Dear Supporters,
I hope everyone is warm and comfortable in all corners of the state after the record snowfall over the last few weeks! Despite the weather, we did manage to share our legislative priorities for the 2015-2016 session with the House and Senate, developing a solid roster of cosponsors. See the bottom of this email for more the CMHC's priorities and to find a fact sheet on each one.

We have a few additional updates, including an exciting new project the Campaign is launching to address the problem of pediatric psychiatric emergency department boarding, so please read on!

CMHC Funded to Address Emergency Department Boarding

The CMHC has received a grant from the C.F. Adams Charitable Trust for a project whose goal is to develop a better understanding of psychiatric "boarding," a problem facing children and adolescents with mental health disorders, their caregivers, health care providers, and hospitals across the Commonwealth. 


"Boarding" occurs when a person in mental health crisis requires inpatient psychiatric care, but there are no clinically appropriate resources, leading to prolonged stays in hospital Emergency Departments (EDs) or on medical units. With MSPCC as the coordinating agency, each of the five lead CMHC organizations has a role in the 3-year project, which includes gathering data from hospitals, interviewing and surveying parents, and legal research, as well as developing a symposium of experts and stakeholders to create viable solutions. Once possible solutions are identified, the CMHC will work with partners and allies to develop and advance a set of strategic policy recommendations which, when implemented, will address the underlying causes of boarding and facilitate access to care for children with serious mental illness.


This project had just launched and we are excited to share the news with the CMHC Supporters network. If you are interested in learning more about the project and how you can be involved, please reach out to Courtney at cchelo@mspcc.org or by phone at 617-587-1513.


Learning Opportunity: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

The US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have introduced a four-part webinar series on the prevention of expulsion and suspension practices in early childhood education settings. The invitation states:

The series will feature key experts from across the country who have done work on different aspects of the issue, including policy, research and data, and prevention/intervention. Please RSVP for each individual webinar at its respective link below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

 Webinar 1-Basic Research, Data Trends, and the Pillars of Prevention
February 11, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. eastern time
 Webinar 2-Establishing Federal, State, and Local Policies
February 18, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. eastern time
 Webinar 3-Program Quality and Professional Development: A Look at Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support Systems Through Diversity-Informed Tenets
February 25, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. eastern time
 Webinar 4-Using Data Systems To Track and Reduce Expulsion and Suspension
March 4, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. eastern time

Mental Health Parity Update

CMHC Executive Committee member Health Law Advocates shares this update on mental health parity:


As you may know, we are eagerly anticipating new and improved guidance from CMS about how the federal parity law applies to Medicaid managed care plans. This article from Kaiser Health News will be of interest to those monitoring the situation - it features a Q&A with Emily Feinstein of CASAColumbia discussing some of the potential impacts of the upcoming CMS rules.


Legislative Update

Thank you for your calls and emails to the legislature to encourage cosponsors for the CMHC's legislative agenda! Given the snow, the state has not yet updated it's website with bill language and final cosponsor lists. As soon as that information is online we will share it with you so that you may track legislation more easily. At that time we will also circulate details about the CMHC endorsement process. If you are aware of legislation related to the goals and mission of the CMHC, please keep an eye out for those instructions, coming your way soon.

Lead Sponsors: Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan and Representative Elizabeth A. Malia

HD 1016 - An Act Regarding Proportional Payments of the MA Child Psychiatric Access Project
Lead Sponsors: Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan and Representative Ruth B. Balser

SD 808 - An Act Relative to Preventing Adolescent Substance Abuse by Expanding SBIRT
Lead Sponsors: Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan and Representative Kay Khan

Lead Sponsors: Senator Jason M. Lewis and Representative Elizabeth A. Malia

Lead Sponsor: Senator Jason M. Lewis and Representative Ruth B. Balser

As always, thank you for all that you do. Please don't hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions.




Courtney Chelo