TU Letter: State Medicaid Reforms are Better Way to Serve At Risk Individuals than Kendra's Law Expansion

Commentary Not Accurate Picture  

Albany Times Union Letter to the Editor published June 11, 2012


DJ Jaffe is wrong that the current and largest overhaul of state mental health systems in history doesn’t apply to at risk individuals who have tended to avoid or been ignored by care systems of the past.


Hard hitting proposals are making sure that hospitals come up with better discharge plans and are requiring teams of providers to engage and/or follow up closely to help avoid relapse-related crises. These new programs are particularly helping New York’s urban centers, where 82% of Kendra’s Law court orders have previously been used.


These new approaches are fully paid for and will reach a million vulnerable people statewide while the Kendra’s Law expansion bill, which is opposed by 15 statewide advocacy groups including a growing number of family members, will almost double the program’s $32 million cost and still reach only a fraction.


And let’s stop trying to scare the public to get this bill passed. Despite lurid front-page coverage of rare tragic events, the facts are that people with serious mental illness are actually 11 times more likely to be victims of violence. 


Harvey Rosenthal, Member of NYS Medicaid Redesign Team Greenwich, NY