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Glenville, West Virginia
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June 18, 2009     The Glenville Democrat
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June 18, 2009
 

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Thursday, June 18, 2009--The Glenville Democrat, Page 5A Our Mental Health System Is In Crisis The nlcntal health systcrn in West Virginia Itas deteriorated to the point tlfa serious crisis. Wc would appreci- ate you contacting Governor Manchin and DHHR Secretary Walker to ex- press support for badly needed fund- ing to address this serious crisis. The "facts" leading up to this crisis are presented below and include dramatic funding cuts of more than $100 mil- lion, and substantially increased op- erating costs: Bankruptcies: The state's failure to adequately fund mental health re- suited in the Chapter seven bankrupt- cies of at least four mental health providers (i.e. Shawnee Hills, East- ern Panhandle Training Center, etc.) and the closing of many needed men- tal health treatment programs; Psychiatric hospitals out of con- trol: It has been widely reported in the media that as community-based men- tal health programs have crumbled, conditions at the two remaining state psychiatric hospitals have become deplorable, due to chronic overcrowd- ing, which has led to a serious "acci- dent waiting to happen." In July, 2008, Bateman and Sharpe hospitals were over capacity by nearly 60 percent; DHHR's own clinical director has stated the "overcrowding started sev- eral years ago after community-based mental health centers across the state were forced to slash programs in re- sponse to funding cuts." He further urged that many people with mental illness are "decompensating because of a lack of services in the commu- nity. There's no other option left but to come to the state hospitals;" "The number of commitments to state psychiatric hospitals increased 219 percent from 2001 to 2005 ac- cording to a report published by the West Virginia Bureau for Mental Health and Health Facilities. People with mental illness who had been living successfully in tile community at an average cost as low as $8,500 per _year (75 percent of which is paid by the federal government), are revert- ing by the thousands back into state hospitals at a cost of $200,000 per year (paid with 100 percent state funds); . Many with mental illness end up in jail: The number of West Virgin- inns with mental health problems be- ing routed to jails and prisons has also increased dramatically. In fact, more than 37,000 people in West Virginia's regional jails were treated for mental illness in 2004; Suicides up dramatically: The sui- cide rate for young adults has grown dramatically in recent years. In fact, West Virginia was ranked fifth per capita in suicide, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control; Homeless: The number of home- less mentally ill served by Medicaid has increased by more than 300 per- cent; From 1997 to 1999, Medicaid reimbursements to mental health pro- viders dropped by $34,106,447, (or 28 percent) according to the Office of the Legislative Auditor's Performance Evaluation and Research Division (PERD). Funding for group home and day treatment services for the men- tally ill was reduced by tens of mil- lions of dollars, dropping the number of group home beds for the mentally ill by 119 or nearly 60 percent; In 2000, the implementation of managed care for mental health fur- ther reduced Medicaid funding. Within three years, Medicaid funding for mental health clinic and rehabili- tation services, the main source of funding for mental health centers, dropped from $113 million to $72 million - a $41 million (or 36 percent) reduction in community-based men- tal health funding; In 2001, managed care reduced Medicaid funding for mental health by an additional $16 million. Com- munity-based services for the men- tally ill were again significantly re- duced. Ten- day treatment programs were closed around the state, causing hundreds of needy people to lose im- portant mental health services; In 2002, the effects of managed care- related funding reductions con- tinued, with funding for mental health dropping by an additional $17.7 mil- lion; In 2003, managed care continued to reduce funding for mental health clinic and rehabilitation services by $13.8 million. These reductions in clinic and rehabilitation services re- suited from restricting services per- mitted under certain Medicaid codes, and more stringent utilization man- agement by APS Healthcare; From 2006 through the present, DHHR's development and implemen- tation of Medicaid reform has resulted in serious mental health service re- ductions and significant funding re- ductions for those with mental ill- ness; Unfair: In addition to the more than $100 million in funding reduc- tions, the Medicaid program treats mental health providers unfairly by not providing them with the same annual inflationary rate adjustments other providers, including physicians, hospitals and pharmacies receive; Increased operating costs: In ad- dition to more than $100 million in massive cuts in reimbursement, and no meaningful rate increases for 15 years, operating expenses for mental health providers have grown signifi- cantly. According to the websile inflationdam.com, the rate of infla- tion from June, 1993, to June, 2008, was 51.53 percen!, soproducts cost- ing $100 in June 1993 cost $151.53 by June 2008; Wage costs, including mandated federal minimum wage increases and employee benefit costs, increased by $23,493,468 or 37 percent from 1999 to 2007. This includes only the first of three federal minimum wage increases scheduled to occur from 2007 to 2009. The remaining two increases in the federal minimum wage will increase provider wage costs by an additional $15,000,000. Unfair: In addition to massive funding reductions totaling more than $100 million and dramatically in- creased operating costs, mental health care providers are treated unfairly by being required to pay a five percent provider tax on their revenues, while the state eliminated the same provider tax for other health care providers. The behavioral Health Providers Association strongly believes that an increase in Medicaid clinic and reha- bilitation rates is critical. We believe providing $1.5 million (plus the fed- eral match) for three consecutive years of equal, across-the-board Medicaid rate increases for all 33 "clinic and rehabilitation" codes will be an im- portant first step in re-establishing community-based mental health ser- vices across the state. Please contact the office of gover- nor Manchin at 304-558-2000 and the office of DHHR, Secretary Martha Walker at 304-558-0684, to let them know you support the above request, and help rescue West Virginia's men- tal health system from the brink of crisis! Thank you in advance for your support. I WV Tax Incentive Program Sets the Stage for Two Film Productions Two new feature film produc- tions will start shooting in West Virginia this year, thanks to help from the West Virginia Film Indus- try Investment Act, which the Leg- islature enacted and the Film Office began implementing last year. The act is designed to recruit film and television producers into the state to conduct business using West Vir- ginia locations, work force, talent and vendors. Once a production completes filming and qualified expenditures are verified, tax cred- its are allocated based on a certain percentage of the expenditures. Last week, Allegheny Image Fac- tory received approval to partici- pate in the program for an indepen- dent film version of a highly suc- cessful novel. "Feast of the Seven Fishes." Fairmont natives. Robert Tinnell. author of the novel, will serve as director, and Jeff Tinnell will serve as producer of the feature film. This romantic comedy focuses on an Italian-American family's cel- ebration of a traditional Christmas Eve dinner, which consists of seven different seafood dishes. The novel was a 2006 Eisner Award nominee for "Best Graphic Album: Reprint." JeffTinnell was candid about the importance of the tax incentives. "One of the key reasons we chose to film in West Virginia is because of the incentives," he stated. "We had previously applied to Pennsylvania's program and con- sidered other states as well, but when West Virginia's kicked into gear, we withdrew and decided to bring the project home." Tinnell added, "Importantly, the program has en- abled us to plant a permanent seed for our company to plan more fea- ture film productions in West Vir- ginia after "Feast" has wrapped." Emphatic Films, a film develop- ment and production company based out of Los Angeles, also received approval last week to participate in the program for "The Deposition," a story about a lonely court videographer who becomes ob- sessed with videotaped testimonies, begins his own investigation into an accident and takes matters into his own hands. More information about the pro- duction schedules and locations for both of these films will be released at a later date. "The tax credit program has en- abled West Virginia to become more competitive with numerous other states that have existing and suc- cessful programs." said Pam Haynes, director of the state Film Office. "Coupled with the state's renowned reputation for hospitality and beauty, the incentive program makes West ALL SERVICE REALTY, INC. 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Image Associates of Charles- ton, has already filmed two com- mercials and received tax credit al- locations. Also, Walkabout Produc- tions of Wheeling has been approved to participate for a television pilot and series currently in production. For more information about the West Virginia Film Office and the West Virginia Film Industry Invest- ment Act, call 304-558-2200, ext. 382, or visit www.wvfilm.com, where you may also view the Film Office's 2008 Annual Report and sign up for an e-newsletter list to receive no- tices about these and other produc- tion activities in the state. 2010 Ford Focus 2010 Ford Fusion WhyFord. Ford is different, and we're out to prove it. You can see it in our new high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles that we're delivering to you with the lowest financing possible. When you step into our showroom and grab the wheel of any Ford vehicle, you'll see and feel that difference right away. It begins with quality that can't be beat by Honda or Toyota.* And it continues with features like EcoBoostTM technology, designed to deliver the fuel efficiency of a V6 engine with the power of a V8. We also offer the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in America, the 2010 Ford Fusion.** As a Ford Dealer, I'm proud to be a part of this new direction But the difference doesn't just end there Ford CEO Alan Mulally put it like this: "The real difference is in our plan, the Based on RDA Group's GQRS cumulative survey at three months 0f service in three surveys of 2008 Ford and compebhve owners conducted 9/07-5/08. "*EPA-estimated 23 city/34 hwy mpg, combined 27 mpg, Fusion S. I-4 automatic; 41 cgy/36 hwy mpg, Fusion Hybrid Actual mileage will vary Mldsize class per R.L. polk & Co tUp to three payments, based on $1,500 cash back on '09 Fold vehicles. $2,100 on '09 Expedition and Super Duty Lip to two payments based Or, $1.000 cash back on '10 Ford vehicles (excluding '10 Mustang) $1 400 cash back on '10 Expedition and Super Duty CUSTOMER MUST STILL MAKEACTUAL PAYMENTS TO LENDER Not available on Hybrid models. Mustang Shelby GT-500 m/GT-50OKR, m LCF and F-650/F-750 Not all buyers wdl quallly lor Ford Credit limited-term financing For all offers, lake new relall delivery [rom dealer stock by 6/30/09 See dealer for complete details In our reading and praying, it is not exceptional to come across a sentence or phrase that uniquely strikes us- even though we may have read that sentence before, even mul- tiple times before. This can happen when doing Bible reading, or even secular reading. It happened to me the other day. I came across a sentence in the bre- viary (prayers priests pray daily for the Church throughout the world) that hit me, even though I had read it often: "God sees all men as simwrs, that he might show them his mercy. " It wasn't listed as a passage from Scripture, but nevertheless sounded to me very Pauline, probably from Romans. I searched, but couldn't find the text. It was saying some- thing very meaningful to me about God's infinite mercy, so 1 wanted to know if it was actually in Scripture. So I approached a minister friend to see if he could locate the passage. He e-mailed me what he found in Romans I1:32: "ForGodhasbound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all." (NIV version). This translation is almost exactly like the New Ameri- can Bible translation that I use. But is that Romans text the same as the one that struck me? It seems to me very different to say that God merely "sees" all men as sinners, verses that he has "bound all men over to disobedience." And then the question raises itself: does God actu- Not Everyone Calls Me Father By Edwin Daschbach SVD That He Might ShowMercy ally lead humans into wrongdoing in order that he may show them mercy'? THAT I cannot accept. Evil is s,,> extrinsic; to everything that God is about that he cannot possibly lead people into it for ANY reason. But a little understanding of how the biblical mind works tnight brin~; clarity to the issue. The writer of that passage, Paul, is a person of his cul ture. His views were influenced ;'crx much by the times in which he wrote. Those times were characterized by a belief that God is behind everythi)~g that happens There was no knowl- edge of secondary causes If light- ning struck someone, God sent it. If someone became sick, it was caused by God. It is this frame of mind which I believe undoubtedly influenced Paul in his writing of Romans. If people were disobedient, God had led them to be so. Therefore, "'God has lcd all men over to disobedience" is Ill,. equivalent of what we would say today: "God SEES all men as sin- ners." It is that latier English sen- tence that is the valid theological statement behind the Pauline pas- sage. God wants so much to be merciful (compassionate, lenient, sympa- thetic, forgiving = all synonyms) to his creatures that he doesn't shrink from the sinfulness he sees in them, but actually desires to see all ofthcin as in great need of that mercy he cries to extend. Now, that is love! 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