Kansas Mental
Health Coalition


  • September 16, 2014 11:38 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    9-16-14 (TOPEKA) – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Kari Bruffett announced today the funding of several projects to expand the number of Kansas law enforcement officers and those in related fields that are trained to deal appropriately with individuals experiencing mental health crises.

    “Some of the most significant recommendations made by the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force address the way law enforcement officers interact with the mentally ill,” Secretary Bruffett said. “The task force emphasized the need for front-line responders to receive instruction in the most effective ways to interact with individuals who suffer from mental illness. In the communities that this training has already occurred, law enforcement and corrections personnel report that it makes a huge difference in way these situations are resolved. ”

    The projects were developed as a response to recommendations made by the Kansas Governor’s Mental Health Task Force and with the guidance of the Kansas Governor’s Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Advisory Council.
    In May, Governor Sam Brownback outlined his administration’s plans for strengthening the delivery of behavioral health services in Kansas. One of the initiatives he announced was the creation of the Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Advisory Council, consisting of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary Ray Roberts, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, and Topeka Police Department Captain Bill Cochran. The council serves in an advisory capacity to review future community grants aimed at helping to keep individuals in the community and out of jails, prisons, and state hospitals. Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and Mental Health First Aid training is a part of that effort aimed at education for front-line responders.

    Read the press release.

  • September 02, 2014 11:13 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)
    Procedure to consider changes to the Consensus Recommendations - KMHC will consider amendments proposed by Coalition members at the October, November and December meetings.  Please review the current Recommendations here.  Please review the current Issue Papers here.  If your proposed amendment is a simple update to current language, please draft the amendment as it would be inserted into the current document.  If it is a new topic or action item, please draft an Issue Proposal Paper - see format here - and submit to KMHC at this link by the Friday before the meeting.

  • August 31, 2014 12:31 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Governor Brownback has issued a proclamation declaring September 7-13, 2014, Suicide Prevention Week.

  • August 25, 2014 8:07 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    State ranks 47th worst for use of powerful drugs to control behavior of residents with dementia

     Mike Shields, KHI News Service, Aug. 25, 2014

     undefined Experts say powerful antipsychotic drugs undefined sometimes given in combination undefined are used too much and often inappropriately as “chemical restraints” or sedatives to control the behavior of Kansas nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and that efforts to curb the practice so far are showing weak results compared with other states.

    “Kansas is pretty far outside the norm, clearly, of what is happening in the rest of the nation,” said Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, a Lawrence-based group that champions improved conditions in nursing homes.

    Kansas was 47th worst among the states and the District of Columbia in a recent rankings report published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which in 2012 launched a national initiative to reduce the use of antipsychotics for dementia in nursing home residents. The effort came after a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General raised concerns about too frequent “off-label” prescription of the drugs, which can have harmful, sometimes fatal, side effects.

    Read more.

  • August 20, 2014 12:27 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Rick Hoffmeister, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will provide information about the new KanCare Health Homes project focusing on adults with serious mental illness. 

    KanCare Health Homes website:  http://www.kancare.ks.gov/health_home.htm

    Kansas Health Homes:  Quick Facts   http://www.kancare.ks.gov/health_home/download/Health_Homes_Quick_Facts.pdf

    Health Homes Herald - August Newsletter:  Read Here.

  • August 06, 2014 7:55 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Kansas primary elections were held on Tuesday, August 5.  The primaries determine who will represent Democrat and Republican parties in the General Election November 4 – if there are candidates from more than one party on the ballot.

    Most current legislators were able to retain their positions Tuesday, except for three legislators from the House of Representatives.  In District 50, Rep. Josh Powell (R-Topeka)  lost his position as the Republican nominee to Fred Patton.  The difference was less than 50 votes and the race wasn’t final until the provisional ballots are counted.  The winner will face Chris Huntsman (D) in the general election.

    In District 65, Rep. Allan Rothlisberg (R-Junction City) lost the nomination to Lonnie Clark, who will run against Tom Brungardt (D) in the general election.  In District 93, Rep. Joe Edwards (R-Wichita) lost the nomination to John Whitmer, who will run against Sammy Flaharty (D) in the general election.

    There were two State Senate races determined on Tuesday.  Richard Wilborn (R-McPherson) will serve District 35 after winning a five-person primary race to replace Senator Clark Shultz, who ran for Insurance Commissioner.  Former Rep. Marshall Christmann, R-Lyons, placed third in that race.

    Molly Baumgardner, R-Louisburg, defeated Charlotte O’Hara (former Representative) to retain the senate seat for District 37.  Baumgardner had been appointed to replace Senator Pat Apple, who was appointed to the Kansas Corporation Commission.

    The top statewide office-holders were able to hold onto their Republican nominations, but many news outlets are suggesting that the vote counts were close enough to indicate some voter dissatisfaction with these incumbents.  Governor Brownback / Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer defeated Jennifer Winn with 63% of the vote.  Congressman Mike Pompeo beat Todd Tiahrt with 63%.  Senator Pat Roberts beat challenger Milton Wolf in a three-way race with only 48%.  Congressman Tim Huelskamp beat his challenger with 55% of the vote. 

    Republican Ken Selzer won the primary race for Insurance Commissioner and will represent the Republican Party in the general election in November.  There were five candidates in the race, including former Representative and (for a short time) Senator Clark Shultz.  Shultz chaired the House Insurance Committee for many years, but placed third in the race.

    For more information about the candidates, see the attached report which has several spreadsheets detailing the races – including primary results and general election information.  It is color-coded, with the explanation in the first row.

    Now is a great time to reach out and congratulate your local winners.  If there is a general election pending, be sure to offer your support to friendly candidates through financial contributions, hosting fundraisers or meet-and-greet events, and posting campaign signs on your property.

    For more information, contact KMHC by clicking here

  • June 23, 2014 10:39 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Concern, hope surround mental health funding


    LJWorld.com   June 23, 2014     by Scott Rothschild

    For years, under mental health reform, state funding was provided for low-income Kansans who didn’t qualify for Medicaid. But during the Great Recession, the grant funding to the community mental health centers was cut by 65 percent, or $20 million since 2008.

    Kansas’ system of addressing mental health issues continues to deal with funding problems and the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid, mental health advocates say.

    But they also say there are bright spots on the horizon.

    “We are taking some small steps forward,” said David Wiebe, president of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition.

    “But like so many things in the public arena, it boils down to funding, and clearly there is not enough money to meet the needs,” Wiebe said.

    The 27 Community Mental Health Centers treat about 120,000 people each year.

    But most of those people, 85,000, have neither Medicaid nor other health insurance.

    For years, under mental health reform, state funding was provided for low-income Kansans who didn’t qualify for Medicaid. But during the Great Recession, the grant funding to the community mental health centers was cut by 65 percent, or $20 million since 2008.

    A recent report by Gov. Sam Brownback’s task force on mental health said that while the state must hold the mental health system accountable with specific performance measures, it also must “ensure adequate funding is present to carry out these key tasks.”

    In response to the report, Brownback announced a $9.5 million initiative that he said would strengthen the delivery of mental health services in the state.

    Wiebe and others in the mental health community applauded the initiative as a promising start.

    “It’s very encouraging that the governor is placing a focus on mental health,” said Wiebe.

    He was particularly pleased that the plan includes $1 million for the mental health centers to provide crisis services and programs to the uninsured.

    But that is one-time funding and will be the subject of appropriations battles in years to come to continue it, he said.

    The task force report, however, was silent on the political touchy subject of expanding Medicaid.

    Currently in Kansas, parents cannot make more than $9,063 a year for a family of four to qualify for Medicaid, and in most cases, childless adults cannot qualify even if they have no income.

    But under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, states can expand Medicaid eligibility and the federal government will pay for it for three years, and pay no less than 90 percent of the cost after that.

    Brownback, a Republican and ardent opponent of the ACA, and the Republican-dominated Legislature have rejected Medicaid expansion, saying they don’t trust the federal government to pay for the bulk of it. Kansas is one of 19 states not moving forward on expanding Medicaid under the ACA.

    Recently, Brownback said more alternatives to the ACA are needed.

    “I think there are going to be more options coming out. I think as this wears on, and people have difficulty with it, and the cost structure is so high, you’ll see more options open up,” Brownback said.

    Asked if he was noting how some other states, including those led by Republican governors, were negotiating different ways to expand Medicaid, Brownback said, “We’re watching all of it, if there is a way to do it. I am more confident today than I’ve ever been that there will be other options out there by as malleable as the Obama administration has been on every other piece of Obamacare.”

    But Brownback said his primary focus on health care has been the startup of KanCare, his privatization of the state’s Medicaid program.

    Mental health advocates say failing to expand Medicaid under the ACA is a wasted opportunity.

    “That (expansion of Medicaid) is probably the biggest single thing that would help the mental health system and go a long way to providing coverage to the bulk of low income Kansans,” Wiebe said.

    Kyle Kessler, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, said he recently went to a national conference and every person he spoke to from a state that had expanded Medicaid eligibility expressed no regrets. “It makes a lot of sense to have a payer source for every patient,” Kessler said.

    Both Kessler and Wiebe, however, said they were pleased with other recent mental health developments, particularly the transformation of the Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kan., from a more long-term inpatient facility to a crisis stabilization center, which started operating last month.

    Officials say this will enable people who show excessive behaviors to receive quicker treatment and connect them faster to community services. The facility will be run by Wyandot Center, the community mental health center in Kansas City, Kan.

    “It is a go-to place for law enforcement and people in the community,” said Amy Campbell, a lobbyist for the Kansas Mental Health Coalition. “You can get screened for what you need and hopefully they can get directly into the kinds of services that you need. The idea is that it will provide the right services for people at the right time. It gives law enforcement an option to take them there instead of jail,” she said,

    Failing to provide care for people who need it will, in many cases, just leads to higher costs down the road in the criminal justice system.

    Nearly one-third of inmates in the state prison system have been diagnosed with mental illness, and nearly one in five are being treated with psychotropic medications, according to state corrections officials.

    One of the initiatives in Brownback’s plan includes $500,000 in community grants to help divert people with mental health problems from jails and prisons.

    And another part of the plan will take $7 million from reserves in a program designed to provide temporary cash assistance to the needy and use those funds for programs aimed at helping families that are experiencing mental health problems, administration officials said.

    Wiebe said helping families is crucial. “Working to help at-risk families, that is where it all begins,” he said.

    Another area of hope in the mental health community is the proposal by KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program, to start providing “health homes” for people with mental illness. This will provide both mental and physical health care for people out of a central location. “This is to make sure you are getting served as a whole person,” Campbell said.

    Campbell said she was optimistic about the future for mental health services in Kansas.

    “I feel like we are right on the edge of something good. There are many evidence-based practices that we know that will work, and hopefully we can reverse this trend of contraction that started in 2008,” she said.

  • June 03, 2014 9:44 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    One in four adults suffers some measure of mental illness each year, so Kansas Citians who’ve been affected by mental illnesses urge us all to open up. Suicide, which kills more people annually than murder, stands as the third-leading of cause of death for young people ages 18 to 24.

    Click here to read the full article at kansascity.com.

    One in four adults suffers some measure of mental illness each year, so Kansas Citians who’ve been affected by mental illnesses urge us all to open up. Suicide, which kills more people annually than murder, stands as the third-leading of cause of death for young people ages 18 to 24.

  • May 27, 2014 11:53 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Governor Sam Brownback, flanked by cabinet secretaries and advocates from across the state, today announced his administration’s plans to continue strengthening the delivery of mental health services in the State of Kansas.

    “I remain committed to strengthening and expanding access to timely, quality mental services and improving outcomes for all Kansans,” Governor Brownback said. “This is one of the priority initiatives of my administration, and we have taken some significant steps forward. We are making direct investments in ways we believe will pull the state together to address this challenge. I have asked all of the state agencies to become actively involved in coordinating their efforts.”

    The Governor outlined specific projects the state is launching to address the behavioral health needs of individuals, families and communities. Those include:

    • Creating a Behavioral Health Subcabinet composed of agency representatives from the Department of Health and Environment, Department of Children and Families, Department of Education, Department of Corrections, Department for Aging and Disability Services, and the National Guard, which will work to identify common outcomes, coordinate data systems, and look at cost related matters. The Subcabinet will oversee the preparation of a comprehensive review of behavioral health care costs and examination of how funding is allocated throughout the system. 
    • Appointing a Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Advisory Council, consisting of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary Ray Roberts, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, and Topeka Policy Department Captain Bill Cochran, which will serve in an advisory capacity to review community grant applications for $500,000 in community grants, funded through the Governor’s budget amendment, that will help keep individuals in the community and out of jail, prisons and state hospitals. Possible grant projects include Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health Courts, Jail diversion programs, and education for front-line responders. The advisory council will also help advise the Governor’s Behavioral Health Planning Council as they work to prioritize and implement law enforcement- and corrections-specific recommendations made by the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force Report.
    • Targeting substance use, which plays a significant role in exacerbating the mental health situation confronting families and institutions in Kansas; Substance abuse destroys lives and affects families, law enforcement, corrections – and ultimately our economic well-being in terms of lost productivity
    • Building and enhancing community supports through identifying at-risk communities around the state and helping them create programs that address their specific behavioral health needs. This will include $10,000 for a data project to identify the most at-risk communities in the state and $140,000 to help support 12-15 high-risk Kansas communities.
    • Increasing investment in family-strengthening programs by establishing prevention, education and family-support projects in communities across the state to help families with members who are experiencing behavioral health challenges using $7 million in TANF funding.

    And that the state will invest additional resources in existing current infrastructure, including:

    • $500,000 for Substance Use Disorder treatment beds that will allow the state to open 81 additional beds funded through the Governor’s Budget Amendment
    • $1 million in one-time money to be used for Community Mental Health Centers to strengthen their ability to provide treatment to individuals without health insurance 

    “To this point we have concentrating on building our infrastructure. Now we are beginning to invest in specific programs. What we are doing fits into the Mental Health Task Force’s model of investing at each level – individual, family, community, state – that can impact mental health in Kansas,” Governor Brownback said.

  • May 07, 2014 3:23 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Kansas has prepared the FFY 2014 Federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program application that will be submitted to the US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance on June 2, 2014.  The Kansas Statewide Strategic Plan for FY 2015-2018 will accompany the federal application.  These documents are pending final approval by the Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.  The application and state strategy are currently available for public comment through May 23, 2014 at https://governor.ks.gov/serving-kansans/grants-program/grant_opportunities/edward-j-byrne-memorial-justice-assistance-grant.

    Amy Kramer, Grant Analyst

    Governor's Grants Program

    Landon State Office Building, Rm 304North

    900 SW Jackson Street

    Topeka, KS  66612

    Voice: 785.291.3205

    Fax:  785.291.3204



    "Creating S.A.F.E. Communities"

(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4744, Topeka, KS  66604  785-969-1617

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