Tag Archive for 'law'

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US legislator about seclusion and restraint

As the US House of Representatives prepares to make statements about and amend HR 4247, Representative Joe Courtney (CN, US) posted a statement on the blog maintained by the House committee that will debate the legislation. The post, “Rep. Joe Courtney: Congress Must Make Schools Safe Havens for Children,” touts Representative Courtney’s perspective on the legislation. There’s lots more about the proposed legislation via that blog and related resources. Take a look.

Also, read the actual proposed legislation, “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act” and the position statements by the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders about seclusion and restraint and “Position Summary on Restraint and Seclusion.”

Virginia Campaign for Children’s Mental Health

Twelve key children’s services for community services boards
  1. specialized children’s emergency services;
  2. crisis stabilization;
  3. evaluations for Comprehensive Services Act services;
  4. psychiatric/medication;
  5. office-based mental health therapy;
  6. office-based substance abuse therapy;
  7. mental health case management;
  8. intellectual disabilities case management;
  9. substance abuse case management;
  10. home-based behavioral treatment and support for families;
  11. school-based day treatment; and
  12. local residential services.

Right here in my home commonwealth of Virginia last week, Mira Signe, Vicki Hardy-Murrell, John Morgan, and Margaret Nimmo Crowe explained why it is important that government and private organizations attend to and address issues in children’s mental health. By explaining that Virginia has inadequate services and that one in every five children or youths experience mental health problems at some time during their lives, they made the point that that there is a tremendous need for public focus on these issues. This was the kick-off event for the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health.

The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is a 3-year sustained effort to make mental health services more available and accessible to Virginia children in need. It will strongly endorse Governor-elect McDonnell’s call for system improvements; urge the General Assembly and state and local government to work collaboratively with the administration to address system deficiencies; and conduct a high-profile three-year advocacy and education drive to build public and political support for improved mental health services for children.

Only about one in 20 of Virginia’s children have access to the key services listed in the accompanying box. So, four out of five children who need these services do not have access to them.

No, Virginia, this is not an acceptable way to treat our children. Let’s do better.

Autism and insurance in MI

In the US state of Michigan, a major health insurance provider will now reimburse families for the cost of providing therapy for children with autism. The case, Johns v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, arose because Blue-Cross-Blue-Shield denied payment for behavioral treatment often called “ABA” to the family of a child with Autism. The case was settled in favor of the family last week.

Represented by Gerard Mantese, Mr. Christopher Johns alleged that the insurer should pay for the therapy for his son under the provisions of the policy. The insurance company refused and Mr. Johns sued. During depositions, Mr. Mantese and others on the Mr. Johns’ legal team learned of a draft memorandum identifying the behavioral therapy as effective and that a representative of the insurer would probably elect the behavioral therapy if that representative had a child with Autism.

Because Mr. Johns’ complaint was part of a class action suit, many other families will also benefit from the settlement. In an independent analysis of the case, Tresa Baldas discussed the implications.

The $1 million class action settlement from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan comes amid a legislative wave in which a growing number of a states are passing laws that require insurance companies to pay for autism treatments and screenings. To date, 13 states have such laws, the most recent being Connecticut, Colorado and Nevada. New Jersey is currently considering an autism bill, and Pennsylvania’s law goes into effect July 1.

The June 17 Michigan settlement, meanwhile, has autism advocates hopeful that insurance companies will stop claiming that behavioral therapy for autistic children is experimental, and start paying for it.

“It is a significant victory for the families, obviously, and it marks a trend, hopefully, that insurance companies will start to look at autism treatment differently,” said Areva Martin, an attorney at Los Angeles-based Martin & Martin who is currently handling about 30 autism cases. She believes the labeling of autism treatments as experimental is “absurd.”

I wonder what this will mean for the California rules that do not expressly exclude behavioral therapies, but set requirements for deciding whether they are reimbursable (see my earlier post on that story).

Link for a quasi-news article about the settlement. Read another of the law firm’s press releases. Here’s link to Ms. Baldas’ analysis of the case.

Officer training for handling incidents

Reporting on US National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Joanne Silberner presented a story about police officers handling incidents in which they encounter people with emotional and behavior disorders who are behaving in ways that appear threatening to the officers. Although her story uses adult cases for illustrations, this topic should also be of interest for youths who have EBD and for the families of children with EBD.

Here’s an excerpt from Ms. Silberner’s report.

It’s a situation no one wants to see: An armed police officer is called because someone is in the throes of a psychotic episode. “How the officer handles that situation can have a significant impact,” says Russell Laine, head of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Continue reading ‘Officer training for handling incidents’

MDRI added

I’m pleased to add a link to the Web Resources section of EBD Blog that points to the Web site for Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI). MDRI is devoted to ensuring that people with disabilities can participate in society, regardless of the country in which they live. Among other things, MDRI has influenced laws and governmental agencies to promote the human rights of individuals with disabilities.

MDRI documents conditions, publishes reports on human rights enforcement, and promotes international oversight of the rights of people with mental disabilities. Drawing on the skills and experience of attorneys, mental health professionals, human rights advocates, people with mental disabilities and their family members, MDRI trains and supports advocates seeking legal and service system reform and assists governments to develop laws and policies to promote community integration and human rights enforcement for people with mental disabilities. The organization is forging new alliances throughout the world to challenge the discrimination and abuse faced by people with mental disabilities, as well as working with locally based advocates to create new advocacy projects and to promote citizen participation and human rights for children and adults.

Individuals with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders should enjoy the same basic human rights as anyone else. From this perspective, it is easy to see why EBD Blog endorses the efforts of MDRI. To save readers the need to locate the link in the side bar, here’s a jump to MDRI’s home page.

FC, sex, false interrogration–yuck

It’s one of those stories I wish hadn’t transpired. On the basis of evidence gained via facilitated communication, police mistakenly charged a man with abusing his daughter and, to compound the problem, they based their case in part on inappropriate interrogation of the man’s son, a boy who has Asperger Syndrome. Oakland County (M, US) prosecutor David Gorcyca dropped the case when he was unable to substantiate the FC-based allegations.

In an editorial 20 March 2008, the Detroit Free Press summarized the case and the terrible consequences to which the family was subjected because of it:
Continue reading ‘FC, sex, false interrogration–yuck’