Fax from Albany
April 30, 2004
Board Members, Affiliate Executive Directors, Interested Parties
Joseph A. Glazer, Esq., President/CEO
(518) 434-0439 ext. 20
of MHANYS’ April 28th Press Release:
Health Advocates Blast Sexual Predator
Civil Lock-Up Proposal
“If we can double the criminal penalty for speeding
in a work zone, we can double the penalty
for being a violent sexual predator,” Glazer says
Mental health advocates today called the Senate passage of legislation
to contain sexual predators in state psychiatric hospitals a case of mistaken
identity. “This is a criminal justice issue, not a mental health
issue!” stated MHANYS’ President/CEO Joseph Glazer.
issue, defeated in 1998 by mental health advocates led by MHANYS, has
again surfaced. Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno expressed
concerns about the post-incarceration release of sexual predators into
the community. The proposal, S.5556 (Senator Volker), would allow the
state to involuntarily and civilly commit violent sexual offenders after
they have served their criminal sentence. Mental health advocates reject
the plan and its underlying supposition.
“This, is pure and simple, a problem of the failure of our criminal
justice system. Because of the vulnerability of victims, with which we
are certainly familiar, many of these cases are resolved through plea
agreements, as trials are necessarily avoided. The end result is that
violent sexual predators are getting out of prison too soon.
1995, New York State passed a law doubling the penalty for speeding in
a work zone. If we can double the criminal penalty for speeding in a work
zone, we can double the penalty for being a violent sexual predator,”
to mental health experts, for the vast majority of these offenders, there
is no effective mental health treatment, and only some forms of sexual
violence are even identified as having mental health as a component of
the act. For this law to be implemented, a new definition of mental defect
has to be adopted – one that does not currently exist in the law.
people with mental health needs have very little protection in our criminal
justice system. Yet a proposal like this, which will place the predator
in with the prey, will do nothing to resolve that issue, either,”
Rearing Its Ugly Head: As you all may recall, MHANYS worked very hard
last year to help Assemblyman Rivera and his colleagues stem a last minute
effort by the Governor and others to force a Preferred Drug List into
the state’s Medicaid program. This issue has always been a complicated
one, as many look at escalating Medicaid costs to both the state and the
county, and do not see the problem with placing restrictions on the medications
available to the poorest, sickest, and most vulnerable New Yorkers. MHANYS,
and over 20 other organizations, have maintained that this is exactly
the path New York must avoid. The prospect of saving pennies per pill,
while emergency room costs skyrocket and the overall health of New York’s
most at-risk communities deteriorates even further, is not a cost we can
most of this year’s legislative session, it had appeared that we
had successfully beaten this program back. But within the past week, the
PDL has once again surfaced to threaten those living with mental illness
and chronic health conditions in New York - a population that is much
more likely than the average New Yorker to rely upon Medicaid for services.
is again leading a charge against the PDL. We are out in front, asking
everyone to take part in a campaign to defeat the PDL. The first action
we will be taking is a phone-in day on Monday, May 10. A flyer for the
year, many throughout Albany told us that a PDL was going to happen, whether
we liked it or not. We stuck to our position and against all odds, we
beat it. We can do so again this year, but we will again need your help
to ensure that Medicaid is protected for those who need it most.
Timothy’s Law Events Around the State: Next week, there will
be two major Timothy’s Law events, one in Albany, one in Watertown.
Albany, an overnight vigil will be held on the steps of the Capitol from
the evening of April 4th into Timothy O’Clair’s birthday,
April 5th. The flyer for the Albany vigil follows.
Watertown, Timothy’s Law supporters will hold a march and rally
on Thursday, May 6th. The march will begin at the Northern Regional Center
for Independent Living (NRCIL) at 3:00 p.m. and will end with the rally
at the State Office Building, which will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Afterward,
a “Pizza for Parity” party will be held at NRCIL. Additional
information regarding the events in Watertown on May 6th is available
to Save Your Prescription Drugs
May 10, 2004
now, elected officials in Albany are trying to save a few pennies by limiting
access to prescription drugs for the sickest and most vulnerable New Yorkers.
take a few minutes to call:
- Governor Pataki – (518) 474-8390
- Your Senator – (518) 455-2800 – Ask for your Senator
- Your Assemblymember – (518) 455-4100 – Ask for your member
am calling because I want you to oppose a Preferred Drug List within
Medicaid. I want you to protect access to the proper medications for
all New Yorkers.”
know who your Legislator is, but still want to call?
Find them at the Board of Elections website: http://map01.elections.state.ny.us/boe/main.asp.
the full PDF version of this flyer.
and Birth date Memorial
In observance of Timothy O’Clair’s birthday
- Monday, May 3rd
12:00 noon Press Conference featuring personal stories from families and
individuals about difficulties accessing mental health and chemical dependency
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm Deliver flyers to Senators in the Capitol at Senate Chambers.
(call Lauri Cole at 461-8200 for more information)
- Tuesday, May 4th
- 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm Deliver flyers to Senators in the Capitol at Senate
Chambers. (call Jeff Wise at 436-5612 for more information)
5:30 pm Press conference and sharing stories on the east side of the Capitol.
Legislators and advocates will read from our journal of personal stories.
5:30 pm to 9:00 am Tom O’Clair to hold overnight vigil at Capitol for
- Wednesday, May 5th
- 7:00 to 9:00am Vigil outside the Capitol. At 8:00am there will be an observance
of Timothy’s Birthday.
10:30am to noon Deliver flyers to Senators in the Capitol at Senate Chambers.
(call Rachel Greco at 462-2000 or cell 469-7965 for more information)
For more information
Noelle Sala 518-465-3546 or a email@example.com or
Ruth Foster 518-432-0333 x 15 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Flyer Distributed to the NYS Senate:
29th marks the two-year anniversary of President Bush’s
call for passage of mental health parity legislation.
from the President’s April 29, 2002 speech at the University of
country must make a commitment: Americans with mental illness deserve
our understanding, and they deserve excellent care. They deserve a health
care system that treats their illness with the same urgency as physical
plans too often place greater restrictions on the treatment of mental
illness than on the treatment of other medical illnesses. As a result,
some Americans are unable to get effective medical treatments that would
allow them to function well in their daily lives. Our health insurance
system must treat serious mental illness like any other disease."
Bush, 69 US Senators, 245 Members of the US House of Representatives,
58 NYS Senators, 131 NYS Assemblymembers, and 81% of New York residents
support the passage of mental health parity legislation.
No More Baloney - Pass Timothy’s Law!
For more information on Timothy’s Law, go to www.mhanys.org/timothyslaw
the full PDF version of this flyer.
the lobbying money on Timothy's Law. Letter to the Editor
Albany Times Union, April 23, 2004
support of your goal of improving the process of state government, I would
like to "connect the dots" on two stories you published in the
first story detailed the fact that paid lobbyists will spend nearly $120
million to impact the behavior of state lawmakers this legislature session.
With a 98 percent re-election rate for incumbents, whose carefully gerrymandered
districts create only token opposition; campaign expenses would not seem
to justify such largess.
second story was a column that expressed the frustration of advocates
for Timothy's Law who were at a loss as to how a bill with more than 30
co-sponsors could not gain passage in the state Senate. Sen. Thomas Libous,
it was explained, "had a problem" with the bill as passed by
the pharmaceutical companies and the health insurance companies having
huge financial interests in keeping children on profitable (albeit potentially
dangerous) drug regimens and out of costly treatment programs that might
cure their illnesses, these corporate giants hold a significant advantage
over needy children and their families.
therefore suggest that the Times Union, along with the New York Public
Interest Research Group, request that the state comptroller and attorney
general conduct an audit trail of contributions from pharmaceutical and
health insurance companies to members of the state Senate and follow that
trail into the bank accounts of key lawmakers such as Sen. Libous.
advocacy on behalf of these emotionally disturbed children would mean
a giant leap forward in cleaning up our legislative process and improving
the human condition within New York state.
to close Four Winds, says hospital failed to improve.
Syracuse Post Standard, April 27, 2004
include unsanitary conditions, "inherently dangerous" practices.
regulators will close Four Winds hospital in Syracuse because they say
the psychiatric facility is incapable of fixing a litany of problems,
including filthy conditions, lack of supervision and use of dangerous
patient restraint practices.
a letter sent to Four Winds on Monday, the state Office of Mental Health
said it will revoke the hospital's operating certificate unless it agrees
to voluntarily surrender the certificate.
state's action stems from an inspection it conducted last month that turned
up serious, widespread deficiencies at the 107-bed private hospital at
650 S. Salina St. The state ordered Four Winds to shut off admissions
March 26 following that inspection. Those problems were similar to deficiencies
inspectors discovered at the facility two years ago.
the letter, James B. McQuide of the state Office of Mental Health wrote,
". . . it is clear that the corrective action implemented two years
ago at Four Winds/Syracuse was neither sustained nor effective."
said his agency is not confident a plan of correction submitted by Four
Winds would lead to permanent improvements. He also said the agency doesn't
believe the hospital can ensure basic patient rights.
Winds officials said they were stunned by the state's decision, which
they learned of Monday evening.
Marron, the hospital's director of community relations, said Four Winds
has been working hard to correct the deficiencies and it expected the
state to approve its plan of correction. The state never returned to conduct
a formal follow-up survey after last month's inspection, Marron said.
Inspectors with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
visited the hospital in recent weeks and were impressed with the changes
they saw, he said.
Timothy’s Law with state budget. Letter to the Editor
Democrat and Chronicle, April 27, 2004
April 4 editorial “Get on board” makes mention of the burden
Medicaid has placed upon counties in New York, “creating huge deficits
for counties statewide, including Monroe.” As a state, we must not
only work to find solutions to this problem, but also protect access to
the services that so many individuals on Medicaid rely upon. One way to
accomplish this goal would be to pass Timothy’s Law as part of this
Law was written to require insurance companies to provide coverage for
mental health and chemical dependency services at the same level they
do for physical ailments. Because some parents are left without adequate
mental health insurance for their children, hundreds, possibly thousands,
are forced to relinquish custody of their children to the state so that
the children can become Medicaid eligible and access the unlimited mental
health services afforded to all Medicaid recipients. When this occurs,
children are placed in costly residential facilities at taxpayer expense.
are left subsidizing the multibillion-dollar health insurance industry
so that they may continue their discriminatory practices against those
living with mental illness.
Timothy’s Law as part of the budget is sound policy that will decrease
costs for New York’s families, and New York’s Medicaid system.
I urge our government officials to examine this possibility, and the significant
savings, in greater detail.
A. GLAZER, ALBANY
Glazer is president and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New York
next time, we remain,
Working to ensure available and accessible
mental health services for all New Yorkers