MHW: All Hands on Deck for Recovery and Rights Proponents in 2017

NYAPRS Note: NYAPRS joined other Mental Health Weekly readers to “weigh in on some of the challenges and opportunities that await them in 2017.”

All Hands on Deck for Recovery and Rights Proponents in 2017
Mental Health Weekly January 9, 2017

I don’t recall a time when our community was faced with so many questions of such critical importance.

As we move towards fully integrated care, will the new systems build on the hard-won expertise of the behavioral health provider community or will the bigger dogs — hospitals and large traditional providers, for example — build their own services instead of buying ours?

Will our pioneering recovery values, principles and practices get lost in the mix of integrated care?

In particular, will peer services maintain their essential integrity or will they be deployed by non-peer agencies and supervisors primarily as a means to get folks to come to appointments and comply with treatment?

In our efforts to help divert individuals from emergency and inpatient settings, will we also pay sufficient attention to what it actually takes to help folks thrive and survive in the community?

In the move toward value and outcomes-based payment, will financial incentives pay for stable housing and employment or largely focus on traditional measures like access to clinical treatment and medication?

Will recently enacted federal mental health legislation take us backwards to a rebuilding of hospital systems over the expansion of critical community supports when Medicaid is permitted to fund more hospital beds and when systems are being encouraged to favor mandated treatment when systems fail to effectively engage and serve the most distressed?

And will we needlessly erode patient privacy protections as we move toward the broader sharing of protected health information?

It’ll take all of our combined efforts and expertise to see that policies and services come up with the right answers. NYAPRS is determined to join MHW readers to do so.

Harvey Rosenthal, executive director

New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS)