach Coordinators have joined our staff!! Welcome to Bob Hinds, Region 1, and Wendy Brauer, Region 2. Wendy and Bob completed a two-day orientation and training this week (May 10 & 11), and both will be “shadowing” Vickie and Melissa at local council meetings and events over the next few weeks.

Celebrations all around!

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OAMHS Posts New Web-Based Training

The Office of Adult Mental Health Services has posted a recently-completed Web-Based Training entitled, “Providing Patient-Centered Mental Health Care in the Emergency Department.” An April 1st memo from Chris Robinson and Leticia Huttman describes the training this way: “This Web-Based Training, which runs approximately 1 1/4 hours in length, was developed by OAMHS and based on input from mental health care consumers and providers. It discusses the challenges of providing mental health care in the ED, and suggests specific steps EDs can take to promote a more satisfying experience for patients and ED staff alike.”

To view the training, go to OAMHS website at this link: There are opportunities on this site to download the training and access a variety of documents in the Attachments section that may serve as useful resources. Though not ready at this time, OAMHS expects to provide Certificates of Completion and to get approval for professional CEU credit.

If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to post below.

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National Health Reform Bill Signed Into Law

April 2nd Update:

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law released its summary of the new Health Care Reform Law (“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”) listing the many benefits to people with mental health and substance abuse issues. Bazelon Summary

For more information, visit Bazelon’s webpage on Health Care Reform:

March 25

“On March 23, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. This moment marks a seismic shift for health care in America, taking our country forward toward joining all the other industrialized nations in providing a national plan to bring affordable health insurance coverage to millions of Americans, including 125,000 uninsured Maine people.”

So begins an open letter from Wendy Wolf, President & CEO of the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF). The letter gives MeHAF’s overall perspective on the law, as well as key points and resources to help understand what the law means. To read the letter and access information and documents linked within it, CLICK HERE. Feel free to comment below. What do you think?

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