Monday, November 30, 2009

End Discrimination Against the Severely Mentally Ill

I recorded a video for the Fred Friendly seminars while at the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) convention in July. It roughly outlines my brother Paul's life in the Mental Health system and my quest to get others to see that not all mentally ill people can live an independent life. To see me on You Tube, click the link below:

I'm on You Tube:

Also, please learn more about the IMD Exclusion: (Institutes for Mental Diseases). The report I linked to is very technical in nature, but basically it explains that when Medicaid and Medicare were created in the 1960's, people in mental institutions were excluded from coverage. The states, primarily looking for ways to cut costs, let their mentally ill patients out into the community under the guise of civil liberties. Released into the community, they were then covered by Medicaid and the feds helped pick up the costs.

However, the community support for these individuals was not, nor is it yet to be, available to the degree required for people like Paul.

The result: Hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people are now homeless or incarcerated - or like my brother Paul, languish in god-awful adult "homes". This is not what I would call honoring a person's civil liberties.

Since money is the only thing people care about these days, think about the costs to our local police and emergency rooms...then try to realize that these people are suffering needlessly...then remember that they are someone's brother, sister, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend.

Please contact your representatives and urge them to support H.R. 619, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Johnson [D-TX30]. This would repeal the IMD Exclusion.

We have already passed insurance parity for the mentally ill. Now we need to put the final nail in the coffin that is discrimination against the mentally ill by eliminating the IMD Exclusion.

For more information go to the Treatment Advocacy Center website:


  1. The IMD Exclusion is one of the most important issues that exists in terms of why the mentally ill don't receive care. The IMD Exclusion basically prohibits Medicaid for paying for patients who have a disorder in the brain and need long-term hospitalization. If the disorder is in any other organ, Medicaid pays. So State's dismiss people from hospitals sicker and quicker. I co-authored a piece with Mary Zdanowicz in the Washington Post on this: I also wrote on Huffington Post about it

  2. There is nothing more discriminatory than the IMD exclusion. People with mental illness between the age of 18 and 65 cannot have their long term hospitalization paid for through medicaid. Any other disorder can.

    Now in California, the discrimination has gone even further as the Gov's budget says those folks in long term care who are otherwise qualified for medi-cal {the CA version of medicaid} cannot have their other medical disorders---such as diabetes or heart conditions...covered.

    Its plain wrong.