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In This Issue


Upcoming Events 
August 19th, from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, Phoenix  " Hearing Voices Workshop".  Register here or visit the event page.

Get ready to "Strike Down Stigma!" on August 20th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Let It Roll Bowling , 8925 N. 12th St, Phoenix.  $20 per person includes refreshments (popcorn, pizza and soda) & shoe rental. A portion of the proceeds will go to MHAC. Call 602-712-9200 x205 or email for more information.  
On August 20th Assurance Health & Wellness Center will host an Open House from: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at 1515 E. Osborn Road in Phoenix.   This is to showcase the new integrated health care center.    

August 22nd from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, Rev. Julie A. Williams, Vicar, St Thomas' Episcopal Church, 889 1st South Street,  Clarkdale,  will host a session on "In God All Are Welcome, All Are Able".  Session I:  A father and daughter dealing with disability OR Grieving disability of self or others. Session II:  Mental health & disability OR Introduction to disability & the church. To register click here.

September 1st from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm there's a FREE SBIRT Introduction  at the ASU Tucson Campus, 340 N Commerce Park Loop, #250, Tucson.  Program is being offered compliments of Health Choice Integrated Care.  Register here.   

On September 16th from 7:30 to 9:30 AM at the Talking Stick Arena (Formerly the U.S. Airways Center) 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, the 2nd Annual CEO Roundtable - Diversity and Inclusion, ACHE Category 2 Qualified Educational CEU's.  Register at Eventbrite
Regional Behavioral Health Authority Calendars:

Cenpatico Community Events Calendar

CPSA Community Events

Mental Health First Aid Statewide Calendar

Mercy Maricopa  Community Events Calendar 
NARBHA Community Events Calendar 

Board of Directors 

Michael Shafer, Chair

Joshua Mozell, Vice Chair

Kristina Sabetta, Secretary

Jason Bernstein, Treasurer

Jack Beveridge

Max Dine, M.D.

Sheri George

Charles Goldstein, M.D

Laurie Goldstein

Emily Jenkins

Marcus Johnson

Barbara Lang

Karen Pitico

Clarke Romans
August 15, 2015
Rally for Ride to Awareness

Mental Health America of Arizona (MHA-AZ) is pleased to host a Rally on Sunday, September 20th from 8:00 am to 10:30 am at the SRP PERA Park at 1 East Continental Drive, Tempe.  The Rally is celebrate the efforts of the Ride to Awareness bicyclists who will be in Arizona that day. We want to meet and greet these dedicated individuals.

The Ride to Awareness is a Florida based nonprofit established by Allen Giese in 2014 in an effort to do something to allay the stigma associated with mental illness.  On his 55th birthday in 2015, Allen and a band of cyclists will embark on a 3,000-mile bicycle ride across eight states that are the southern tier of the US.  The group will spend two months cycling from San Diego, CA, to St. Augustine, FL starting out on September 14th.

The group will be in the Phoenix metro area on September 20th.  At the Rally for the Ride to Awareness, MHA-AZ is offering a  free continental breakfast.  If you come out with your bicycle, there will even be an optional Family Fun Ride on the grounds of the PERA Park available at no cost, but registration is required.  The ride is about 1.5 miles long so even our weekend warriors can participate.  Simply click here to join us for the morning and do register also for the Family Fun Ride. 

MHA-AZ is recruiting exhibitors from local cycling shops and clubs as well as local mental health agencies to join us that morning.  A DJ will provide music and we will have face painting, a balloon artist, and lawn games for the kids.

We still have Sponsorship opportunities available so please contact us directly at 480-983-5305 if you want to be part of the Rally for the Ride to Awareness.  Let's end the stigma of mental illness together.

Event T-shirts will be sold at the Rally for $25.

Let's show the Ride to Awareness team that Arizona cares about reducing the stigma and helping individuals who have a mental illness.  Join us!!  

Waiver Hearings & Next Steps

Arizona's Medicaid program (AHCCCS) has prepared its Section 1115 waiver package which will be presented at public forums as outlined in the schedule you can see here.   This is part of the process AHCCCS must complete before finally submitting its proposal to Center for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Following these August hearings, it is expected some revisions may take place before the "final" waiver package is sent to CMS.

Yes, there are opportunities for you to comment on the proposed changes.  You may, following these hearings, also submit written comments to AHCCCS, c/o Office of Intergovernmental Relations, 801 E. Jefferson Street, Mail Drop 4200, Phoenix, AZ 85034.  You'll also be able to comment to CMS; details on how will be published next month.

The Arizona Legislature has mandated that waivers be sought that:
  1. Institute a work requirement for all able-bodied adults receiving Medicaid (AHCCCS) services.
  2. Restrict benefits for able-bodied adults to a lifetime limit of five years that begins on the effective date of the waiver or amendment to the current Section 1115 Waiver.  The limit does not include any previous time a person received AHCCCS benefits.
  3. Develop and impose cost-sharing requirements with differing levels based on whether the patient was part of the expansion population or below 100% of poverty.  In addition, cost sharing for use of the ER for non-ER purposes will see a $25 fee imposed. 
  4. Discontinue non-emergency medical transportation services for adults in the expansion population (those above 100% FPL).
The actual waiver language has not yet been posted online, but you can find the summary here.  You may find the short You Tube video by Governor Ducey informative.  It is linked here.

MHA-AZ will be submitting comments and encourages each of you to do so.  This is an important opportunity for you to share your concerns and ideas.  We want to be assured the program remains viable and responsive to the needs of enrolled individuals and families.

This is an advocacy opportunity you should not miss!

What's Up With Congress?

(Here's news from Mental Health America on activities in Congress to keep you informed about what's on the radar screen for national public policy debates on mental health policy.)

This summer, a lot!! On August 4, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-TN) and Christopher Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015. While Mental Health America has not yet formally endorsed it or its House counterpart (H.R. 2646), we consider it another important step toward making comprehensive mental health reform a reality in America. Check out our press statement on the legislation and a Chiming In blog post by MHA president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo on the subject.

Last week, Republican John Cornyn of Texas introduced legislation that addresses issues with the current national background checks system by encouraging states, through the promise of federal funding, to send more information on mental health records to the national database. Cornyn's bill includes language on Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), which would "create a path" for people dealing with mental illness to be ordered into treatment by a judge without being involuntarily committed. It includes provisions supporting mental health courts and CIT training, too.  MHA has not endorsed the legislation, which has the support of the National Rifle Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). We have stated that we favor a system in which behavioral health EMTs, not police and sheriffs, respond to mental health crises. We think hospitals and health clinics-not jails and prisons-are sites of evaluation and stabilization, and that health professionals (including peers) and families-not lawyers and judges-work with individuals, once stabilized, to develop a plan of treatment and support.

Last month, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act, "a bill to continue and improve programs that help states and local communities in suicide prevention, helping children recover from traumatic events, mental health awareness for teachers and other individuals, and assessing barriers to integrating behavioral health and primary care." The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and is expected to be marked up in the coming weeks.

Time to sharpen your advocacy skills and get busy with letters, calls and e-mails to our Congressional delegation. 
Meet a Board Member

H. Clarke Romans, Ph.D., Executive Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona (NAMISA) in Tucson, Arizona, has served on the Board of Directors of Mental Health America of Arizona since February, 2012. Dr. Romans also serves on the Board of Directors for Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, Inc. (CPSA).

Clarke has been involved in mental illness advocacy since his son Kenneth was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1979.  Clarke served on the Board of Directors of Community Hope in Morris County, NJ, then as interim Executive Director of NAMI Arizona 2004-2005.  Clarke's son died in 2001.  Clarke is involved in advocacy organizations like MHA of Arizona and NAMI Southern Arizona because he believes that the stigma that plagued his son should be eliminated.

Mental Health America of Arizona wants to acknowledge the support of Janssen Pharmeutical Company for our activities.  Corporate support is key to assuring there's a voice in the community. 

We invite your participation and sharing of this newsletter by forwarding to your friends and colleagues.  If they wish to receive the newsletter, encourage them to simply click on the link here.  Let's share the word.  Time to get involved.
Eddie L. Sissons
Executive Consultant
Mental Health America of Arizona | | |