From the State House
The 190th Session of the Massachusetts Legislature commenced in January. This month,
the legislative committees were formed and the process of referring bills to committee
Bills concerning behavioral health, mental illness, mental health services and Department
of Mental Health oversight are referred to the Joint Committee on Mental Health,
Substance Abuse and Recovery.
Based upon a review of the initial fifty-three referred bills, there are two bills that have
significant support, which is evidenced by the fact that there are companion bills in the
House and Senate and that a significant number of House and Senate members signed
on to the bill.
Each bill would establish specialized psychiatric units.
Petitioners: 46 Senate and House members
Summary: Establishes at least two intensive stabilization and treatment units for patients
whose behavior requires specialized care. Comprehensive evaluation,
psychiatric treatment shall include, but not be limited to: violence assessments, behavioral
management consultation, interpersonal conflict resolution strategies, critical incident de-briefings
and transfer evaluations. Upon stabilization, the staff on the unit shall develop a plan for
the safe and timely transfer of the patient out of the intensive stabilization and treatment
Petitioners: 42 Senate and House members
Summary: Establishes a Behavioral Health Emergency Department Relief Pilot Program
for high acuity behavioral health and dual diagnosis patients from emergency departments in the
Southeast region (including the Cape & Islands) when an appropriate placement cannot be located
within four hours of admission to the emergency department. Patients admitted to the pilot program
will be cared for until an appropriate placement is found that meets the patients' needs, which shall
be no more than fourteen days following admission to the pilot program. The program shall be
operated by the Department of Mental Health and located on the campus of Taunton State Hospital.
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To view all bills referred to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery,
To find your state senator and representative, go to
The Kennedy Forum released a report "Navigating the New Frontier of Mental Health and Addiction:
A Guide for the 115th Congress."
The report 82-page report offers dozens of
recommendations for Congress, which are grouped into
I. Access to Services
II. Prevention and Early Intervention
III. Vulnerable Populations
IV. Behavioral Health Workforce
V. Social Determinants
One of the recommendations addresses parity for inpatient mental health care:
Remove Barriers to Inpatient Treatment in Medicaid and Medicare
We must remove the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion-a law from the 1960s
meant to prevent dilapidated facilities from refilling their beds when Medicare/Medicaid was
passed-which has instead become the single largest impediment to quality inpatient mental health
care, by preventing many facilities from getting Medicaid reimbursement for patients between the
ages of 22 and 64. The original purpose of the IMD exclusion was noble- preventing the snakepits
that "treated" people with mental illness with barbarous methods from perpetuating mistreatment
with federal funding. However, much has changed in the last five decades and it's time for the law
to align with current realities. The IMD exclusion is a gross parity violation, there is no valid
justification for its continued existence, and it greatly hinders efforts to secure treatment for the
most vulnerable in our society.
DMH Individual and Family Support
The Department of Mental Health's Family Support Plan FY2017 Annual Individual and Family Support Plan describes DMH services and initiatives. DMH explains the processes used to obtain input from families of individuals who receive DMH- funded services.
The Plan includes a description of DMH community services and FY2015 funding levels.
DMH describes Community Based Flexible Supports (CBFS) as the cornerstone Community Based Flexible Supports (CBFS) community mental health system for adults. Indeed, CBFS spending was eight times more than other community services combined in FY2015.
Adult Case Management Services: $15,823,794
Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT): $ 13,485,500
Recovery Learning Communities (RLC) -$ 3,549,787
Community Based Flexible Supports (CBFS) -$269,638,673
The original DMH contracts for CBFS services expire in 2017 and DMH is in the process of re-designing the service model.
For more information go to: