Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2 days left: Need to get SB 2804 to the floor.

This is all somewhat exciting, but I, for one, could use a bit less excitement in my life.  "An Act Relative to Mental Health" is still in Committee, and we need your help in getting it to the floor.  Click here to find out how to help.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Senate Passes Mental Health Parity

From the Children's Mental Health Campaign:
Yesterday, the Senate passed Mental Health Parity legislation that will expand coverage for substance abuse, PTSD, eating disorders, and Autism.  Language in the bill gives the DMH Commissioner authority to cover any other mental illnesses listed in the DSM. 
There are differences between the House and the Senate versions of the Parity legislation that will have to be worked out before the bill goes to the Governor. 
Please take a moment to call your State Senator and thank him or her for the Senate's action yesterday.  This is an important step forward for mental health in Massachusetts. 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Clock Is Ticking On Children's Mental Health - Your Help Needed!


An Act Relative To Children's Mental Health (SB 2804) needs you to act now.  The 2007-08 legislative session ends July 31.  The bill is awaiting action by the House.  Please take a minute to either call or email your State Representative and ask him or her to move the legislation to the House floor. 

Phone call in 3 easy steps:
1)  Identify your State Rep- Visit www.wheredoivotema.com, enter your home address, and look for "Rep in General Court". Click on the link to find his/her phone number.
2) Call and when the receptionist answers, ask to speak with your Representative. Most likely you will speak with an aide who will pass along your message to the Rep.
3) Deliver this message- "Please ask Chairman DeLeo (Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee) to move the Children's Mental Health bill (Senate Bill 2804) to the full House for a vote before next Thursday, July 31st! Please let me know whether the Representative will do this."

Click here to email your State Rep. The email text is already written. All you need to do is personalize the email, make sure your address is entered correctly, and click send.

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 2804 following an emotional news conference.  At the media event, Senate President Murray, Speaker DiMasi, Senator Tolman, and Representative Balser all spoke in support of the legislation and the need for comprehensive reform of the children's mental health system. 
The Senate passed the bill in memory of Yolanda Torres, a young woman who testified in support of the legislation in May 2007.  Tragically, Yolanda took her own life earlier this year.  Her mother, Mary Ann Tufts, spoke at the press conference, asking the legislature to make something meaningful out of this tragedy. 
The Children's Mental Health Bill (SB 2804), sponsored by Rep. Ruth Balser and Senator Steven Tolman, will improve the systems of care for children living with mental illness by:

  • screening children early to identify developmental, mental health and substance abuse needs;
  • giving schools the tools to identify and manage children with mental health needs;
  • implementing policies for fixing the "stuck kids" problem by ensuring that children are in the most appropriate and least restrictive setting; and,
  • improving communication among state agencies to ensure coordination of care.
Visit www.childrensmentalhealthcampaign.org for more information.

Mental Health Parity Pending Action By The Senate
The Mental Health Parity legislation that passed the House late last month (HB 4423) is awaiting action in the Senate.  This legislation also must be passed before the end of the legislative session on July 31 for it to become law this year. 
Phone calls to Senators are needed now.  Please call your State Senator and ask him or her to speak with Senate President Murray and ask her to bring the Mental Health Parity Bill to the Senate Floor before the end of the current session. 
Click here to find the contact information for your State Senator. 
Health Care For All | 30 Winter Street | Boston | MA | 02108

A Day in the Life: How Would the Reform Help Us in the Field?

Today, I see patients.  (As opposed to yesterday, when I was stirring about to see that most of Massachusetts is not so worried about children's mental health as an issue).  I want to blog my day, talking about how the CBHI and SB 2804 will affect what I do.
8:50 AM:  I come into phone calls.  A child psychologist note about one of my patients with anxiety disorder is on my desk for review- he outlines in messy handwriting (like I should talk!) what behavioral health interventions he has been able to do with a 12 year old patient of mine.  Interestingly, the psychologist has this tagged as 314 (ADHD) now, whereas three months ago, he had both anxiety disorder and ADHD listed.  We've talked meds in the past, this family and I, but are trying to avoid them.  Nice to get interdisciplinary communication.
9:10 AM:  Wrestled with the Electronic Medical Record, and got it to renew a prescription!   Many doctors are trying to make sense of these systems- the one we use is not bad, but has "quirks" that require insight and work-arounds that definitely slow up the day a little.  Of course, blogging the day slows one up a bit.  My 9 AM physicals (brothers in the first two slots) are still being checked in.
It is 11 PM now.  I really had every intention of blogging the day, but events just sort of took off.  Let me see if any of the stories stuck in my head:
- 13 physicals, with 8 PSCs and 5 PEDs, none of which were positive.  Including a young man who had been caught drinking by his folks, and a boy who's grades are dropping while he becomes increasingly oppositional.  I guess they don't have serious emotional disturbance, but it would be nice to be able to let them talk to a therapist once or twice to be sure that we are adequately addressing these things.
- A teem on antidepressants, who seems to be making remarkable progress.
- A toddler who doesn't talk but seems otherwise fine (letting EI ponder over that one).
All of this over the din of the Electronic Medical Record....
Actually, it was a calm day.  But, as always, mental health issues trumped the physical ones by a long shot.  School based MCPAP, better collaboration between psychiatrists and pediatricians would be a good thing.
Tired.  Off to the Falcon Ridge folk festival tommorrow.

Mental Health Reform: Is the Whole World Watching?

This blog gets about 9 hits per day, and very few comments.  I've been pretty happy with that-  I think that the people who need to hear about what is going on are doing so, and the blog has served as a place where I can put ideas "out there" for comment and observation.  It is, on the other hand, a bit troubling that we are undergoing a massive reform of the Children's Mental Health system in Massachusetts, and some days it seems that no one is noticing.

In my practice in Webster, one of every four patients has a mental health diagnosis, and has sought/is seeking treatment through either counseling or medication.  Last night, Governor Patrick came to Webster, to hear the concerns of the people of Webster.  It was a classic "Town meeting" in a town that does Town Meetings for real,  and he did a great job answering the questions.  What did he get asked?
  • How to save dairy farms?
  • How are we protected against terrorism?
  • What's up with "expanded learning time?
  • Can DPH improve staffing ratios (nurse/patient) at hospitals?
  • Water rights and global companies?
  • Beaver dams vs. human homes?
  • Fixing public housing infrastructure?
  • Encouraging alternative energy?
  • Saving local libraries?
All valid questions, all real concerns.  Mental health care services, however, did not percolate to the top of the list.  The Governor, by the way, was quick knowledgeable and facile in discussing all of these issues.

For the record, one of four of the children of the folks in that room interact with a a mental health system that is hard to access and use;  the CBHI and the related legislative effort is essential to making that system work.  Legislative session ends in 7 days.  Got some work to do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pediatricians and Children's Mental Health Reform

A colleague with whom I worked many years ago invited me to breakfast the other day, to find out what this "Rosie D" stuff is all about. She's an excellent pediatrician, in a very good group, who has always taken special care to attend to the psychological needs of her patients.  In short, she was one of the good guys.  
In her estimation, Rosie D made her job harder.  Patients were supposed to have time to fill in the screening forms before they saw the doctor-  sometimes they did, often they didn't.  The instruments were  similar to the screening regime in our office (PEDS under 5, MCHAT at 18 mon, PSC over 5), yet staff frequently gave patients the wrong screen, or the patients didn't complete it.  Interpreting a positive test was sometimes tricky, particularly with the PEDS, and most of the patients did not want to be referred to therapy.  And finally, the U1 and U2 codes were odd-  noone else asks us to do that.  She found the process unhelpful to patients, and that it added to her late nights poring over the electronic medical record.
My colleague saw the CBHI solely in terms of how it affected pediatric practice;  she knew nothing of CANS and CSAs and Mobile Teams and Wraparound and Parent Advocates.  When I explained to her the rest of the services that would be available in the next round of Rosie D settlement implementation, she was impressed by the scope of the effort.  She asked; "Do you think that it has a chance?"  She had been to the briefings and the trainings;  she hadn't read the newsletters and the circulars.  It really underscored to me how we really need to make sure that all of this change is put forward in context, so that people see it as a developmental process rather than an end in itself.

I wonder how many more good pediatricians are out there in the Commonwealth, seeing the CBHI as an extra administrative burden rather than as an oppportunity to expand our practice and better serve our patients.

Much depends on the House Ways and Means committee.  The bill, "An Act Relative to  Children's Mental Health" will help to codify the regulatory changes that will need to be made to let this happen.  It also depends on the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Studies.  The waiver is now out of our hands,  but we can do much for the children on our own.
 Speaker DiMasi, the time for this bill actually is NOW.  Thanks.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Catching up on "An Act Relative to Mental Health"

So, the record of the General Court online has been updated to show the bill has passed.  It changed numbers again (the version that passed was called SB 2804) and you can read the final text here.  It has now been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.  
It is interesting and really tedious to compare HB 4276 with SB 2518 and the SB 2804, the version that won the unanimous vote of approval;  I am certain that it will change further before final passage.  I recommend it only to the true policy mavens among my readers.  Like with the Rosie D. settlement, the devil is in the details.  What a monumentous task this thing has taken on, to try to create a system for parents that can produce some results for their children.  
 The bill is not yet on the Ways and Means Committee docket on the website.  I suspect it will appear sometime next week.  One hopes that they will be able to tend to this before adjournment.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

EOHHS Update: How Goes the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) announces the first in a series of provider-focused meetings to communicate current information about the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) and to provide all interested parties an opportunity to share their views on activities related to CBHI.  The meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 16, 2008, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Hoagland-Pincus Conference Center, 222 Maple Street, Shrewsbury, MA. The meeting will begin at 2:00 p.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. No registration is necessary. Attendance at the meeting is limited only by the space available. The EOHHS welcomes continued and meaningful input from all stakeholders and interested parties on the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative. Individuals and organizations unable to attend this meeting are encouraged to mail comments to:

Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
1 Ashburton Place – 5th floor
Boston, MA 02108

Got this in the "e-mail" the other day, and, since it is a local event, I thought I would sit in.  The room filled up pretty well, although I think that "provider" in this case means mental health provider.  I'm blogging live;  please remember that these are my impressions, and are subject to all of the biases that I bring with me to the table.  I may have things out of context, and I have definitely misspelled(sic) some names.  It is interesting to remember that the implementation of reform for children is preceding apace, independent of the legislative process over which I have been obsessing for the last few weeks.

Jackie Galb (Strategic Planning Consultant) opened and seemed to be the facilitator of the while process.   She described this as the first of a series of provider forums and family forums.  
Goals are the process are clear:
  • Share what we know
  • Clarify the process and timeline
  • Hear your ideas, questions and concerns
  • Establish an ongoing forum.

Overview of the Planning Process:  Emily Sherwood (Director, CBHI). The administration is looking at the lawsuit response as an opportunity to remake the nature of services for children, beyond the realm of MassHealth alone.  They have has an Executive Team (Leaders from within the administration), an Advisory Council (25 people from around the state) and the legal process (Plaintiffs, court monitor and federal Medicaid stuff).  The legal process is the one that is a bit different;  everything is a negotiation.  Much of the time pressure comes out of the negotiation.  This structure has made it tricky to incorporate much of the input from around the State;  they have done so through meetings, the RFR (and yes, all of that information has been processed and incorporated into the process through a series of position papers).  Given the constraints of the legal process, the CBHI is trying really hard to make this a broad-based and inclusive process.
CBHI Service Development, Suzanne Fields (Mass Medicaid).  The time clock is ticking;  all remedy services must be up and running by June 30, 2009.  They want providers to have 6 months to ramp up to provide the new programs.  They know that this will be complicated.  This has led to a time-line that is very short.  The other constraint is the approval of the new services by the Federal CMS, and need to be completed by December 2008.  This process is a window;  the negotiation will be done sometime between October and December.  To get through the CMS negotiations, the plaintiffs have to agree with what the remedy will look like by October.  
To meet all of these requirements, the Court Monitor (Karen Snyder) has brought in consultants to help both sides agree on a system that will work:
Feedback from Advisory Council and from the RFIs is actively involved in the information flow.
Current thoughts about the timeline for RFRs:
Intensive Care Coordination:  MBHP and 4 other service providers will procure ICC services.  RFR in October, awards in December.
Mobile Response Teams:  MBHP procurement with be part of the Emergency Services Program.   RFR in October, awards in December.
All other services:  Network Development and Provider Readiness Activities through the Managed Care Entities WITHOUT a specific RFR process.
There will be some "ramp-up" dollars available for agencies who are taking on these new roles.  They will also be providing some training for folks taking on the ICC and Home-based services, and they are actively involved in workforce development with the schools of social work and other training sites.  There will also be a CBHI Institute in October or November, whose intent is provide all interested providers in activities that will "level the playing field".
At this point, there were questions:  How much will the providers be paid?  How are the pieces going to fit together?  How will crisis stabilization interact with the emergency response parts of the system?   Will ICC services be able to support families to help the child?  How do the services play out for the kids transitioning out the "class"-  the 16-21 year olds?  Ms. Fields addressed them clearly, and directly, told us what she knows and what she doesn't yet know, and remained calm throughout the process.  
One key question that was raised is the younger kids:  they have convened a group called the "0-5 Working Group" to look at  how does one get services to kids who need them without labeling them.  
CANS Implementation: (Jack Simons, Associate Director) There are a lot of questions about the CANS, and there will be a lot more information over the next few months.  The assessment is already out there and people are starting to be trained.  He wanted to discuss three points:
1)  You can start using the CANS prior to the November 30, 2008 deadline, and that you must be trained (face-to-face) or on-line (but you need to register to use it) and you can bill at the enhanced rate when you do so.
2)  We will be using one of two forms (0-5) and (5-21) age range.  Training will get you through both.
3)  It is not clear how the "redundant" use of the CANS is playing out, as that is being negotiated  with the plaintiffs.
The examination is a scoring of a CANS assessment, to see how you compare to other "raters".

Integration Across State Agencies.  Department of Children and Families (formerly DSS) Bob Wentworth. DSS has changed its name.  I didn't know that.   "We are now the Department of Children and Families".  He pointed out that the CANS has been used within the old DSS, as a way of giving families a change to really tell their stories.   It has allowed DSS to move to a community of practice that included family strengths in the process.   He was initially pleased with the choice of the CANS for this new service, but quickly realized that this could end up with "too many CANS" in the system.  They are trying to match their version with the one being used by the CBHI.
Again, we broke for questions.  The opening question made one wonder what the overarching goal of of the program;  what is the end that you have in mind?  What are the outcomes that we have in mind?  They are thinking of system, community, family and child level outcomes;  how will this be integrated into the RFP process?  The questions quickly moved back to the functional:   how can you make this work?  Can our masters level interns do this sort of work?  What about the redundancy of entering the CANS into the Virtual Gateway and into their own EMR?  How is this process going to integrate with the DSS/DCF program of family-focused integrated levels of care?  How are we going to support the family team meetings?  (Medicaid can't pay for this)

Excellent session from our colleagues on the hot seat-  they gave us real insight into the process and details underlying the tremendous process that is laid out before us over the next 11 months.  There will be a similar meeting for families in August-  check out the CBHI website for details.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SB 2518 Passed the Senate. Unanimously.

According to "A Healthy Blog",  an Act Relative to Children's Mental Health  passed the Senate this afternoon and is making its way over to the House. Likely true, although the official Mass.gov website just says that it is going through the third reading.  16 days left in the session.  Time to get it through the House.

A Children's Agenda: Starting to Happen

I post this as a sign of things to come:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     
Tuesday, July 8, 2008                                      
Governor Patrick Signs Child Welfare Bill Into Law
Law establishes Office of the Child Advocate, Stiffens Penalties

BOSTON – Tuesday, July 08, 2008-- Governor Deval Patrick today signed into law a bill to reform the state’s child welfare system. Among the highlights of the bill is setting into statute the Office of the Child Advocate, which Governor Patrick created by Executive Order in 2007, increased penalties for mandated reporters who fail to report abuse, and free tuition and fees at state colleges and universities for certain foster children.
“This bill reinvigorates our child welfare system,” said Governor Patrick. “In addition to establishing in law our Office of the Child Advocate, it pushes all of us to do better by our children.”
The Child Advocate is empowered to investigate, review, monitor and evaluate critical incidents of child abuse or neglect. The Child Advocate is also authorized to review any agency investigation of a critical incident and conduct its own independent investigations, if needed. 
"There is no greater task before us than protecting the most vulnerable and, with this law, we will help establish the right framework to better handle the most disturbing cases and hopefully prevent them from even happening," said House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. "This bill is the result of two years of investigations, detailed analysis and study and I commend my colleagues for their commitment to seeing it through to this important day."
“This new law represents comprehensive reform of the Commonwealth’s child welfare services and will have immediate impact on the safety of our children,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “It provides increased oversight and accountability, and incorporates best practices from agencies across the nation, giving us the tools to better prevent tragedies and make sure that children grow up in happy, healthy and safe environments.”
Among the provisions of the bill are:
Extended services for those in foster care between the ages of 18 and 22 who would have ordinarily “aged out” of the system. Foster care children will also be eligible to receive tuition and fee waivers at all state colleges and community colleges.

Increased penalties for people who work with children and fail to report instances of suspected child abuse—so called mandated reporters—in two ways. The penalty for filing a frivolous report increases from $1,000 to $2,000 for a first offense, and authorizes imprisonment for a subsequent offense.  It also increases the penalty for willfully failing to file a report of child abuse that results in serious harm or death to a child from $1,000 to $5,000, and two and half years in prison. 
Establishment of a foster care registry to track the success of foster parents in the state system. The system can search for relatives or other adult individuals who have positively influenced a child’s life.

Change in the name of the Department of Social Services to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and targeting issues of racial inequality within the department.
Establishment of a commission to study the status of grandparents raising their grandchildren.
The opening of court proceedings for end-of-life treatment of certain children in DCF custody to the public, requiring the submission of written expert opinions to the court, clarifying the DCF commissioner’s role in determining the agency’s recommendation, allowing for the recommendation of the child’s parent or guardian and appointment of a guardian ad litem on behalf of the child; and allowing for an interlocutory appeal of these end-of-life court orders.
A mandated review by the Department of Children and Families after three abuse and neglect reports on a family in three months or in one year, and requires review results to be submitted to the local district attorney, local law enforcement and the child advocate.
Establishment of an interagency child welfare taskforce that the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services will chair to coordinate and streamline services to children and families who are receiving services.
A requirement that social workers who are employed by the Department of Children and Families have a bachelor’s degree, and supervisors have a master’s degree.
In addition to the responsibilities previously set forth in Governor Patrick’s December 2007 Executive Order, the child welfare bill grants the Child Advocate subpoena power and establishes confidentiality protections for any individual working for or assisting the Child Advocate in any investigation.
“Our responsibility and commitment to the children and families we serve is at the heart of the work of our agencies,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “With these new powers and responsibilities, the Child Advocate will be better able to further strengthen our work on behalf of children across the Commonwealth.”
In March, Governor Patrick named Judge Gail Garinger as the state’s first Child Advocate. After several years in private practice, Judge Garinger was appointed to the Juvenile Court in 1995.  In 2001, Chief Justice Martha Grace appointed Judge Garinger First Justice of the Juvenile Court in Middlesex County, the largest county in the Commonwealth. In that capacity, Judge Garinger coordinated six judges and oversaw 25 sessions at four different court sites in Cambridge, Framingham, Lowell and Waltham. She worked with the Clerk Magistrate, the Chief of Probation and all levels of court personnel in an effort to provide fair and respectful justice to the juveniles and their families who appear in the courts.





Monday, July 14, 2008

“This is politics at its best”: Mental Health Bill Vote Tomorrow in the Senate

This afternoon, I joined about 200 people in the Senate Reading Room on the 3rd floor of the State House to hear Mary Lou Sudders announce that S.B. 2518 was reported out of committee and is on its way to the Senate floor for a vote.  She was joined in the this announcement by the leadership of the House and the Senate, along with the bills co-sponsors and the mother of Yolanda Tufts, who spoke eloquently on the importance of the bills.  Senate President Murray is planning to consider the bill on the floor of the Senate tomorrow.  Speaker Dimasi nodded when assertions of rapid movement through the house, and all were amazed.  This, AND mental health parity in the same week?  What is going on, here?
The answer, it seems, is politics at its best.  It isn't pretty, as was the original bill.  It isn't as comprehensive.  But, with any luck, soon it will be passed.
So, what does the latest version of SB 2518 do for us?
1)  Establishing who is in charge and lines of communication:  In treating children with mental illness, we need to talk to each other.  The bill calls on the Secretary of EOHHS to establish interagency collaboration through regular meetings of the various parts of the State government that deal with child mental illness, including those outside of EOHHS.  That group will provide updates to an appointed child behavioral health council for  external oversight and will set up regional interagency teams for kids with serious problems (the SED kids that are the subject of the Rosie D case).  All of these things are designed to override the roadblocks faced by families seeking services.
2)  Expanding access:  Insurers will provide coverage for a wider range of services, "a range of inpatient, intermediate, and outpatient services that permit medically necessary and active and non-custodial treatment for said mental disorders to take place in the least restrictive clinically appropriate setting and, for persons under 19 years of age."  Coupled with the Mental Health Parity Bill, this should encourage insurers to provide a broader range of services than are usually available.
3)  Early detection:  EOHHS will convene a working group to develop a plan for screening (kind of already done, under Medicaid) and school-based referral of children with behavioral and mental health problems.  Early childhood interventions are this mix as well, as is the school-based MCPAP program.
What is interesting to me is that Mental Health Parity, which was a part of the original bill, was separated into HR 1871 a while ago, and has passed the House.  So if HR 1871 passes the Senate and SB 2518 passed the House, we will have really affected change in the Commonwealth.
Yolanda Tuft's mother said it best, if I actually caught her words:  "Last year, Yolanda told us, as only one who is in the system can, that our current system is broken. The psychiatrists are too few, the therapists too often are unqualified, the insurance companies are uncaring, the medications are untried, educators are often ignorant, and the stigma is too great. This must change."  We need to get these bill through the Governor's desk to make this happen.

1)  Watch for the Senate vote.
2)  Watch for the House vote.
3)  Thank your representatives for their support.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why we need a system: ERs are not the best access point

So, I was perusing the net and found this from the Boston Globe (this was a post begun a while ago and never completed).  It seems that, despite lots of good intentions, the Emergency Room is still a lousy way to access the mental health system.  I think that this pretty clearly demonstrates that "I need it now" is a terrible way to allocate beds within our current system.  I was especially troubled by the "child transported from school scenario", in which an "out of control" child is taken from school to EMH, and found to need hospitalization.  Would the same transfer happen if the child were at home?  Do we avoid this problem by having school out for the summer?

We need a system soon.  Let's get the legislation through so that we can use the CBHI to implement it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Things are in motion

I've been clinically engaged since my return, but I have some news to share from the Children's Mental Health Campaign:

CMH Event on July 14 at the State House
On Monday, July 14 at 2:30 pm, there will be an event in the Senate Reading Room (3rd floor of the State House) in anticipation of action on SB 2518, An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health, by the Senate the next day. 
Individuals scheduled to speak at the event include Senate President Murray, Speaker DiMasi, Senator Steven Tolman, Representative Ruth Balser, and Mary Ann Tufts who will speak about her experience as a parent of children with mental illness.  We are expecting broad media coverage. 
The event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.  Please feel free to forward this email to your networks. 
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Matt Noyes at 617-275-2939 or mnoyes@hcfama.org. 

Also, in the "it's nice to have friends in high places" department, I was please to read Roslyn Carter's ringing endorsement in the Globe yesterday:  I hope that it is really heard.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back from Budapest, and Into the Fray


TO: Interested Parties
RE: Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Provider Meetings

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) announces the first in a series of provider-focused meetings to communicate current information about the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) and to provide all interested parties an opportunity to share their views on activities related to CBHI.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 16, 2008, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Hogland-Pincus Conference Center, 222 Maple Street, Shrewsbury, MA. The meeting will begin at 2:00 p.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. No registration is necessary. Attendance at the meeting is limited only by the space available.

Tentative Agenda

2:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
2:10 p.m. Update on Implementation Schedule for CBHI
2:30 p.m. Communication Plan for Providers and Stakeholders
3:00 p.m. Update on CANS Implementation
3:30 p.m. Q & A
3:55 p.m. Next Steps
4:00 p.m. Adjourn

The EOHHS welcomes continued and meaningful input from all stakeholders and interested parties on the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative. Individuals and organizations unable to attend this meeting are encouraged to mail comments to:

Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
1 Ashburton Place – 5th floor
Boston, MA 02108

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