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!”

{jcomments on}

read more

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!

read more

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.

{jcomments on}

read more

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?

{jcomments on}

read more

Maine Rights of Recipients of MH Services

As some already know, the Maine Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services (RRMHS) is undergoing a revision process. On January 4, 2009, the Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) released its draft of the revised document and asked the consumer community to review and comment upon it before proceeding through the steps to finalization.

Helen Bailey of the Disability Rights Center (DRC) gathered consumer feedback and comments through the Advocacy Initiative Network (AIN), Consumer Council System of Maine (CCSM), Maine Association of Peer Support and Recovery Centers (MAPSRC), DRC’s Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI), and DRC staff. Helen compiled all of the comments into a report submitted to Tom Ward, Grievance Coordinator for OAMHS, on March 10, 2010. A representative from each of the groups mentioned above will meet with OAMHS staff on April 6th for a final discussion, before the rulemaking process begins (after which OAMHS may not discuss any of the revisions).

See the documents below for more thorough information:

MRRMHS (Nov. 1994)
MRRMHS Revised Draft
Report/Comments on Revised Draft

{jcomments on}

read more

Sharing Information and Confidentiality

CSN 5’s Continuity of Care Work Group just sent out a survey asking consumers about how they would like their information shared among the providers from whom they seek services. How to share information in order to receive good coordination of care and still maintain appropriate confidentiality is an important ongoing issue for consumers and providers alike statewide.

If you live in Androscoggin, Franklin, or Oxford Counties and you wish to complete the CSN 5 Survey, click here to download it. If not, please read it to get your thoughts flowing, and share your views and ideas in the comments section below.  Thank you!!

(Completed surveys can be returned to the CCSM, and we will pass on to our CSN 5 representative, Grace McDonald, who serves as co-chair of the Continuity of Care Work Group. See Contact Us for address.)

{jcomments on}

read more

CCSM Nominees Appointed to Review Board

The CCSM’s two nominees for Maine’s new Mental Health Homicide, Suicide, and Aggravated Assault Review Board (MHHSAARB) were successfully appointed by the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions! Holly Dixon and Simonne Maline will fill two of the three seats reserved for nominees of statewide organizations that advocate for the rights of persons with serious and persistent mental illness. Both Holly and Simonne bring experience and expertise to the sensitive and difficult work of this high level board. Holly serves as an elected representative to the Statewide Consumer Council (SCC) and directs the Peer Services program at Riverview Psychiatric Center. Simonne also serves on the SCC, holding the office of vice-chair, and directs Sweetser’s Learning and Recovery Center in Brunswick. Congratulations to Holly and Simonne and celebrations all around for consumers having voices in high places!

Other MHHSAARB nominees are unknown to us at this time, but categories include criminal defense attorney, psychiatrists, law enforcement, commissioners, judge or justice, prosecutor, assistant attorney general, mental health service provider, and victim-witness advocate. The MHHSAARB exists under Title 34-B Section 1931 of Maine Statute and shall review homicides, suicides and aggravated assaults involving a person with severe and persistent mental illness. The board will make recommendations to address prevention of such incidents and will submit reports to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health and Human Services.

Is this a good day or what?!

{jcomments on}

read more

CCSM Presents Crisis System Redesign

March 22 Update:

Good news for Maine’s Crisis Services! Because Maine will receive substantially more Federal Medicaid funds than previously expected, proposed cuts to several key services have been partially or entirely restored in the latest budget “change package” from DHHS.  Crisis Services were fully restored to the tune of $2.2 Million (adults and children). These general fund dollars are “flexible” in that they can be used for non-Maine reimbursable services, most importantly peer support services, key to a recovery-oriented crisis system. More on this soon.

February 19

In the midst of budget cuts facing Maine’s Mental Health Crisis System and providers scrambling to propose cost savings and streamlining efforts, the CCSM brought forward a system redesign plan that would revolutionize (recovery-ize?) crisis services here in Maine. This redesign, a vision developed by Scott Metzger, fellow-peer and Director of Peer Services at Sweetser, proposes a recovery-based merging of clinical and peer-recovery models. It expands the crisis system to include the Maine Warm Line, mobile support teams with peer support specialists, peer respites, and other recovery opportunities. This vision more holistically meets the needs of people who access the crisis system, many of whom are experiencing emotional distress that does not rise to the level of a crisis intervention, whose real and longer-term needs currently go unmet. (To see presentation slides, click here.)

The response to the initial presentation to the Office of Adult Mental Health Services on February 3rd was enthusiastic and encouraging. The following week, the design went to DHHS Commissioner Brenda Harvey, along with various other proposals for savings or changes DHHS received from crisis providers around the state. She expressed support of the vision and personally thanked the CCSM’s Executive Director for the “great work” that was done. The proposal then went to Rep. Mark Eves, the legislative liaison from the Health & Human Services Committee assigned to work with providers and DHHS to find possible solutions to the proposed cuts to crisis services. He, too, was impressed with the plan and reported out to the entire HHS Committee that while it does not provide immediate cost savings for the budget crisis, the proposal describes what should be the future direction of crisis services in Maine.

On Feb. 18th, Scott and the CCSM presented the proposal to a meeting of nearly all crisis providers in the state, several officials from DHHS (including Comm. Harvey and Dep. Comm. Muriel Littlefield), as well as Court Master Dan Wathen. The overall response of providers was very positive and some changes are already being made or considered, most notably in the southern and coastal catchment area. The most significant barrier, providers said, is how to fund the peer support initiatives. (To be continued…stay tuned!)

{jcomments on}


read more