December 2020
Helping families, providers and facilities obtain medically necessary mental health and autism treatments through health insurance.
Reflections on 2020

As we approach the year’s end, it is important to take time to reflect on all that has transpired, good and bad, in our journey around the sun. This year has been a year like none other in so many ways. Covid-19 has sadly claimed the lives of over 300,000 Americans, it has taxed our health care system, our mental health system, and our educational system.  Our nation’s youth have had to adjust to going to school remotely, which in turn has taken a huge toll on the mental health and functioning of those who are vulnerable in any way. Many children with autism, ADHD, and any type of learning or mental health need have been extremely challenged in transitioning from in-person to remote learning. While some programs have heroically managed to continue to deliver in-person treatments, many others have had to deliver care and educate remotely, placing a huge stressor on families.  With the creation of at least two highly effective vaccines, there is hope that some degree of relief could be in sight.   
Thanks to Heroic and Creative Providers and Facilities

MHAIP has had a busy year. We have seen an increase in our caseload, as many clients’ emotional isolation worsened during this difficult time. Many day-treatment programs have had to deliver care remotely, intensifying the need for residential mental health services.  Many residential facilities kept their doors open throughout, realizing that they provide an essential service, and weathering Covid outbreaks in the process. To serve those with autism, many behavioral health providers have intensified efforts to deliver services remotely or in small pods, and developed a wealth of tools and best practices which will serve those in remote areas well into the future. The health insurance industry quickly realized that they had to “step up” and cover virtual services for those with mental health and autism. We are all the better for this change and flexibility.
CA Improved Parity Act:  Next Stop, The Feds

In CA, we got our improved Mental Health Parity Act passed into law, in part because our legislators and governor were able to see the mental health vulnerability of so many. With even more lawsuits with favorable verdicts, the tide is starting to turn, and health plans are slowly starting to get the message that they need to take mental health parity seriously.  CA’s law may serve as a model for other states in the future.

Given that more than half of commercial plans are regulated at the federal level, with a new administration, 2021 promises to be a good year to try to educate federal legislators on the need to provide better regulation of self-funded plans, including tracking and monitoring of external reviews and making sure that consumers' cases get reviewed fairly in both internal and external reviews.

The Parity Enforcement Act, which would allow the Department of Labor to take action against insurance companies that violate the Federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, will be a great place to start.

Establishment of the Feda Fund
As an organization, we lost Feda Almaliti and her son, Mohammed to a tragic house fire. Feda was a valued and loved board member whose vision had guided us through many years. We established the “Feda Fund” with donations from many who were touched by all she had given of herself to our community. This fund is already assisting two families: we filed an external review for a young adult with autism who was unable to access speech therapy through his Medi-Cal managed care plan; and we were able to continue to assist a child from a family of ten, who had retained our services to appeal a denial for residential mental health, but was unable to continue paying. Writing appeals and external review requests, and providing direct advocacy services takes a significant amount of time from highly trained advocates. It is an expensive process.

We will need your continued financial support to be able to keep this wonderful program, and Feda and Mu’s memories alive.   
Thank you to all who gave generously to #GivingTuesday, and thank you to all who will give at year’s end.  Your donation is so appreciated. May you all have a joyous and healthy 2021
Executive Director and Founder
Feda and Mu
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Donate Now to our General Fund

The General Fund supplements our sliding scale program, pays for educational seminars and workshops for families and professionals, and allows us to provide free advice to families needing help with insurance.
Thank You to All Who Have Given Generously
Bronte Abraham 
Michelle Barker 
Elizabeth Bell and Simon Pang 
Helen Bernett 
Beth Boullianne 
Megan Cicolello 
DeColores Arts 
Lori De Crinis 
Nu Dong 
Jeanne and Dave Dyess 
Meredith Fahn 
Bette-Ann and Norbert Fessel 
Fenexia Foundation 
Rachel Force 
Jude Francis 
Amanda Goodsell 
Carin Gummo 
Nea Hanscomb
Patricia Hines  
Leah Hoskin 
Jane Howard 
Sarah C Jones 
Steven Keisman 
Sonya Khan
Lisa Lammens  
Laura Levandowski 
Mimi Lou 
Angelika Meyer 
Alfred Murabito 
Scot Morrison and Lilia Babe 
Linda Owczarz 
Tara Perkins 
Thomas Phillips 
Elaine Pun 
Jurgen Reich 
Lara Sandora 
Howard Savin 
 K Alexander Shangraw 
Andrea Sinclair 
Hunter and Marcy Smith 
Amy Tessler 
Lisa Thompson 
Louis and Marcie Werman 
Jorge and Corie Wong