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About that D rating

March 19, 2009
by Ann Borders
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I noticed that Fearless Editor Doug is polling you to see whether you agree with the NAMI report card score assigned to your state. (I won't steal Doug's thunder and divulge the findings so far.)

I’m curious to learn your reactions to the D rating assigned to the nation’s behavioral health system—and also to the scores for your respective states. Fair? Unfair? Right on? Or, “Wonder which state they have us confused with?” Would love to hear your thoughts!

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I know the National Council and NAMI have been working togethermaybe they will on the next report?

I'm impressed by the opinions that the NAMI ratings should actually be lower in some states. But not surprised, though, because the provider community takes its advocacy role seriously, even though the path might be a bit different from NAMI's.

I would agree with the 'D' rating for Indiana. When we received our previous 'D' and the cabinet secretary was quoted as blaming the previous administration for the low score, I asked him exactly when the administration would take ownership of the state's mental health program (they'd been in office for two years at that point). His response was a terse, "It will happen through the transformation efforts of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction." Well, the way I see it, transformation without money is like trying to transform an aging house without any funds for rehabilitation.

Wouldn't it be interesting if there was some form of collaboration between NAMI and the provider community in the design of the survey? I think we'd have something to offer. I'm going to send this blog string to NAMI and see what they think. I'll let you know what happens.

Connecticut once again got a B. However, no one looked at children's BH, or the transistions to the adult system and gave the state this grade. The community system is woefully underfunded, with no relief in sight. We began doing more with supportive housing, but now all funds for new projects have stopped. I am concerned that the grade will allow complacency.

The grade for Maryland was way too generous. The third or fourth richest state in the nation and the mental health system is mired in mediocrity. Plus, there has been a moratorium on the development of affordable housing for people with psychiatrically disabilities for eight years. The state ought to get an F just for that. A B? Come on!

Update: It's been eight days and no response from NAMI. (See March 30 blog.) I wrote three different people there. Hum.

Our poll, so far: 42% agree with their state's ranking, 58% do not. Still no states with an A, and I imagine it will be many years before one could achieve that level.

Ann Borders

President and CEO, Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc

http://cumminsbhs.org/

Ann Borders is president and CEO of Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., serving eight...