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Public Policy Update

July 22, 2015
Chris Bouneff, Executive Director

Greetings, NAMI Oregon public policy followers --

We're overdue for a debrief of the legislative session that ended earlier this month. Unfortunately, the session had not yet come to a conclusion by the time I departed for a scheduled vacation, which explains the delay.

We'll have a more diversified update next week and focus this week on the one topic I've been repeatedly asked about since I returned on Monday -- NAMI's housing bill.

As you may recall, House Bill 2825 and funding for mental health housing was our No. 1 policy priority this session. HB 2825 made it through its legislative policy committee but ultimately didn't pass out of the Ways and Means Committee.

While that's a minor disappointment, here's the good news. In the waning days, the Legislature approved $20 million in new bonds dedicated to construction of new housing for individuals living with mental illness and/or addictions.

That's right -- $20 million!

It's a huge, huge investment. Unprecedented in my 11 years of involvement in NAMI advocacy. A lot of details still need to be sorted before we really know what this money will do. Still, as an advocate, you can't help but smile.

In summary, here's what a we got:

  • $20 million for new housing dedicated to individuals living with mental illness or addictions. The money is allocated to Housing and Community Services (HCS), which is the state's affordable housing agency.
  • The agency is directed to work with the Oregon Health Authority, which in turn is directed to continue to work with NAMI Oregon and the Oregon Residential Providers Association (ORPA). NAMI and ORPA were the organizations behind HB 2825.
  • The money is allocated for 2015-17. But lawmakers realized that it may take longer than a single biennium to get the money out the door. Any remaining money can roll over into 2017-19, giving us four years to develop projects across Oregon.

Here's what we still need to work on:

  • Engaging with Housing and Community Services to ensure that a good share of that $20 million is awarded following NAMI's concept for a Housing Development Incentive Fund as envisioned in HB 2825. (For a summary of NAMI's concept, please surf here.)
  • Engaging with a wide array of stakeholders and regions to ensure that all Oregon communities have a chance to compete for incentive funding.

There are still a lot of details to work out. In the bill authorizing the $20 million, there is one paragraph that sets the direction for that funding. But it doesn't go into the level of detail that HB 2825 did. So our work will continue.

Many thanks to the NAMI members and allies who sent emails, made phone calls, and visited with legislators. Your advocacy this session and over the years made possible this impressive investment in new housing.

As always, please feel free to shoot any comments or questions my way.

Thanks,

Chris

------------------
National Alliance on Mental Illness

Chris Bouneff
Executive Director
NAMI Oregon
4701 SE 24th Suite E
Portland, OR 97202
503-230-8009 ext. 202
fax 503-230-2751
chris@namior.org 
www.namior.org 

Join Us on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/NAMIOregon 

 

2014 Public Policy Survey Results

NAMI member and allies overwhelmingly picked housing as their top priority in our recent public policy priorities survey. Click here to read the results and summary of the survey, which will be discussed at June's public policy meeting.

NAMI Oregon Releases Health Transformation Guide

Many Oregonians may still be puzzled by the term "health transformation," but the changes forthcoming in Oregon's Medicaid system could vastly improve health care in our state or just be another shot in the dark that fails to hit its intended target. NAMI Oregon has long advocated for an integrated health care system that focuses on individual and family health. To that end, NAMI Oregon is pleased to issue its "Policy Guide to Health Transformation and Integration in Oregon" that collects all of NAMI's various positions on health care transformation into one document. This will serve as our guiding vision for our advocacy on health care reform.

Please see previous Public Policy Updates below.

Previous Public Policy Updates

Stay involved with us - sign up for our e-news and legislative alerts, and click the links below to view minutes from Public Policy Committee meetings.

Tell us your story - if you have a personal story that illustrates the need for changes in statewide mental health policy and you would like to become an advocate for policy improvement, complete our Advocate Information Form and return it to us today.

HIPAA Privacy Rule Clarification

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a clarification on when it is appropriate for mental health care providers to share information protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, especially with family members and loved ones. The HIPAA Privacy Rule allows for health care providers to share information about a patient's care with family members not only when permission has been expressly granted, but also in circumstances when the patient may be unable to grant permission but the provider deems sharing information will be in the patient's best interest. For details, read the HIPPA Privacy Rule guidance.

Communication Checklists

Communication between care providers and family members of patients seeking treatment for mental illness improves the quality of care and reduces the risk of suicide for these patients. While confidentiality is a fundamental component of a therapeutic relationship, misunderstandings by clinicians about the limitations created by HIPAA, FERPA, and state laws for preserving confidentiality has caused unnecessary concern regarding disclosure of relevant clinical information. 

To address this deficit of communication, the Oregon Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a checklist for mental health providers in 2012.  The authors, Dr. Stewart Newman and Jerry Gabay (NAMI Oregon Board Member), have created a companion checklist to help families seek information from providers. Click here to view both the provider checklist and the family member checklist.


Related Files

Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - August 2010 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - September 2010 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - November 2010 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - February 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - March 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - April 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - May 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - October 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - November 2011 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - January 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - February 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - March 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - June 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - August 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - November 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - December 2012 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - January 2013 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - March 2013 (PDF File)
Public Policy Committee meeting minutes - December 2013 (PDF File)
Advocate Information Form (Word Document)
June 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
July 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
October 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
November 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
December 2011 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
January 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
February 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
March 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
May 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
August 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
October 2012 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
February 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
March 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
April 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
July 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
December 2013 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
January 2014 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
March 2014 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
October 2014 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
January 2015 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
CCO Basics Fact Sheet (PDF File)
CCOs By County (PDF File)
DOJ Civil Agreement (PDF File)
2013 Legislative Priorities (PDF File)
Housing Bill Summary (PDF File)
Budget Fact Sheet (PDF File)
Medication Access Fact Sheet (PDF File)
Human Services and Housing Committee list (PDF File)
2014 Public Policy Survey (PDF File)
State Budget (PDF File)
Medical Access House Bill 2421 (PDF File)
Housing Funding House Bill 2825 (PDF File)
February 2015 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
Housing Fund Testimony (PDF File)
February 27, 2015 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
March 2015 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
April 2015 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
May 4, 2015 Public Policy Update (PDF File)
May 22, 2015 Public Policy Update (PDF File)

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