NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS

                                                          Email:  namiorangeny@warwick.net
                                                      Website:  namiorangeny.org
                                                  Telephone:  845-956-NAMI (6264) 
                                                  Toll-free:   1-866-906-NAMI (6264)

                                               FaceBook:  NAMI Orange County, NY facebook icon
                                               FaceBook:  NAMI Orange Discussion Group facebook icon


ADVOCACY 
REQUESTED
including saving
6 protected medication classes in Medicare D



Upcoming Events/Outreaches



See details
of upcoming NAMI
meetings and courses by clicking links below:




Upcoming Courses:

NAMI Basics
6 week course
(6 consecutive Saturdays)
starting March 16 2:30-5 p.m.
in Goshen

Register now
Call 845-294-2749 or 845-956-6264


NAMI
Family-to-Family
Course

St. Francis of Assisi Church
145 Benkard Rd.
Newburgh

May 4-June 15 
(6 Saturdays-
no class on May 11)

9:30-3:30 p.m.

Call 845-294-2749 or 845-956-6264 to register, class size is limited




On-going  Meetings:

NAMI Connection
a peer-led support group for adults living with a
mental illness.
PLEASE NOTE: these meetings are on a temporary hold. We will post here when the weekly meetings will resume.


Thurs., March 21
7 p.m.
MHA Family & Friends Together


Wed., February 27
6:30 p.m.
MHA Family & Friends Plus
Social Group

Please RSVP
Peggy 342-2400
Ext. 1238

 


TUESDAY, March 5
6:30 p.m.
Please note:
new time and day
NAMI Family Support Group
(Goshen)

no fee
no registration


Mon., March 18
7 p.m. p.m.
NAMI Family Support Group
ORMC, Middletown
no fee
no registration


Thurs., March 21
7 p.m.
MHA Family & Friends Together


TUESDAY, April 2
6:30 p.m.
Please note:
new time and day
NAMI Family Support Group
(Goshen)

no fee
no registration


NAMI Education Meeting
April 8, 6:30 p.m.

Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with a Disability (MBI-WPD); and Medicaid
Spend-Down


Mon., May 6, 7 p.m.

NAMI FaithNet
St. Anastasia Faith Formation Building
21 North Main St.
Harriman, NY


Wed., May 15, 7 p.m

NAMI FaithNet
St. Paul Lutheran Church
21 Still Road 
Monroe, NY




June 19-22
2019 NAMI National Convention
in Seattle





 NAMI Presentations:

  -Ending the Silence

-In Our Own Voice

arranged by request

*Click on above
 links for details


MENTAL HEALTH  ADVOCACY



*For information on public policy and advocacy issues:



    NAMI-NYS IS ASKING YOU TO TAKE ACTION!!!

excerpts from NAMI-NYS ACTION ALERT:
Tell Your Legislators to #Act4MentalHealth

Send a Pre-Written Letter to Legislative Leaders Urging Them to Support the 2019 NAMI-NYS Action Agenda

Click here to send a pre-written letter to key NYS legislative leaders urging them to support the 2019 NAMI-NYS Action Agenda.

Visit Your Legislators in their District Offices

We encourage you to visit your legislators in their district offices. NAMI-NYS will be happy to send you packets for you with our talking points and resources to tell your story and ones to provide your legislators. To obtain packets or for help scheduling district meetings please email Matthew@naminys.org.

Advocacy Resources

For those of you who want to make district visits, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible when talking to your legislators.

In our efforts to continually provide our members with resources to help them project their advocacy voice, NAMI-NYS has filmed a three part video series designed to provide you with the information and skills to communicate the importance of our 2019 Action Agenda to our elected officials.

Part I-Detailing the issues comprising the 2019 NAMI-NYS Action Agenda.

Click here to watch.

Part II-How to effectively tell your story as an advocacy tool.

Click here to watch.

Part III-How to make the most impactful legislative meetings.

Click here to watch.


Click here to view the 2019 NAMI-NYS Advocacy Guide.
This comprehensive guide is designed to familiarize you with our Action Agenda, explain the importance of telling your story as an advocacy tool and how to most effectively tell your story, tips on making impactful legislative visits, information on the large freshman class of NYS legislators and how to communicate our message through both traditional and social media. Click on the links below to view sections of the guide:

Call Senators Schumer and Gillibrand
Ask Them to Sign Onto Letter Urging CMS to Maintain the Six Protected Classes Policy in Medicare Part D.

Medicare Part D provides drug coverage for 43 million seniors and adults with disabilities, including many people with mental health conditions.

Currently, Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans must include "all or substantially all" of the medications in six protected classes, which include antidepressants and antipsychotics. These six protected classes were created to ensure people with conditions treated by these medications are not discriminated against, as well as to ensure access to a range of options that meet individual needs.

But there is a proposal that could hurt these protections. Late last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a number of changes to how Medicare pays for drugs. NAMI is concerned by a proposal that would allow plans to use prior authorization and step therapy more widely in the six protected classes, even for people who are stable on their current medication.

NAMI opposed this rule change in comments submitted last month. Over 7,000 comments were submitted from across the country, including by many of you. NAMI also worked with a bipartisan group of Representatives on a letter to CMS requesting that they not make this rule change.

Recently, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who oversees CMS, said, "I was very disturbed to hear that patients switching among insurance plans, like switching among Medicare Advantage plans, can often be required to start over again on a step therapy regimen. [...] This is not just potentially injurious to their health; it's also penny-wise and pound-foolish."

We couldn't agree more. Every voice is critical to make sure protections for the six protected classes are not weakened - and we need your help. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are encouraging their Senate colleagues to sign onto a letter to the Administration asking CMS to maintain the six protected classes policy in Medicare Part D.

Please Call:
Senator Schumer at (202) 224-6542 and
Senator Gillibrand at (202) 224-4451

Use this script:
"On behalf of NAMI-New York State, I urge you to sign-on to Senator Rubio and Senator Sinema's letter requesting CMS to maintain the six protected classes policy in Medicare Part D.

NAMI-New York State is very concerned that this proposed rule would have significant negative consequences for Medicare beneficiaries living with a mental illness and their ability to access medications. The six protected classes policy is a key part of the success of Medicare Part D because it establishes critical protections for vulnerable people on Medicare, like those living with mental illness.

Access to antidepressants and antipsychotics are critically important for people with mental health conditions to maintain wellness. Please sign-on to Senator Rubio and Senator Sinema's letter. Thank you."

             

                NAMI-NYS 2019 Advocacy Guide



              
       NAMI-NYS 2019 Legislation Action Agenda

  • Access to Appropriate Services and Medication

  • Continued Investments in Community Services and the Mental Health Workforce

  • Mental Health Housing With Wraparound Support Services

  • Improve the Criminal Justice–Mental Illness Interface

  • Enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO)

  • Expand Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran’s Mental Health Program

                 
                        #BringItHomeNYS


BIH is group of community-based supportive housing providers, mental health advocates, faith leaders, & consumers & their families, demanding adequate funding.

Bring It Home NAMI-NYSNAMI-NYS Bring It Home

Visit  https://www.bringithomenys.org/  to discover more facts and to learn how you can support the Bring It Home campaign which calls for increased financial support for New York's Mental Health Housing Programs.





NYS License Plate (photo credit: News10 ABC)

Specialty License Plates
for Mental Health Awareness
Click above link to NYS Department of Motor Vehicle

The governor has signed into law Bill #A.06216B sponsored by Aileen Gunther which creates a specialty license plate stating, "Healthy Mind, Healthy NY"



             
            How New Medicare Rule Proposals
               Affect People with Mental Illness

        excerpts from NAMI Advocacy and Public Policy Team


In November, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule<https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-11-30/pdf/2018-25945.pdf> that would impact Medicare coverage of prescription drugs. In January, 2019, we will distribute template comments specific to our areas of concern, but in the meantime, NAMI's partner organizations may reach out your NAMI State Organization or Affiliate to sign on to letters or encourage action regarding this proposed change or others.

To help determine if signing on or engaging is appropriate, you'll find more information on these changes and the areas that impact people with mental illness below.

Background on Medicare and Mental Illness
Medicare, unlike Medicaid, is entirely funded by the federal government. It provides health coverage to older Americans and to adults with disabilities. Many older adults on Medicare have mental health conditions. In addition, there are millions of younger adults who are on Medicare because they have a psychiatric disability.

Medicare is made up of "parts" that cover different benefits:

* Part A: Hospital care, short-term skilled nursing, home health services, hospice
* Part B: Health care professionals, outpatient and preventive care, some medical equipment and supplies
* Part C: Medicare Advantage-an alternative coverage option that covers both part A and B benefits, and often includes part D prescription benefits
Part D: Prescription drugs

What are the "6 protected classes" in Medicare Part D?
Medicare Part D provides drug coverage for 43 million seniors and adults with disabilities. Today, Part D plans must cover "all or substantially all" drugs in six classes, including:

1. Anticonvulsants (often prescribed for epilepsy)
2. Antidepressants
3. Antineoplastics (prescribed for cancer)
4. Antipsychotics
5. Antiretrovirals (prescribed for HIV/AIDS)
6. Immunosuppressants (prescribed for transplants)

These six protected classes were created to ensure people with conditions treated by these medications are not discriminated against, as well as to ensure access to a range of options that meet individual needs.

What is CMS proposing to change?
CMS is proposing a number of changes to how Medicare pays for drugs. Of these proposals, NAMI is concerned that the following will negatively affect people with mental illness:

Medicare Advantage (Part C) changes

* Step therapy for Part B drugs
NAMI has a long-standing policy of opposing step therapy for mental health medications. The proposed rule would put into regulation what CMS already allowed in an Aug. 7, 2018 memo-allowing Medicare Advantage plans to implement step therapy for drugs covered under Part B.

What drugs are covered under Part B? Part B covers drugs that have to be administered intravenously, such as chemotherapy. One long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotic is also covered by Part B, while newer LAIs are covered under Part D.

Part D changes

* Prior authorization and step therapy in the six protected classes

CMS is proposing changes that would allow plans to use prior authorization and step therapy more widely in the six protected classes, even for people who are stable on their current medication. NAMI opposes this rule change, which would cause dangerous disruptions in treatment for millions of Medicare enrollees with mental illness.

* Restrictions on new formulations of drugs

The new rule would allow Part D plans to not cover new formulations of existing drugs, such as the long-acting injectable form of an antipsychotic or a new extended release formula. NAMI opposes this rule change, which would limit important innovations that make medications easier to take, better tolerated, or better tailored to a specific condition.

* Price increases above inflation

The new rule would allow plans, starting in January 2020, to exclude coverage of drugs, including "protected class" antipsychotics and antidepressants, if their wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) rose more quickly than general, not medical, inflation. General inflation generally rises more slowly than inflation for medical goods or services. This change could result in people not having access to needed medications and experience harmful disruption in their treatment.

What you can do
Comment on the proposed rule: Your voices on this issue matter. NAMI will distribute template comments specific to these areas of concern and instructions for submitting comments in early January which you can use to let CMS know about our concerns regarding the proposed rule.

Sign on to coalition letters: You are encouraged to sign on to coalition letters on this rule, provided the letters appropriately represent NAMI's position(s). As always, if you are not sure or would like advice, feel free to reach out to Hannah Wesolowski, director of advocacy, at
hwesolowski@nami.org.

Note: Separately, CMS is asking for comments on options for changing payment for Part B drugs to more closely align with international prices. If you're contacted about this issue, please reach out to Hannah Wesolowski, director of advocacy, at hwesolowski@nami.org



Mental Illness Policy.org

learn about federal bills that pertain to mental illness 



We Need  To Do More
Than Just Talk About Mental lllness

opinion article in "The Hill" (December 11, 2017)
by Dr. Herbert Pardes



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NAMI-NYS Anylasis of 2015-2016 NYS Budget Agreement

 

Highlights Include:

Housing Investments

Expansion of CIT

Restoration of Prescriber Prevails

Criminal Justice Initiatives

Investment in Community Services

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On Sunday, March 29th, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders Assemblyman Carl Heastie and Senators Dean Skelos and Jeffery Klein reached an agreement for the FY 2015-16 budget. State legislators are expected to approve the budget deal before the April 1st deadline.

 

NAMI-NYS is extremely encouraged about many aspects of the budget agreement. Highlights include an investment in housing, several criminal justice initiatives including CIT expansion and the restoration of precribers prevails. This is one of the strongest budgets for mental health services in many years.