2013 Lege Wrap-Up: Mental Health

/, Mental Health, Texas Legislature/2013 Lege Wrap-Up: Mental Health
Katharine Ligon

Mental health has received a lot of well-deserved attention this legislative session after the recent violent tragedies in our nation.  Texas legislators deserve praise for recognizing that all Texans benefit from a stronger mental health system with increased funds for prevention and better access to services. Of the more than 250 bills related to mental health filed this session, I focused on a number of bills that move the state forward in preventing and treating mental illness, assist communities in addressing their local needs and improve the outcome of individuals of all ages with mental illness.  Although numerous mental-health-related bills passed, I would like to tell you about one in particular – HB 2625 by Rep. Garnet Coleman (SB 1912 by Sen. Sylvia Garcia), which was included as an amendment to two different bills that passed.  This legislation revises the clinical criteria for adults to receive public mental health services at the local mental health centers.

Currently, Texas law (as the result of HB 2292 in 2003) mandates that state dollars can only fund mental health services for individuals who are medically indigent and meet the target population criteria.  To receive services, an adult must have at least one of the “Big 3 diagnoses”–schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorders.  The door to community-based outpatient services has been closed for adults with other mental illness diagnoses (e.g., PTSD and other Anxiety Disorders). Therefore, these individuals only get services when in crisis: in the emergency rooms and through crisis services via the local mental health center.  Crisis services are only temporary, do not provide continuous care, and are very costly to our local communities.

Rep. Coleman’s bill created two tiers of criteria to receive adult outpatient services in the local mental health centers. The first tier is the current law, serving those adults with the Big 3 using funds appropriated.  A new second tier permits the centers to also provide clinically appropriate treatment services, with available resources, to adults with mental illnesses when their psychological, social, and occupational functioning deteriorates.  The intent is to ensure that all individuals with mental illnesses, regardless of a specific diagnosis, are able to access services.  This legislation opens the door to providing continuous and comprehensive outpatient behavioral health services for adults who today are cycling through the crisis system because they do not have the “right” diagnosis.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

3 Comments

  • They are refusing to treat my son at The burke Center in Livingston. He has been diagnosis with major depression and The Burke Center refuses to treat him or even assist him in any way. I to have major depression and receiving “so-called” services. The extra burden of trying to keep my son feed and safe and out of harms way has caused great harm on myself. My case worker has told The Burke Center that she has free time and she could provide services to my son also but The Burke Center refuses to allow her to help in any way Even though my condition is worsening and I am accumulating debt and over drafting at my bank trying to feed my son and trying (but failing) to keep up with the extra utility bills. So a bill that gives these mental health centers the option to use the extra money to treat others patients, along with the big 3 patients, is worthless when The Burke Center can’t even provide services to “The Big 3” clients. I went into the Burke center the other Day at 2 pm and the doctor had already gone home for the day and all but one case worker came to work that day. It was my case worker but she was not there she was in class for her schooling. Currently The Burke Center has numerous (Big 3) individuals on what they call a waiting list and they are forcing other (Big 3) patients to support, provide services to, and house other adult Big 3 disabled individuals. So Yippie and zippitie do da I will stop by the woods here in Livingston and tell some more of the BIG 3 disabled Americans living in those woods the legislature is sending the Calvary.

    Kirk 21.06.2013
  • You see The Burke Center keeps firing their case workers after they get the education required to become licensed. If they would keep those who can be licensed then The Burke Center could bill the insurance companies and Medicare. But instead there is no-one in the burke center who has a LICENSE so the insurance companies can refuse to pay for the services. That takes away from the Grant money and causes it to be spent on “clients who can other wise provide payment for these services and leaves others out in the cold wet woods. My case worker is just days away from completing thee requirements to get her license she will soon be let go. So all the Grant money spent to get her a license is all for nought she will be forced to go else where just like all the other case workers. Even though most all of them needed to go but that is beside the point. But it is because The Burke Center tells them they really don’t have to provide the services any way. You if they have no license they have no duty. But a license places them under scrutiny of the Board. Which also puts The Burke Center under the hot lights. The only Legislation that might help is to give the patients/clients at the very least the protection of The Board and the only way that’s going to happen is to require that these mental health centers have licensed health care professionals and Psychologists on the premises and not chase them away. As it is now The Burke Center is not even on any State record as being a Mental Health Center. The only license The Burke Center holds is a Family Counseling License. That is so they can do the marriage counseling. Basically it it comes from a bill passed a few years ago to rob more money out of TANF Grant Money. Which states basically that AT LEAST 10% of the TANF money shall be used to create and maintain a website so that Marriage counselors can register. Those who pay for the counseling can request a reduction in the Marriage application fee (which also increased per the bill). This was The Legislatures brilliant attempt to promote healthy marriages. I know at least four couples that have married recently and none of them where even notified of this website or even the option to take the marriage course. (Yes some of them receive Welfare). I have been a PATIENT at the burke Center for many years. The Burke Center has no licenses or permits for any thing MENTALLY related er go There is no office/agency or board to complain to, so there is no record of the chaos in These Mental Health Centers so there will never be any real change for the better. Now The Federal Website states that The Burke Center IN LIVINGSTON is a 24 hr a day emergency clinic with temporary beds and They accept walk ins. Some one needs to tell that to The Texas Legislature and The Burke Center. Just one example; Recently The Doctor at the burke center committed me. I was handcuffed and transported across 3 county lines and more than a dozen emergency and phyc hospitals and placed in a hospital over 100 miles away from The Burke Center. That Hospital had a license and permits. When I got out I made a complaint and 85 people working in that hospital was hand cuffed and took to jail. So why do these mental health clinics and their workers not have to have a license?

    Kirk 21.06.2013
  • You see The Burke Center keeps firing their case workers after they get the education required to become licensed. If they would keep those who can be licensed then The Burke Center could bill the insurance companies and Medicare. But instead there is no-one in the burke center who has a LICENSE so the insurance companies can refuse to pay for the services. That takes away from the Grant money and causes it to be spent on “clients who can other wise provide payment for these services and leaves others out in the cold wet woods. My case worker is just days away from completing thee requirements to get her license she will soon be let go. So all the Grant money spent to get her a license is all for nought she will be forced to go else where just like all the other case workers. Even though most all of them needed to go but that is beside the point. But it is because The Burke Center tells them they really don’t have to provide the services any way. You if they have no license they have no duty. But a license places them under scrutiny of the Board. Which also puts The Burke Center under the hot lights. The only Legislation that might help is to give the patients/clients at the very least the protection of The Board and the only way that’s going to happen is to require that these mental health centers have licensed health care professionals and Psychologists on the premises and not chase them away. As it is now The Burke Center is not even on any State record as being a Mental Health Center. The only license The Burke Center holds is a Family Counseling License. That is so they can do the marriage counseling. Basically it it comes from a bill passed a few years ago to rob more money out of TANF Grant Money. Which states basically that AT LEAST 10% of the TANF money shall be used to create and maintain a website so that Marriage counselors can register. Those who pay for the counseling can request a reduction in the Marriage application fee (which also increased per the bill). This was The Legislatures brilliant attempt to promote healthy marriages. I know at least four couples that have married recently and none of them where even notified of this website or even the option to take the marriage course. (Yes some of them receive Welfare). I have been a PATIENT at the burke Center for many years. The Burke Center has no licenses or permits for any thing MENTALLY related er go There is no office/agency or board to complain to, so there is no record of the chaos in These Mental Health Centers so there will never be any real change for the better. Now The Federal Website states that The Burke Center IN LIVINGSTON is a 24 hr a day emergency clinic with temporary beds and They accept walk ins. Some one needs to tell that to The Texas Legislature and The Burke Center. Just one example; Recently The Doctor at the burke center committed me. I was handcuffed and transported across 3 county lines and more than a dozen emergency and phyc hospitals and placed in a hospital over 100 miles away from The Burke Center. That Hospital had a license and permits. When I got out I made a complaint and 85 people working in that hospital was hand cuffed and took to jail. So why do these mental health clinics and their workers not have to have a license? So there will be no one to complain too.

    Kirk 21.06.2013

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.