Friday, December 4, 2009

My Elevator Speech

I am taking an on-line grant writing class. One of the assignments is to create an "elevator speech" for the organization for which we are writing. My organization is the yet to be formally established "Paul's Legacy Foundation".

As most of you know, Paul was my twin brother. He passed away on May 1, 2008 from lung cancer. He spent the previous 33 years in psychiatric hospitals (his first 22 years after his diagnosis) and then warehouses (aka adult homes).

The mission of Paul's Legacy Foundation is to educate people about the seriously mentally ill, to foment change within the mental health care system, specifically to repeal the IMD Exclusion, with the end goal of bettering the lives of people like my brother Paul.

Here's my elevator speech:

There is a small segment of the seriously mentally ill population that will never recover. My brother Paul was one of them. They are ill due to no fault of their own. They should receive the care they deserve. Due to the evacuations of the psychiatric hospitals, many are now living on the streets, incarcerated, or are warehoused in adult homes (which was Paul's fate).

The primary reason the state hospitals were evacuated, was due to a provision in the Medicaid laws established in the 1960's, called the IMD Exclusion. It prevented payment for mentally ill patients in long-term care psychiatric hospitals (aka Institutes for Mental Disease or "IMD"), but the Medicaid law would pay for patients in non-psychiatric long-term care facilities. Basically, the law discriminated against the mentally ill.

The states, looking for ways to ease their budgets, saw an out, which was to send these individuals into the community, where they would receive services that would then be paid by Medicaid. Unfortunately, the community services were not, and are still not, adequate.

My goal is to repeal the IMD Exclusion and to ultimately provide humane, long-term care for individuals like my brother.

What do you think?


  1. Sounds pretty good.
    It might help if people knew what "IMD" stood for.
    (inpatient medical delivery?)
    Also, it might help to compare it to something - excluding diabetes for example.

    otherwise, and those aren't even really necessary - good job.

  2. Your points are clear and concise.
    One sentence about Paul's poor delivery of care- not treated for cancer on time?
    I know there is so much more to say.
    It's hard to pick and choose the points to make it concise enough.
    Perhaps a second line once someone is engaged in the conversation.
    Elevator Speech.
    Back up info.
    Really specific info.
    The link to the violence issue is important as well. It helps not only the mentally ill, it helps the community as well.