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Here’s How You Can Help Support The Following Legislative Bills!

Dear NAMI Massachusetts Members, 

The New Year marks the beginning of a new legislative session. With our combined efforts, NAMI Massachusetts advocates for those affected by mental illness and their families through our legislative priorities. This year, there are a number of bills that have been filed on behalf of NAMI Massachusetts by our partners in the state legislature. Many of you have asked us how you can help us spread the word. Here’s how:

 

Outreach

Contact your local state representative and state senator and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bills listed below. Each of the below listed bills have been officially filed, but now we need to gather co-sponsors for these bills. The more legislators that sign onto a bill, the greater weight the bill will carry.

The deadline for legislative co-sponsors is the 30th of January, 2015.

You can find your local legislators’ contact information here: Find a Legislator

House Docket # 789 – An Act Requiring Mental Health Parity for Disability Policies Sponsored by Representative Ruth Balser

This legislation eliminates the discriminatory practice that allows insurance companies to end long term disability benefits for people with mental illness after two years, even as policies for those with a physical illness provides coverage while person is under care of doctor and until age 65.

Senate Docket # 682 – An Act Relative to Police Training Sponsored by  Senator Jason Lewis

This bill dramatically increases funding for training of police officers and requires that all future training include enhanced mental health components and specific Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). It creates an automobile insurance surcharge costing consumers less than 25 cents a month which will generate enough revenue to sustain consistent and adequate training through the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) and the State Police.

House Docket #894 An Act to Require Health Care Coverage or the Emergency Psychiatric Services Sponsored by Senator Kenneth Donnelly

House Docket # 804 – An Act to Require Health Care Coverage or the Emergency Psychiatric Services Sponsored by Senator Jason Lewis 

These two bills are identical and each requires commercial insurance companies to pay for behavioral health emergency services provided by emergency services providers (ESPs) across the state.  Currently, children and adults on MassHealth are covered by ESP providers but many people with private health insurance are not.

Senate Docket # 963 – An Act Relative to Mental Health Certified Peer Specialists Sponsored by Senator James Eldridge

This legislation requires MassHealth to cover certified peer specialist services, provided that said certified peer specialist has completed training that teaches participating consumers specific skills relevant to providing peer support to other consumers.

Thank you for your support in NAMI Massachusetts’s advocacy efforts.

Sincerely,

Laurie Martinelli

Executive Director