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Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

January, 2011



Texas insurance commissioner to step down

Austin American-Statesman

January 5, 2011


The state insurance commissioner, who has held the job for 51/2 years, said Wednesday that he won't seek to renew his term after it expires Feb. 1.



Texas sheriffs watching immigration bills closely; El Paso County law enforcement boss to appear at demonstration Thursday

Houston Chronicle

January 6, 2011


AUSTIN - Illegal immigration isn't on the short list of issues Texas sheriffs gave this year's Legislature, but it could end up becoming a new priority for them. ... The association gave its list of six priorities to lawmakers for this session. The list includes jail overcrowding, mentally ill suspects in local lockups, methamphetamines, thieves swiping salvage metals, and what Kirk described as "protecting the office of sheriff."



Estimating How Much Texas Will Collect is a Dark Art

Texas Tribune

January 6, 2011


Lawmakers are waiting for Comptroller Susan Combs to forecast exactly how much money the state will collect between now and August 2013 so they can write a two-year budget that spends no more than that. It's not exactly like opening the envelopes at the Oscars, but the entire Capitol community will be hanging on her every word.



MHMR chief: Mental health crisis looms

El Paso Times

January 6, 2011


The head of the local mental-health authority predicts a crisis this summer -- a crisis that will clog emergency rooms and crowd the mentally ill into county jails. Gary Larcenaire, CEO of El Paso Mental Health Mental Retardation, said Wednesday that by June his agency will run out of money for patients in or near crisis. Instead of providing them with a range of services, 30 days worth of medicine is about all the agency will be able to provide, Larcenaire said.



Lubbock State Supported Living Center employee faces felony charges for allegedly hitting client

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

January 6, 2011


A Lubbock State Supported Living Center employee is facing felony abuse charges after authorities say she hit a mentally disabled client in the face twice, though she denies the charges. It is the second time in four months an employee at the center has been charged with abusing a client.





HUD and HHS announce joint effort to assist nearly 1,000 non-elderly persons with disabilities to move from institutions to independence

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

January 6, 2011


WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today a joint partnership between the two agencies to help nearly 1,000 non-elderly Americans with disabilities leave nursing homes or other healthcare facilities to live independently.  This is the first time two federal agencies are offering a combination of rental assistance, health care and other supportive services targeted to this population.



Health Spending Rose in '09, but at Low Rate

New York Times

January 5, 2011


WASHINGTON - Total national health spending grew by 4 percent in 2009, the slowest rate of increase in 50 years, as people lost their jobs, lost health insurance and deferred medical care, the federal government reported on Wednesday.



Republican-Controlled House Poised to Revisit Nonprofit Agenda

Philanthropy News Digest

January 6, 2011


As the 112th Congress begins its deliberations in Washington, Republicans' stated agenda of cutting spending and reducing the nation's debt could have a significant impact on nonprofit organizations and the people they serve, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.;jsessionid=XMKKKPWQRFL5LLAQBQ4CGW15AAAACI2F?id=320700004



Blue Cross reverses mental health preapprovals

San Antonio Express News

January 6, 2011


CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois health insurer is reversing its plan to require patients to get preapproval before they see mental health providers. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois' plan drew fire from psychologists and psychiatrists.



Illinois Senate votes to overhaul Medicaid

San Antonio Express News

January 5, 2011


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are considering a major overhaul of the program that provides medical care to the poor, part of an effort to control costs during a budget crisis and build support for a tax increase. The legislation would emphasize HMO-style "managed care" and reduce the use of costly institutions for people with physical and mental disabilities.



Army efforts don't stem Fort Hood suicides

USA Today

January 5, 2011


The Army's largest post saw a record-high number of soldiers kill themselves in 2010 despite a mental health effort aimed at reversing the trend. The Army says 22 soldiers have either killed themselves or are suspected of doing so last year at its post at Fort Hood in Texas, twice the number from 2009.



Judge: Alaska homeless camp raids unconstitutional

San Antonio Express News

January 5, 2011


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Anchorage's policy for raiding homeless camps is unconstitutional, an Alaska judge has ruled.  ...The city passed an amended ordinance last June giving the homeless five days' notice to leave the camps. After that, property in the camps was to be seized and destroyed, the ACLU said.





Obama Health Care Officials Switch Jobs, Reorganize

Kaiser Health News

January 5, 2011


As newly empowered Republicans step up their assault on the health care overhaul, the Obama administration is making major changes in the team that's implementing and selling the law.



Critics get a say as Dayton opts in on health law; With two orders, he undid the state's stance against more federal health care help.

Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minn.)

January 6, 2011


In an extraordinary Capitol ceremony where opponents and supporters were invited to speak, Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday ushered in a new era of health care in Minnesota. With his signatures on twin executive orders, Dayton, a Democrat who took over from Republican Tim Pawlenty this week welcomed federal funds for health coverage for the poor and reversed Pawlenty's anti-"Obamacare" stance.



In Oregon, a new health care debate awaits


January 6, 2011


In a Stateline interview, Oregon Governor-elect John Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, says the nation's health care system is inefficient and unsustainable.



Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals

Los Angeles Times

January 5, 2011


Insurer says the increases result from fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws. The move comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39%.,0,6975599.story





N.S. family hopes son's case draws attention to mental illness

Montreal Gazette

January 5, 2011


HALIFAX - The family of a Canadian serving time for murder and awaiting further court action broke their silence Wednesday saying his case and their struggle should draw attention to mental health issues. Glen Race, who suffers from "paranoid schizophrenia," is serving a life sentence for the murder of an American man in 2007 and is accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of two Halifax-area men - cases that have been delayed twice for psychiatric assessments.





What's ahead in Austin for the GOP and Democrats

Dallas Morning News

January 6, 2011


... Look at Texas' budget. It's popular in GOP circles to talk about going after deep cuts to bring it into balance. But when you are looking at a deficit of perhaps $25 billion, there is no way legislators can put things back in balance by only cutting spending.



Legislative session brings new chance to debate state's priorities

Austin American-Statesman

January 5, 2011


The Rev. T. Randall Smith of Tyler presented a stirring, pastoral case Wednesday for why legislators should not balance the state budget with spending cuts alone. ... Smith, board president of the interfaith group Texas Impact, joined with other advocates for teachers, workers and people with disabilities Wednesday to urge against deep cuts in state services as lawmakers, who return to town for five months Tuesday, tackle a budget shortfall estimated at $24 billion.



There's One Huge State Budget Crisis That Everyone Is Refusing To Talk About

Business Insider

January 3, 2011


You know the story and you know the names: states like Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and California are supposed to be in huge financial trouble thanks to bloated governments, business-unfriendly regulations, and strong public sector unions.  ... But there's one state, which is fairly high up on the list of troubled states that nobody is talking about, and there's a reason for it. The state is Texas.





Brain Scans of ADHD Kids Show Difficulty in Focusing

Medical News Today

January 6, 2011


Brain imaging is providing researchers with hard evidence on why children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have trouble concentrating. The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, may explain why parents often say that their child can maintain concentration when they are doing something that interests them, but struggles with boring tasks.



New Research Suggests a Gene Variant May Contribute to Depression

HealthDay News

January 4, 2011


Why do some of us develop depression while others don't? The answer may lie in our genes, suggests new research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. People with variations of a gene that transports serotonin-a brain chemical that influences mood, sexual desire, and appetite-may be at greater risk of becoming depressed-particularly after being exposed to stressful events, like childhood abuse or a medical illness, according to researchers who analyzed 54 studies involving 41,000 participants from 2001 to 2010.



Violence common in untreated patients with first-episode psychosis

Med Wire News

January 6, 2011


A significant proportion of patients with first-episode psychosis commit acts of violence before presenting for treatment, results of a systematic review and meta-analysis show.



Three age at onset groupings identified in bipolar patients

Med Wire News

January 6, 2011


Bipolar disorder (BD) patients can be divided into three groups based on age-at-onset (AAO) distributions, with patients in the earliest AAO group at greatest risk for suicide attempts, research shows.





How can I get mental health services? Expert Q&A with Dr. Charles Raison


January 5, 2011


How can I get acceptable mental health services? I am 31, living off of Supplemental Security Income and have Medicaid. I cannot get assistance to have all basic essentials met.


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