for Mental Health Advocacy Day, March 12th
the section on this page about the Grassroots Advocacy Network and
consider submitting your application.
download the following issue papers to get acquainted with
current mental health issues.
Grassroots Advocacy Network:
Kansas Voices for Mental Healt
NAMI Kansas is partnering with
the Kansas Mental Health Coalition to expand the opportunities for
mental health advocacy for Kansans. This project is for you if:
- You have an interest in being part of a
visionary project designed to impact policy decisions about mental
- You are an individual living with mental
illness, a family member, a service provider, or an advocate with an
interest in mental health policy.
- You are looking to be engaged as a
leader working with state and local policy makers.
- You understand the urgency of addressing
the mental health needs of Kansans and the costs to individuals and
communities for untreated mental illness.
- You are looking to grow your advocacy
skills and your influence with policy makers.
The project is
described in more detail in the downloadable project
description. We are seeking to
recruit and train mental health advocates from among consumers, family
members, service providers and others interested in the mental health
field to build a statewide network of legislative district advocates
to influence public policy through their state and local elected
officials. The project will be an ongoing activity of the Coalition.
Advocates will establish
relationships with elected officials at the local level and will receive
key mental health policy updates and action alerts. They will partner
with local mental health groups to expand the number of individuals who
are contacting policymakers.
Training events in locations
around the state will be scheduled on an annual basis. Resources will be
available to defray registration and travel costs for those who cannot
otherwise afford to participate.
Please be aware that this
advocacy training is practice-based and requires that participants be
willing to write and share their experience with mental illness and
recovery from their perspective as a consumer, family member, provider
the application for participation in Kansas
Voices. Click here for
a link to identify your elected officials.
consider whether this opportunity is for you and anyone else you may
know who might consider being a part of the project. Thank you for
helping us to spread the word and to recruit applicants for the
Grassroots Advocacy Network: Kansas Voices for Mental Health.
Contact Rick Cagan at 785-233-0755 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
here for contact information about your elected officials
and to send them a message about current issues at the state or federal
Health Insurance Parity
Is your group health plan in compliance
with the federal parity law? Mental health parity is the
recognition of mental health conditions as equivalent to physical
illnesses. Historically, many health insurance companies limited benefits
for mental health to a much lower level than those available for physical
conditions. With the passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) mental health
parity is the law of the land. We need your help to make compliance
with the federal parity law a reality. it is important that
the federal agencies charged with enforcement of parity protections hear
from persons with mental illness and family members about their experience
in confronting ongoing practices in health insurance and limitations that
apply only to mental health benefits that are likely violations of MHPAEA.
Parity violations include plans more strictly managing or denying
mental illness treatment services more than other services covered by the
plan. More information may be found at http://parityispersonal.org/
What can I do to help?
Persons with mental illness and family members are urged to email parity
violation stories to both the Departments of Labor and Health and Human
Services. NAMI encourages stories to be reported by both persons with
mental illness and families that are still struggling to access
non-discriminatory coverage for mental illness treatment services. Be
sure to tell your personal story and attach any relevant documents (if
available) such as a denial letter, summary of benefits or other
materials provided by the health plan. Following are some
examples of common problems with parity that other providers or consumers
1. Outpatient sessions are being limited
by utilization review (also known as medical necessity review) and this is
not being done for medical and surgical conditions.
2. Provider reimbursement rates are too
low, so the provider has to offer services out-of-network and the patient
has to pay a higher out of pocket for their treatment.
3. The insurance company has labeled
treatments as “experimental” and therefore are refusing to pay for those
treatments, leaving the patient to pay 100% out of pocket, or go without.
4. The insurance company says that a plan
does not cover residential treatment or intensive outpatient care.
5. The insurance company says that a plan
does not cover inpatient or residential treatment unless it is provided in
an acute care hospital, but most of the treatment providers are
non-hospital based facilities.
6. A patient has requested from their
insurance company the reason why they have been denied care and the
insurance company does not respond to requests for further information, or
they refuse information about what they do for medical and surgical care,
or they refer the patient to an enormous website that is confusing or hard
Send your email to:
Be sure to send a copy of your message to
To download a sample email and phone
script in Microsoft Word go here: http://bit.ly/NAMIParity
A thorough study of the barriers to achieving parity in
mental health benefits for those with private insurance coverage was
completed in 2006 by a Task Force of the Governor’s Mental Health
Services Planning Council. Click
here to download a copy of the report.
A major obstacle to
getting true parity in mental health benefits for those with private
insurance is the lack of official complaint data at the Kansas Insurance
Department (KID) from policy holders who have been denied
adequate, appropriate, or timely treatment. NAMI Kansas encourages
consumers and family members to make formal complaints through
appropriate channels and we encourage providers to encourage their
clients in this regard. Please consider sharing a copy of your
complaint with NAMI Kansas so that we might better represent the needs
of policy holders on this issue.”
To initiate a complaint with KID,
you may click on the following link to the website at the Insurance
Commissioner’s office: http://www.ksinsurance.org/consumers/complaint.htm
You may also put your concerns in
writing and address them to the KID using the following contact
Kansas Insurance Department
420 SW 9th Street
Topeka, KS 66612-1678
Free: 1 (800) 432-2484