Saturday, August 22, 2009

A thought from a reader

It is nice to know that folks are still reading this blog; being in the office, packing up my office and furnishing an apartment in DC has cut into my blogging time.

Hi David,

I was just catching up on your blog and saw that you are leaving for DC in less than 2 weeks. Last time I talked to you, you were awaiting a "call" on whether you were keeping your blog. So what happened with that?

I am really glad you are commenting on CBHI. I am realizing more and more that there is very little critical observation and even less advocacy (except for rates). At times like these, I really miss Walter!

At any rate, I am wondering about the blog and want to wish you well on your sojourn in DC. Please stay in touch!!! We wade in on national health policy stuff from time to time (as you might guess).


In case you were wondering, authors LOVE it when someone asks them to keep writing. This sort of e-mail just makes me want to get out there and write more. Thanks, **********. This means a lot. Let me try to answer as best I can.
1) I will try to keep this blog both alive and focused on the Children's Mental Health Reform process on which we have spent so much time and energy. That may be tricky, as I will no longer have direct contact with my patients, who have always been my best source of information about the CBHI, and the mental health system in general. But I will try.
2) Over the next few months, I will be undergoing a training process in Washington, organized through the Institute of Medicine, that will give me access to many of the folks setting the policies that drive what we do. I mostly can't talk about that, especially on an open blog. By January 1, I will be an aide in a Congressional or Senatorial office. At that point, I may or may not be able to blog at all. So, stay tuned.

But what of the CBHI in the lazy days of summer? I actually had two folks from the Worcester CSA (their new name escapes me at present) join me in discussing the CBHI process with our Housestaff at UMass Medical Center last week. They told us that they have enrolled the first 90 or so families in the program and that they are working on the second hundred now, doing CANS, hiring staff, convening meetings (like the one I couldn't make last week) and the like. They were surprise at how few of their referrals are coming from pediatricians and other primary care providers. I wasn't. Traditionally, there has been so little communication between primary care and behavioral health providers that I would have been surprised if they were contacting the CSA themselves. Most of us give parents a list of counselors and agencies and have them get to it. So the CSA would likely not know that the primary care doc had sent the patient.

So it is churning, and movement is happening. If I can make it to the next community meeting in Webster, I will have much more to say on that.

Anyone else got any stories? Put them in a comment, send them in an e-mail. It is out there, percolating now. Look at CBHI on Google News here.

On a personal note, I still can't believe that in 8 days I'll be on my way to Washington. It is simply too cool to be real.

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