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December 2011

National Alliance on Mental Illness, California State Organization 

Welcome Members and Affiliates
We welcome your ideas for topics to cover, your feedback on issues that face consumers, families, and providers across the state. Contact us at
NAMI CAN! Update

December 8, 2011 -- An Important Day


We hope that you join NAMI in seeing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as a major step in making mental health care accessible to a significantly greater number.  


Even if you are not so sure about the entire act, one part has found very broad support and it went into effect on December 8th. The provision of the law, called the medical loss ratio, requires health insurance companies to spend 80% of the consumers' premium dollars they collect--85% for large group insurers--on actual medical care rather than overhead, marketing expenses and profit. Failure on the part of insurers to meet this requirement will result in the insurers having to send their customers a rebate check representing the amount in which they underspend on actual medical care.


As Forbes magazine says, (December 8), the Department of Health & Human Services issue[d] the rules of what insurer expenditures will--and will not--qualify as a medical expense for purposes of meeting the requirement. As it turns out, HHS isn't messing around. They actually mean to see to it that the insurance companies spend what they should taking care of their customers.


Will this push large insurance companies into other lines of business? Maybe. Does it move us closer to a single-payer system? Could be. Will people have more opportunities for affordable health care? We think so.


That's why we are celebrating December 8, 2011!

NAMI Says Defense Department AWOL on Mental Health Care for National Guard and Reserves
Defence Department
Michael Fitzpatrick, executive director of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has issued the following statem
ent on National Guard mental health care crisis and access to care at stake in the U.S. Department of Defense Appropriations bill:

"These are critical times for returning Reserve and National Guard soldiers and their families.The risk is high.

Pentagon data reports that more National Guard troops have died from suicide each of the past five years than were killed in combat or died of accidents or illnesses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have a mental health crisis in the National Guard. The lives of returning military and their families are at stake.

Congress must address this crisis.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are moving to finalize the fiscal year 2012 Department of Defense Appropriations bill. The House version of the Pentagon's bill includes funding for an essential mental health program.

This program would embed mental health workers in Guard and Reserve units. These professionals would encourage soldiers to seek mental health services when they need them. A similar program is available for active-duty units and must be available for Reserve and National Guard soldiers.

NAMI calls on leaders in Congress and the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund this essential Reserve and National Guard mental health program in the Department of Defense's Appropriations bill.

As a nation, we cannot abandon those who have fought for our country. We owe it to them, their families and to our own honor. It is the right, and only thing to do."

California Releases Plan for Overhaul of Mental Health Programs 

From the LA Times by Lee Romney

MSHAOCCalifornia mental health officials have detailed plans for a new Department of State Hospitals, a streamlined agency that they said would improve treatment and reduce patient violence at the troubled psychiatric facilities - as well as save money. (The plan has already drawn fire from the state's mental health workers -- see story below).

The department, which will oversee the state's five mental hospitals and psychiatric programs at two of its prisons, is expected to replace the Department of Mental Health next year. The spinoff is the result of broader legislative changes intended to pass the department's other responsibilities - for community mental health care -- down to county governments.

Cliff Allenby, acting director of the current Department of Mental Health, said that long-overdue improvements at the hospitals would come along with the structural change.

A 271-page report by an independent panel commissioned by Allenby last summer - and posted online Wednesday - found organizational and financial problems at the department, as well as issues with patient treatment and aggression. The agency is facing a $120-million budget deficit. 

Acting Deputy Director Kathy Gaither called the report "probably more candid than any ... that's come out on any state agency."

The proposed overhaul, which is subject to negotiations with employee unions, includes the elimination of 600 jobs, diluted staff-to-patient ratios, a rethinking of treatment programs and stronger fiscal oversight. It comes as the hospital system is struggling to emerge from federal oversight imposed five and a half years ago to settle a lawsuit over poor treatment.

Mental Health Workers Concerned With California's Overhaul Plans  

advocacyMental health care workers are voicing concern over the state Department of Mental Health's proposal to eliminate hundreds of positions as part of an overhaul of the state's mental health care system, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports.
About the Plan
Last week, the mental health department released plans to overhaul state mental health care programs.

The proposal outlines the establishment of a new Department of State Hospitals, which is expected to replace the Department of Mental Health next year (California Healthline,12/8). The new department would oversee about 6,300 patients in state hospitals and prisons.

The proposal also calls for eliminating 620 positions next year to reduce costs by $193 million. According to the state, many of the positions already are vacant or could be eliminated through attrition.

The plan is part of Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) broader push to shift management of state services to local control.

Details of Staffing Issues 
Under the state's plan, staff would be assigned to patients based on the seriousness of their mental health conditions.

Members of Safety Now -- a coalition of psychiatric technicians, physicians and other state hospital employees -- said the plan would reduce patient-to-staff ratios by nearly one-third.

Stuart Bussey -- president of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists -- said, "We know that if treatment staff are cut, patient safety will certainly deteriorate further, and assaults will increase."

Kathy Gaither -- acting chief deputy director of the Department of Mental Health -- said the state's plan is designed to save money while maintaining quality of care and safety (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 12/12).

Cedars-Sinai To Cut Most Psychiatric Services
From The Los Angeles Times by Anna Gorman

cedarsCedars-Sinai Medical Center will close its in-patient and outpatient psychiatry programs over the next year, a move prompted by significant shifts in the healthcare system, hospital officials said. 

The decision, which was announced Wednesday, was driven by hospital finances and changes to the delivery and organization ofhealthcare services nationwide.

Patients will gradually transition to other facilities, while the hospital will retain psychiatric services in the emergency room, cancer center and other clinical areas, officials said.

The planned closure is the latest in a long series of reductions in mental health services across the state. California has roughly 6,500 acute in-patient psychiatric beds, down from 8,500 in 1996, according to the California Hospital Assn. There have also been significant cutbacks in Medi-Cal funding for mental health services statewide.

Click here to read the full story.
Thank You, Steve Fleming!
Steve Fleming
We wish to extend our gratitude to Steve Fleming, President/CEO of River City Bank, for running the California International Marathon on behalf of NAMI California, Sunday, December 4. The race was run over a 26-mile, 385-yard distance beginning at Folsom Dam and ending at the California State Capitol finish line.

Thank you Steve for your continued support on NAMI California and your community.

Family to Family Update 

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We recently completed our first support group training of the fiscal year. Held in Ontario, we had 19 graduates from 10 different affiliates attend. One trainee evaluation stated: "Thank you for this thorough training. I feel ready to go!"


We look forward to a busy winter and spring with teacher and support group trainings.


Happy holidays to everyone in the NAMI family.


NAMI Stanislaus


NAMI Stanislaus has been approved for a 3-year MHSA Innovations grant for Beth & Joanna Friends in Recovery.  


Friends in Recovery
is a mentoring program that pairs MJC students, Peer-to-Peer graduates or people with similar education, and who have experienced depression or other mental health issues, with people diagnosed with a mental illness who are isolated or need support to maximize their treatment plans.

By modeling their recovery the "Pal" imparts hope and empowerment to their "Peer" that is not possible from mental health professionals who are limited by shrinking budgets. Modesto Junior College students are required to do volunteer hours as part of their Human Services curriculum so this is also a great educational opportunity for students to practice their psycho-social rehabilitation skills.

The Program Administrator for Friends in Recovery is Heather Walton.

Sand and Sea New Year's Eve Celebration


new yearXceptional Music and the Sheraton Harbor Island bring you the 1st annual Sand and Sea 2011 New Year's Eve Ball with proceeds benefitting mental health awareness in San Diego.
Doors open at 7:00pm for check in and a champagne reception. An elaborate five-course meal will be served from 8:00pm to 9:00pm with Xceptional music providing non-stop live dance music from 9:00pm to 1:00am. 
We will ring in 2012 with complementary party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Please reserve your seat now for what will be an amazing event. 

NAMI California Financial Statements and Supplemental Information 


NAMI California is posting the most-recent Independent Auditor's Report, June 30, 2011.  


Click here to read the full report. 

Contact Information
or call NAMI California
(916) 567-0163
In This Issue
NAMI CAN! Update
Defense Department AWOL on Mental Health Care
Overhaul of Mental Health Program
Mental Health Workers Concerned
Cedars-Sinai To Cut Most Psychiatric Services
Thank You, Steve Fleming
Family to Family News
Affiliate News
Sand and Sea New Year's Eve
NAMI California Financial Statements


Proud Sponsor of NAMI California:

Janssen logo

NAMI California's Tree of Tribute
Fiscal Year 2011-12

tree of tribute
Each year many donors elect to give a gift in celebration of an event, in honor of a special individual or in memory of a loved one.

The Tree of Tribute formalizes this tradition by providing a lasting acknowledgement
for individuals who are remembered, individuals who are honored or have an enduring record of a significant celebration. 
Gifts in Celebration, in Honor or in Memory

Gifts of $500 or more will be eligible for an engraved leaf on the Tree of Tribute or an engraved stone at the base of the tree.

$500 - Bronze leaf
$1,000 - Silver leaf
$2,000 - Gold leaf
$3,000 -- Small stone
$5,000 - Large stone

Major Donors  donors

I California thanks the following for their very generous contributions of $500 or more.

Humanitarian: $5,000-$15,000 Kelly Foundation, Sacramento, CA
Janssen Pharma
, New Brunswick, NJ
AstraZeneca, Wilmington, DE
Patron:  $2,500 - $4,999
May S. Farr, Upland. CA
Benefactor:  $1,000 - $2,499
The Knudtson Family Donor Advised Fund
, CA

Ralph E. Nelson, Visalia, CA

Attias Family Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Frances Tibbits, Pacific Palisades, CA

Pfizer Inc., New York, NY

David M. Knapp Special Needs Trust, San Diego, CA   

Shareholder: $750-$999

Orange County's United Way, Irvine, CA 

Sponsor:  $500-$749
Joseph Kotzin,, Los Angeles,CA

Patricia Goldring, PhD, Sherman Oaks, CA

Kessel, Young, & Logan, Charitable Account, Long Beach, CA


NAMI California Annual Conference Donors

Janssen Pharma, $5,000

AstraZeneca, $5,000  


All donations,
large and small,
are greatly appreciated by
NAMI California and help
us achieve our mission
at the state level.
2011 advocacy

This educational newsletter is supported, in part, by an educational grant from Lilly USA, LLC.  For further information concerning Lilly grant funding visit