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NAMI NM Position Paper - 2009 Legislative Session

This paper establishes the position of NAMI New Mexico on proposed 2009 Mental Health legislation as of Feb. 24, 2009.  Although there are many behavioral health bills, this paper focuses on those dealing with mental illness.

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country.  NAMI-NM oversees ten NAMI affiliates. It is estimated that mental illness affects 1 in 5 families in America.  Statistically there are about 38,000 (2%) seriously mentally ill people in New Mexico.

NAMI is opposed to any decrease in critical resources for those living with mental illnesses.  This includes acute inpatient care, outpatient care, Medicaid, and supportive housing and employment.   In general, NAMI’s position is that we must

  • stop and/or replace the losses of psychiatric inpatient facilities,
  • attract and retain psychiatric professionals in the state,
  • increase early detection and targeted intervention techniques including peer therapists (patients in recovery),
  • increase transitional living arrangements and group homes,
  • increase supportive employment of those living with mental illnesses, and
  • continue the growth of jail diversion programs throughout the state.

These objectives have guided NAMI’s decisions on proposed legislation.  New Mexico is last in the nation in spending on behavioral health per capita which indicates the lack of resources throughout the system.  The issue of availability of resources has been only a part of the decision process.  Our primary concern has been the welfare of the client and family dealing with mental illnesses.

Lobbyist authorized to represent NAMI NM:

  • Becky Beckett
  • James (Jim) Ogle
  • Albert (Bert) Dugan, MD
  • Lorette Enochs


Becky Beckett (President NAMI NM)    


James W. Ogle (Chairman NAMI NM Legislative Committee)


NAMI’s Position (24 February 2009)


Description of Request

NAMI Position

HB 32: (Cote) Behavioral Health Quick Response Teams

Support with modification - We support a quick response team that consists of a CIT plainclothes officer, at least one trained peer support specialist or community health care worker, a licensed behavioral health professional, and a paramedic.

HB 35: (Begaye) Native American Teen Mental Health Program

Support – Implements a Native American adolescent health program focusing on mental health and teen suicide prevention.

HB 41: (Rehm) - Excepting Insurance Adjusters from the medical practice act

Oppose – this would be detrimental to the consumer.

HB 161: (O’Neill) Powers of guardians clarified


HB 192: (Chasey) Prescription Drug Prior Authorization Process

Support -Relates to HB 232, HB 233, HB 243, SB 40, SB 82, SB 129

HB 203: (Martinez) Expands rural health care practitioner tax credit

Support – Incentive for attracting and retaining social workers in rural areas.

HB 212: (Chasey) Guilty but mentally ill: Repeal.

Support - “Guilty but mentally ill” is a legal fiction since a person living with a mental illness is not given treatment under this court determination.

HB 221: (Picraus) Behavioral health screening & intervention


HB229: (Picraus) Health-related program funding


HB 282: (Heaton) Therapeutic Alternative Drug Substitution

Oppose - Real concern doctors can check box on script to say substitute ok.  These drugs have different chemical make up and could cause other health problems.

HB 361: (Maestas, A.) Oversight of guardianship office


HB 370: (Giannini) Psychologist licensure

Support – it maintains uniform standards.

HB 398: (Begaye) Eastern Navajo agency behavioral programs


HB 477: (Giannini) Therapist background checks


HB 523: (Varela) Behavioral health Collaborative services

Oppose – Changes statute to mandate a program.  Programs need to go through budget and appropriation processes.

HB 537: (Cote) Safe House Act

Support – benefits consumers in a less restrictive environment.

HB 751: (Giannini) Insurance coverage for some health conditions (BH, DD, Autism)

Support – Covers autism disorder and takes advantage of national parity legislation for BH.

HB 829: (Cote) Create safe house crisis fund

Support – Novel method of funding  infrastructure

HB 866: (Maestas, A.) Criminal record expungement act

Support – Suggest bill be split into three laws to facilitate passage.

HJM 13: (Trujillo) Local health care for veterans


HJM 46: (Vaughn) Behavioral health residential care licensure


HJM 65: (A. Lujan) Social worker demand & education study

Support - Addresses the lack of social workers in New Mexico

SB 8: (McSorley) Drug Court expansion & creation

Support - hopefully dual diagnoses are addressed in drug court

SB 20: (Papen) Regional Housing Authority Consolidation

Support – Benefits consumers in recovery.  It’s been proven that housing is instrumental in reducing recidivism/relapse.

SB 31 (Cisneros) Tesuque Pueblo Human Services Programs

Support - includes MH and relates to SB543, SB 545, HB 398

SB 40: (Feldman) Prescription drug donation

Support – recognize the needs and the risk.

SB 66: (Papen) Dona Ana crisis triage services

Support – benefits consumers and the community

SB 125: (Wirth) Appropriations for mental health courts

Support – funding for 1st, 11th, & 13th judicial districts.  Important component of jail diversion programs

SB 135: (Ortiz y Pino) Monitoring guardianships and conservatorships

Support – The guardianship system will be improved, including treatment guardians

SB 147: (Beffort) Extend emergency detention

Oppose – People in crisis should be taken to hospitals, not jails.  Likelihood of treatment is remote unless the consumer voluntarily accepts treatment.  Furthermore, smaller jurisdictions do not have medical personnel to evaluate and treat those with mental illnesses.  NAMI recommends an amendment to have sheriff transport to a treatment facility within 24 hours.  We support SJM 35.

SB 172: (Lopez) Interim human services committee


SB 178: (Morales) Mental health and civil commitments

Support – does not substantively change the commitment laws.

SB 199: (Beffort) Rural health telemedicine network

Support - The state should support tele-health infrastructure and the medical personnel necessary to deliver mental health care to rural New Mexico.

SB 238: (Ortiz y Pino)Direct behavioral health services

Oppose – More time is needed to determine the effectiveness of the statewide entity system.

SB 242: (Feldman) Legislative health committee


SB 256: (Keller) Health impact information added to LFC evaluations


SB 286: (Feldman) Enhanced health care delivery in rural areas


SB 325: (Ingle) Medicaid reimbursement rate increases


SB 381: (Morales) Grant county jail diversion

Support – continuation of previously federally fund jail diversion for Grant, Luna and Hidalgo counties.

SB 473: (Beffort) Behavioral Health Collaborative services

Oppose – Changes statute to mandate a program.  Programs need to go through budget and appropriation processes.

SB 481: (Beffort) Behavioral Health Collaborative services

Oppose – See SB 473

SB 543: (Lovejoy) Eastern Navajo agency health programs


SB 545 (Pinto) Eastern Navajo agency behavioral health


SB 605: (Rue) Transport of mentally ill in certain cases

Supportstrengthens jail diversion option for police

SJM 26: (Papen) Behavioral health services delivery report

Support – result is a periodic report on the performance of the state behavioral health system

SJM 35: (Papen) Mental health disorder needs and services

Support – This joint memorial should develop a statewide strategic plan for serving those with mental health disorders and in crisis.  It should define the role of jails, if any role (SB 147 controversy)

SJM 53: (Papen) Psychotic mental illness early intervention

Support – urges discussions to determine a system of care for those with poor insight into their mental illness.

SJR 12: (Morales) Qualified elector language

Support – this is very archaic, offensive, and stigmatizing language.

SM 13: (Sapien) Assess behavioral health services

Support – Urges a statewide strategic plan for BH

SM 31: (Ortiz y Pino) Acupuncture for post-traumatic stress

Supportmoves us forward in cost effective methods to treat PTSD


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