Mar 022012

The Kansas Consumer Advisory Council for Adult Mental Health (CAC) has been busy behind the scenes; working hard to secure the CAC’s future, carry on current CAC programs and initiatives, and advocate for consumers across the state.  Here is some of the good, the bad and the maybe that has come about lately.

First some bad news – As most of you are aware due to funding cuts there will be no Recovery Conference this year.   The board is however looking into hosting some type of event, perhaps a mini-conference or fundraising event in conjunction with the annual meeting and Board elections. 

Now Some Good News -A small amount of money has been made available to the CAC, by SRS, which should help us to make it through the current fiscal year.  In addition Gary Parker spoke before the Social Services Legislative Committee recently in an effort to get at least partial state funding restored.  As a follow-up, two legislators have agreed to work with us to get a line item or other language, which would restore funding,  inserted into this season’s budget legislation. We are still a long way from getting this to the floor of the legislature and more support is still needed, so contact those legislators and urge them to support the CAC and other consumer efforts.

Advocacy Day – March 6, 2012 – there is still time to be a part of Kansas Mental Health Advocacy Day 2012 – Click here for a flier with complete details.

A reminder to Board and staff, that the conference call scheduled for March 6 has been canceled due to the conflict with Advocacy Day and will be rescheduled for a later date.  Watch for an email with the details.

The CAC had submitted a proposal to host an inclusive disabilities conference, but was informed that it did not receive the grant.  It was instead awarded to the low bidder.  Costs are becoming an increasing factor in awarding grants and funding organizations and the issue has been raised by national associations and others whether the CAC needs to reduce the size of its board as a cost cutting method.  The simplest method would be to elect one instead of two representatives from each area.  The reduction would probably be phased in over three years as new members are elected.  Watch for a survey in the new future soliciting your input on this and perhaps other issues.  (Those areas up for election this year are Representatives for Regions 5 and 6, Emerging Leaders and General Advocacy.)

In the Maybe Category – As a part of the proposed restructuring of the state’s Medicaid program to a managed care system, the CAC has been approached by companies submitting proposals to the state about the possibility of the CAC becoming a supervising body for Certified PEER Specialists.  Under the proposal CROs could utilize PEER Specialists to a greater degree than presently allowed and bill Medicaid for the cost.  This could result in more access to PEER Specialists, as well as additional funding to CRO’s and the CAC.  The CAC presented the idea, as well as a detailed listing of PRO’s and CON’s to CRO leaders at the CRO Outreach in February.  The CAC will continue to pursue this possibility, pending more input from consumers and details of the proposed program.  In a somewhat related initiative, the CAC continues to pursue the possibility of establishing a NAOPS (National Association of Peer Specialists) chapter in Kansas. 

More Good News – The CAC is currently on target to successfully wrap up the third year of a SAMHSA grant to develop and promote a trauma informed care initiative throughout the state.  The curriculum has been finished and was presented at three pilot sites during February.( A forth training was reschduled due to bad weather.)  A special thanks to all who helped develop the program and to those who participated in the trainings.  Hopefully this brings us one step closer to recognizing the role that  trauma so often plays in the lives of consumers of mental health services and developing an even more compassionate and caring system to assist them in their recoveryFor more information on Trauma Informed Care, contact: Chris White, by email at:chriswhiteatkansascacdotorg  (chriswhiteatkansascacdotorg)   Or by phone at (913) 240-8667

The CAC has become an active participant in the Kansas Mental Health Coalition.  The Coalition, especially Rick Cagen of NAMI Kansas, have been very helpful to us in pursuing the reestablishment of state funding. The Coalition meets the last Wednesday of each month from 9:00 – 11:30 am at Valeo Behavioral Health Care, 330 Oakley, Topeka, KS 66606.  Board and staff members are encourage to participate in person or by teleconference.  The teleconference phone link is available from RickCagen (785-233-0755).

Finally, a plug for our forum.  The CAC forum remains a very underutilized resource for sharing ideas, opinions and resources and for encouraging each other.  Participation is pretty straight forward.  Just click on this link .  Register (if you haven’t already) and wait for a password to be emailed to you.  Then log-in, click on a topic you are interested in (or start a new one) then type away.  If you have questions or need help, contact our webmaster, Mike Freed (mikefreedatcoxdotnet  (mikefreedatcoxdotnet)    or 316-737-6505).  He will be glad to help you with it.  Please share this information with your fellow consumers and encourage them to participate as well.