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ISSUES

There are some NAMI issues which are perennial; we must work on them year after year.  The e-mail address;

     issues@namihuntington.org

can be queried for information on what issues require current action.

One perennial issue is the funding of services for mentally Ill people.  There is a continuing struggle to protect and even expand the funding stream from Medicaid, Medicare, and revenues from New York State.

Another issue is the availability of insurance benefits for the treatment of mental illness.  There has been a long struggle to get “Timothy’s Law” enacted by New York State.  This law would require any health insurance plan to provide the same benefits for the treatment of mental illness as the plan provides for physical illnesses.  For example, under this law, both types of illnesses would have the same allowed duration of hospital stays.

There have been repeated attempts to limit the formulary of medicines or to impede access to medicines that are used to treat persons with mental illness.  This is any essential NAMI issue.

The criminal justice system has many aspects that generate NAMI issues.   One is jail diversion which would send an offender to treatment rather than to jail.  Diversion is justified because people with mental illness sometimes do dumb things (like trespassing) that are violations of law. 

Another issue is Paragraph 330.20 of the Criminal Code which allows a person to plead innocent by reason of mental illness or defect.  Instead of jail the person goes to a forensic psychiatric facility.  Unfortunately the person may spend decades there.  In one case we know of, the person was promised 18 months in the facility.  He is still there after ten years.  Paragraph 330.20 must include some reasonable limits on the duration of confinements.  This is a NAMI issue.

Persons with mental illness that are in prisons often can not understand or follow the prison rules of behavior.  This leads to their being punished by isolation in Special Housing Units ,e.g., solitary confinement.  This is a NAMI issue that cries out for correction.

 

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