Take Action

March is National Social Work Month!

Each and every day, social workers confront some of the most challenging issues facing individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth. Together, they serve some our most vulnerable populations — tackling the opioid crisis, keeping at-risk children safe, providing critical mental health services and more. Whether directly or indirectly, we’ve all been touched their critical work.

That’s why National Social Worker Appreciation Month is so important: it is time to recognize the immeasurable impact these talented professionals have in our communities.

Join Governor Charlie Baker, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, State Senate President Stan Rosenberg and many others in sending your message of thanks today. Use the links above to tweet, send an e-card or post your photo. Let’s show our social workers just how much their work is appreciated in Massachusetts!

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Let Your Legislators Know About Your Frustration

Contact Your Representative and Senator today and let them know how frustrated you are with the status quo of insurance companies and urge them to pass the CliniciansUNITED Priority Anti-Trust Immunity Bill (SB 649)

As clinicians, we know that Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) reconsiders their reimbursement rates annually and begins paying the new rates every September. But we never know what the new rates will be until we see the change in our reimbursements in September. Clinicians and agencies that provide critical mental health services deserve to have input into this process, and also need enough notice to plan for changes in cash flow. This is just another example of why we need to pass SB 649. To learn more about our priority legislation click here .

Click here to reach out to your Representative and Senator and urge them to tell the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing about the changes to the BCBS contract and why Senate Bill 649 needs a favorable review from the committee.

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Private Practice Input Needed by Department of Public Health

Currently the Department of Public Health (DPH) is putting together a new Behavioral Health State Health Resource Plan and is looking for input from providers and the public. They specifically say in their plan that: “Behavioral health system data are particularly weak for the community outpatient system of clinics, independent professionals, group practices and other specialty organizations not under contract with the state.” This is why our input is crucial.

What can we do? 

Click here to see the the slides that they will be presenting at the public hearings. Please feel free to forward this information to others so that they have the opportunity to attend these informational hearings and provide their input and thoughts on the state health plan.

If you could also send any comments you submit to Julie Balasalle, Clinician Organizer, and myself (jbalsalle@seiu509.org and mhugo@seiu509.org) it would also be greatly appreciated.

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TAKE ACTION to Ensure Mental Health Transparency in MassHealth

Take Action ButtonEach year, Massachusetts taxpayers pay millions of dollars to behavioral health carve-out companies through MassHealth  — but unlike other state-supported entities, these companies are not subjected to any transparency requirements.With two-thirds of MassHealth Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) using separate entities to manage behavioral health services, these contracts can have a huge impact on access to care.

That’s why CliniciansUNITED supports Section 188 of the proposed State Budget, which requires transparency in MassHealth’s behavioral health carve-out contracts. Clinicians understand the profound impact contractual terms can have on the affordability of and access to mental health services, and the terms of MassHealthcontracts are no different. These agreements must be made public and transparent to ensure accessibility to mental health care is not hindered in any way.

We need to make our voices heard to ensure Governor Patrick supports this important section of the State Budget. Click here to send your message to the governor today.

Without this information, it is impossible to know how much money MassHealth spends on behavioral health services for its members or what policies might prevent or increase access to services. By approving Section 188 of the budget, Governor Patrick can bring the Commonwealth one step closer to ensuring mental health care is prioritized — and make equal access to quality care a reality.

Governor Patrick will make his final budget decisions early this week, so be sure to make your voice heard. The entire process only takes a few minutes!

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Behavioral Health Task Force: WE DID IT!

Thanks to your many emails and calls to state legislators, we were successful in ensuring independent mental health clinicians have a voice on the new Behavioral Health Task Force! We could not have been successful without the amazing leadership of Representative Patricia Haddad. Please join us in signing the ‘Thank You’ note to Representative Haddad for her hard work on behalf of clinicians and human service workers in the state budget!

Budget Amendment 146, authored by Representative Patricia Haddad, was ultimately included in the final House Budget. The measure grants SEIU Local 509 a seat on the new Behavioral Health Task Force, thereby ensuring the unique and valuable perspectives of clinicians in private practice, front-line behavioral health workers at state agencies and clinicians in private sector human service agencies are included in this important work.

 

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Take Action to Secure True Mental Health Parity

Support Parity Now_feature2State Senator Brian Joyce recently filed Senate Bill 1959An Act Ensuring Parity for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment.

As you know, mental health parity has often been named as a top priority by Bay State elected officials and regulators — but, in practice, the results have been mixed, at best.

Senate Bill 1959 would provide a legal avenue to address denied mental health coverage with insurance companies. This bill is long overdue and sends an important message to insurance companies that they must recognize that mental health services are a vital and necessary treatment that must be covered.

Please contact your local legislators today on this important bill. Ask them to urge the Chairs of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee to give SB1959 a favorable report.

Click here to send a message to your Representative and Senator on the importance of true mental health parity.

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Thank Governor Patrick for Supporting Outpatient Mental Health Services

Patrick Outpatient Rate Thank You FEATUREGovernor Patrick recently signed a supplemental budget that raises reimbursement rates for outpatient mental health services provided by MassHealth — and we at CliniciansUNITED would like to thank him for his support!

As you know, neither public nor private reimbursement rates have not kept up with the actual costs of providing vital mental health services. To change this dynamic, we need to keep up the pressure on key decisionmakers when they’re wrong, but also show support for them when they’re right on the issues.

Please contact the Governor and thank him for supporting a supplemental budget that includes increased reimbursement rates for outpatient mental health services.

Click here to send your ‘thank you’ message to Governor Patrick. 

And when you’re done, invite colleagues to do the same through our easy-to-use Share Page.

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Take Action to ‘Raise Up’ Massachusetts

RaiseUpMAlogo_purple_340x250pCo-Chaired by SEIU Local 509 president Susan Tousignant, Raise Up Massachusetts is a coalition of more than 100 labor, faith, and community organizations working to place the minimum wage and earned sick time on the November 2014 ballot. If passed, we will raise living standards for more than a million working families in Massachusetts — including many of the clients we work with every day.

Clinicians have always fought to improve the quality of life of our clients and the communities we serve. And with our help collecting the 200,000 signatures needed to place these measures on the ballot, we can win a real victory for all Bay State workers.

It’s time to take action —  to Raise Up Massachusetts. Here are a few ways clinicians can get involved in the fight:

  1. Sign up to collect signatures to place the Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Time on the 2014 ballot.
  2. Attend a RaiseUpMA event in your neighborhood or a nearby community.
  3. Stay up to date with the latest RaiseUpMA activities on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, contact Chris Condon, Local 509’s Legislative & Political Director, at (617) 924-8509 x515 or email ccondon@seiu509.org.

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