Proposed TennCare Work Reporting Requirements:

Your Comments Make a Difference
Tennessee's elected officials have launched another attack on the state's mental health care. Not only are they not bringing home federal tax dollars to expand coverage to working families, but they are seeking to cut people off TennCare--Tennessee’s largest funding source for mental health services.

TennCare has asked the federal government's approval to add work reporting requirements as a condition of eligibility for parents on the state's healthcare safety net. Based on the experience in Arkansas, where the nation's first approved Medicaid work reporting requirement rule has led to over 18,000 people losing coverage , national experts anticipate that 100,000 Tennesseans would lose coverage even though they remain eligible, simply because of bureaucratic errors and red tape.

The federal comment period on this proposal is open until February 7, 2019 . Public comments like yours can and have made a difference ! The Tennessee Justice Center is coordinating an effort to collect comments and wants to hear what you think about these proposed changes, and how they would impact the people your serve, your community, or you and your family.

Federal Government Shutdown Puts
Health, Safety, and Well-being at Risk
NAMI has joined over 280 organizations to call for an immediate end to the government shutdown to avoid further harm to public health.

By shutting down the critical parts of our government for what is now been a month, our own government is causing needless suffering, with people and communities that are already vulnerable facing the steepest consequences. Below are just some of the real-world harms:

  • If the government shutdown continues it puts SNAP and other nutrition programs at risk--which would harm 922,000 Tennesseans including 467,000 children who live in households that rely on SNAP
  • Over 800,000 federal workers are going without pay and are being forced to make difficult choices to cover their basic needs
  • As government housing contracts expire, hundreds of thousands of tenants with low incomes are at risk of eviction
  • There are major concerns about the impacts of mental health staff in federal prisons being furloughed for significant periods of time

With each week, the hardship and uncertainty this shutdown entails undermine mental health and well-being . Call and email your senators and representatives and urge them to reopen the government today!
Additional Action Items
  • The deadline for Part D Rule Comments due Friday, January 25th at 5pm: CMS has proposed changes that will affect Medicare coverage of prescription drugs. Given the negative impact these changes will have on people with mental illness, we strongly encourage local affiliates and members to submit comments here. You can review template comments that you can submit or custom here

Join Us February 20, 2019

10 am – 1 pm- Grassroots training & lunch
1 pm – Meetings with legislators
  Cordell Hull Building, 8th Floor
For more information contact:

NAMI TN's next legislative & policy planning committee meeting is this Friday December 2t 3pm.
This committee will convene Friday afternoons bi-weekly through the legislative session. To learn how to participate, contact
Crisis Intervention Team(CIT) program has application beyond pre-arrest diversion

State investment in pre-arrest diversion supports local efforts to connect Tennesseans in crisis to appropriate community-based services as an alternative to jail. By diverting individuals to appropriate care and avoiding the criminal legal system, local communities alleviate jail and courtroom overcrowding, reducing the local tax burden while achieving better health outcomes. Tennessee pioneered the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program , a best practices law enforcement-behavioral health partnership model. As first responders to behavioral health crises, law enforcement personnel play a critical role as system ‘gatekeepers’ and additional funding for pre-arrest diversion services should include robust support for CIT alongside the full spectrum of crisis response services. Work to successfully expand CIT programs has been supported by a broad range of stakeholders coming together to create the CIT in TN Strategic Plan as a road map for continued development of CIT programs and training across the state.

In September of 2018, Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) partnered with the Davidson County and Robertson County Sheriff’s Offices to bring the National Institute of Correction’s (NIC) CIT to Tennessee. This nationally recognized training program teaches correctional staff to better manage individuals suffering from mental illness.  CIT  empowers frontline staff to not only recognize symptoms of a mental health crisis but also gives them the additional tools necessary to de-escalate a potentially critical situation.

The 40-hour training involved lectures, role-playing, and visits to facilities that specialize in mental health care. Currently, TDOC has had over 100 staff complete this invaluable training since the inaugural class.

In the Field

Columbia Conference on Mental Health Journalism & Media-Thursday Jan. 24, 8am-5pm ET Live stream a symposium presented by Columbia's School of Journalism and Department of Psychiatry for journalists as well as treatment professionals and researchers who communicate with the public on mental health and addiction issues.

NAMI's Advocacy & Public Policy team will hold a webinar tomorrow, January 23rd at 4pm ET to discuss recent federal government guidance to expand and improve mental health services under Medicaid. This   guidance , released on November 13, 2018 ,   permits states to apply for a waiver that will allow Medicaid to pay for  short-term  inpatient treatment services in an “institution for mental disease (IMD).” For additional details, please review this NAMI memo

Mental Health in the News