Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tina Orwall to address mental health disparities at summit

She vice chairs the House Human Services Committee, has already presided over the House floor, and is now one of the members of the Washington state delegation attending the National Policy Summit on the Elimination of Disparities in Mental Health Care, and this is only Rep. Tina Orwall’s first term in the Legislature.

“I am honored to be part of the delegation from our state to participate in this important summit. I look forward to identifying the actions needed to address these disparities in care,” said the Normandy Park democrat who is in New Orleans for the summit until tomorrow, June 11.

Back in January Governor Gregoire received an invitation from Eric B. Broderick, D.D.S., MPH, Acting Administrator/Assistant Surgeon General, Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to submit an application to participate in the National Policy Summit on the Elimination of Disparities in Mental Health Care.

The purpose of this project is to convene a policy summit to design and implement policy supporting the elimination of mental health disparities with particular focus on cultural and linguistic competence.

Washington submitted a policy initiative and was one of six states selected to participate in the summit in addition to New Mexico, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland and Florida. Each state sent delegations of key leaders to participate in this three-day event. Orwall is the only legislator in Washington state’s delegation.

The proposed policy initiative, for which our state was selected, focuses on comparable access to services and comparable service outcomes for racial/ethnic minorities and other under-served groups. Its implementation will involve establishing practice guidelines and consultation protocols aimed at promoting greater access, consumer satisfaction and positive outcomes.

The Policy Summit on the Elimination of Mental Health Disparities is organized by the Center for Mental Health Service, Human Resource Research Organization, University National Technical Assistance Center, Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competency, AFYA. Funding was provided by event organizers to cover the costs of travel and lodging for up to seven members of each delegation.

Washington State Delegation:
  • C. H. Hank Balderrama, DSHS Mental Health Division (Lead delegate and team recorder)
  • Vazaskia Caldwell, DSHS Division of Health Care Services Representatives
  • Winona Hollins-Hauge, Governors Interagency Council on Health Disparities
  • Connie Mom-Chhing, Mental Health Division Ethnic Multicultural Advisory Committee (EMAC)
  • Patty King, SAFE WA
  • Tina Orwall, Washington State House of Representatives
  • Rick Crozier, Good Samaritan Behavioral Health, Comm. Svcs. for Older Adults

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A couple of calendar announcements

June 10Rep. Reuven Carlyle is hosting an informal coffee hour for Phinney Ridge residents at Herkimer Coffee (7320 Greenwood Ave) starting at 8 a.m. A short tour of the nearby Phinney Center will follow. Carlyle plans to host several similar coffee meetings throughout the 36th legislative district.
June 11 Reps. Ross Hunter and Deb Eddy, along with Sen. Rodney Tom, are hosting a Town Hall on Thursday evening at Redmond City Hall (15670 NE 85th Street) starting at 7 p.m.

Health care help for the uninsured

The news is full of sobering stories about people around our state and nation struggling to find affordable health care.

Here in Washington, the number of uninsured people in our state is rising to historic highs and the state is increasing premiums for the Basic Health Plan.

That's why the state Insurance Commissioner has posted a resource page for anyone who needs help finding health care coverage for themselves or their children, is having trouble paying for the prescription medicine, and more.

If you know of someone who might find this information helpful, and you probably do, please pass it along.