Meet the 2017 CMHACY Conference Friday Panelists

Meet the 2017 CMHACY Conference Friday Panelists

On the Friday of the conference, May 19th, we will be hosting our policy panels.  This annual opportunity is unique to CMHACY and it enables conference participants to hear directly from both the state policy leaders and those responsible for implementing the policies at the local level.  Those in attendance will be able to ask questions and offer comments directly to the panelists.  CMHACY Board and Friends encourage you to attend the Friday sessions.  The panelists are excited about the opportunity to interact directly with you and it is important that they hear the any concerns and ideas for improvement directly from youth, family members, providers, advocates and other conference attendees. Friday’s sessions begin promptly at 8:30.

Panelists will be responding to questions posed by CMHACY Board Members, Friends, and the general membership.  We are gathering potential questions now.  Please send questions you have – either general questions or questions specific to any of the panelists to: advocacy@cmhacy.org   

In preparation for these panels, each panelist was asked to submit a statement about their background, their photo, and their answer to the following question:

With recent changes in the federal administration, coupled with our ongoing state-county budget concerns, we see many areas of uncertainty across child serving systems – within education, child welfare, probation, health care, and behavioral health care.  What recommendations do you have for action steps for CMHACY members and visitors to our blogs that would help to ensure that all children, youth and their caregivers have timely access – across systems- to quality services and supports to improve their health and well-being?

Panel 1: State Policy Makers 8:30 to 10:00

The first policy panel will include leaders from state departments responsible for the care of youth and families.  We want to take this opportunity to introduce them to you.

Will Lightbourne 

Director of The Department of Social Services

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Will Lightbourne was appointed Director of the California Department of Social Services by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011.  Prior to CDSS, he directed three county human services agencies in the Bay Area, and before his public service was director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Response to question: With recent changes in the federal administration, coupled with our ongoing state-county budget concerns, we see many areas of uncertainty across child serving systems – within education, child welfare, probation, health care, and behavioral health care.  What recommendations do you have for action steps for CMHACY members and visitors to our blogs that would help to ensure that all children, youth and their caregivers have timely access – across systems- to quality services and supports to improve their health and well-being?

“Do not let concerns about what the Congress may or may not do, or what the effects of the next recession may or may not be, obscure the real task in front of all of us – making sure that this youth for whom we are caring gets timely and capable service from that legally responsible provider, in the setting that best preserves his or her right to grow up in a permanent home.”

Karen Baylor 

Deputy Director, Department of Health Care Services

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services

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Karen Baylor was appointed as the Deputy Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders for the Department of Health Care Services on June 12, 2013.  She previously was the Behavioral Health Administrator for the County of San Luis Obispo for eight years.  During her time in San Luis Obispo County, she served as President of the California Mental Health Directors Association during 2012.   Her previous work experience was in management at a variety of private, non-profits organizations providing children’s mental health services.  She has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Response to question: With recent changes in the federal administration, coupled with our ongoing state-county budget concerns, we see many areas of uncertainty across child serving systems – within education, child welfare, probation, health care, and behavioral health care.  What recommendations do you have for action steps for CMHACY members and visitors to our blogs that would help to ensure that all children, youth and their caregivers have timely access – across systems- to quality services and supports to improve their health and well-being?

“There have been no efforts to limit or otherwise alter our programs based on the new federal administration.  All beneficiaries are continuing to receive the necessary services that have been authorized and we encourage anyone who is seeking assistance to apply for services.”

Mary Watanabe 

Deputy Director, Department of Managed Health Care

Health Policy and Stakeholder Relations

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Mary Watanabe is the Deputy Director of Health Policy and Stakeholder Relations at the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), where she is responsible for fostering proactive and effective relations between the DMHC and its stakeholders, while serving as primary advisor to the Director on critical issues and providing strategic planning and policy direction on emerging issues and industry trends.

 

Prior to her appointment at the DMHC, Mary served as Deputy Director for the Sales Division at Covered California, where she oversaw the implementation of the Navigator Grant Program, Outreach and Education Grant Program and the engagement of community organizations to educate consumers and small business owners about the health care options available through Covered California.

 

Prior to joining Covered California, Mary served for 12 years with the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB) in the areas of contract development, eligibility and enrollment, and benefits administration and quality monitoring of several public health care programs, including the Healthy Families Program.  She also participated in the implementation of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a federally funded high-risk pool that offered health coverage to medically uninsurable Californians.

 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.

Response to question: With recent changes in the federal administration, coupled with our ongoing state-county budget concerns, we see many areas of uncertainty across child serving systems – within education, child welfare, probation, health care, and behavioral health care.  What recommendations do you have for action steps for CMHACY members and visitors to our blogs that would help to ensure that all children, youth and their caregivers have timely access – across systems- to quality services and supports to improve their health and well-being?

“The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) is committed to fulfilling our mission of protecting consumers’ health care rights and ensuring a stable health care delivery system. As the largest regulator of health plans in California, we make sure health plans comply with the law and protect the health care rights for approximately 26 million consumers.

We are closely monitoring federal efforts to make changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, it is important to remember that the laws protecting consumers and ensuring timely access to services have not changed. California leads the nation with strong consumer protection laws that existed prior to the ACA and we will continue to be a resource for California’s health care consumers.

The DMHC’s Help Center is available to Californians who are experiencing an issue with their health plan, including getting timely access to the care they need. If a consumer is having a problem with their health plan, the DMHC strongly encourages them to contact their health plan for assistance (at the toll-free number listed on the consumer’s health plan ID card). If they are dissatisfied with the health plan’s response, or the health plan does not resolve the issue in 30 days, they can contact the DMHC Help Center for assistance at 1-888-466-2219 or www.HealthHelp.ca.gov. Or, if they are experiencing an imminent or serious threat to their health, they can immediately contact the DMHC Help Center.

The DMHC has many opportunities for stakeholders to participate in meetings and provide public comment on important topics such as timely access to care, premium rate changes, access to mental health services and provider directory accuracy. The DMHC encourages CMHACY members and visitors to sign up to receive the DMHC Stakeholder Newsletter to get regular updates on these issues. You can sign up by visiting our website at www.HealthHelp.ca.gov.  Additionally, if you are interested in participating in our stakeholder meetings, send an e-mail to stakeholder@dmhc.ca.gov.”

Tina Wooton 

Chair, Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission

Check back for Commissioner Wooton’s information. 

Debra Brown

Director, California Department of Education, Government Affairs Division

Check back for Director Brown’s information. 

Panel 2: Local Policy Implementers 10:00 to 11:30

The second policy panel will include leaders from associations responsible for implementing the policies related to the care of youth and families at the local level.  We want to take this opportunity to introduce them to you.

Kirsten Barlow 

Executive Director, County Behavioral Health Directors Association

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Kirsten Barlow began serving as Executive Director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA) of California in October 2015. The prior year Kirsten worked as Executive Officer of the Council on Mentally Ill Offenders, a position to which she was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.  The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders develops strategies for keeping youth and adults with mental illness out of the criminal justice system. Between 2009 and 2014, Kirsten was Associate Director at CBHDA, where she directed the Association’s legislative and budget advocacy efforts. Prior positions included serving as public information officer at the California Department of Mental Health, legislative advocate and information officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, and Principal Consultant to the California State Assembly Committee on Human Services under the leadership of former Assemblywoman Dion Aroner (D-Berkeley). Kirsten earned her Masters of Social Welfare degree in management and planning from the University of California – Berkeley and her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Kirsten and her husband Ian live in Sacramento, CA, where they are raising their two sons, Myles and Bennett.

Response to question: With recent changes in the federal administration, coupled with our ongoing state-county budget concerns, we see many areas of uncertainty across child serving systems – within education, child welfare, probation, health care, and behavioral health care.  What recommendations do you have for action steps for CMHACY members and visitors to our blogs that would help to ensure that all children, youth and their caregivers have timely access – across systems- to quality services and supports to improve their health and well-being?

“The good news is there are so many doors in California through which youth and their caregivers can seek behavioral health care services in our communities. But to ensure youth are served in the right place at the right time, it is vital that community and system leaders and local service providers have relationships with one another. It is through these local connections and awareness of what one another offer that child-serving providers can help reduce the burden on youth and caregivers to know how to navigate their local service systems. In the face of many fast-moving policy changes and ongoing concerns about a lack of resources, we must all commit to taking the time to really listen to what youth and caregivers tell us they need and let that drive our decisions.”

Frank Mecca 

Executive Director, County Welfare Director Association of California

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Frank Mecca has served as Executive Director for 25 years, during which he has helped establish CWDA as a leading advocacy and policy organization in the field of public human services.

Under Frank’s leadership, the association has been instrumental in the development of significant human services programs and policies, including helping shape the CalWORKs program, creating the Adult Protective Services program, and advocating for significant child welfare reform efforts such as extending foster care support to youth after age 18.

Frank is a board member of the California Budget & Policy Center and a member of the California Child Welfare Council. He is a former president of the National Association of County Human Services Administrators.

Prior to joining CWDA, Frank served as a fiscal and policy analyst for the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, where he had oversight responsibility for most child welfare programs, including Child Welfare Services, Foster Care and Adoptions. He holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in social welfare policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. He earned his undergraduate degree in Government and Economics from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Response to question: With recent changes in the federal administration, coupled with our ongoing state-county budget concerns, we see many areas of uncertainty across child serving systems – within education, child welfare, probation, health care, and behavioral health care.  What recommendations do you have for action steps for CMHACY members and visitors to our blogs that would help to ensure that all children, youth and their caregivers have timely access – across systems- to quality services and supports to improve their health and well-being?

“We are navigating uncertain waters at every level. From federal health care battles to a changing statecounty fiscal relationship, the social services and health care landscape in California faces an uncertain future. At the same time, the state and counties are in the midst of implementing Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) – the most significant shift in child welfare policy and practice that California has ever undertaken.

At the federal level, we are facing potential changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid that would be harmful to our children and families. While we have not seen any proposals to roll back the Medicaid protections for children and youth up to age 21, we face the real prospect of Medicaid cuts. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has repeatedly proposed to cap federal Medicaid funding, resulting in cuts that would likely diminish health and mental health services to children. These threats come at the same time we are implementing CCR, which anticipates that more children will receive individualized services to better meet their needs.

Many parents of children in or at risk of foster care need behavioral health treatment so they may safely care for their children. Repealing the ACA – which would reduce access to affordable insurance and potentially eliminate mental health as an essential health benefit – would mean that fewer parents could access behavioral health services. This could result in more children coming into care and lower reunification rates for children in care.

We are also fighting federal legislation that would blunt the progress we have made with CCR. Last year, Congress considered the Families First Act, which would have severely curtailed curtail the ability for child welfare and probation agencies to serve foster youth in congregate care unless they meet very high standards of need. With a severe shortage of foster families in every state, including California, this would have meant the loss of millions of dollars in federal funding to support higher needs children in the foster care system. While the Families First Act did not pass last year, we are continuing to keep an eye on federal child welfare legislation.

At the state and county level, the federal instability is magnified by a state-led budget action that would destabilize county budgets if no fix is found. The Governor’s 2017-18 budget triggered a shift of over $600 million in InHome Supportive Services (IHSS) costs from the state to the counties in 2017-18. This amount is set to grow to nearly $2 billion over six years. Unless the counties, Legislature, and Governor’s office agree on a solution, this cost shift will have ripple effects well beyond IHSS. Child welfare, county behavioral health, law enforcement, and other county-funded services will face likely reductions to absorb a costshift of this magnitude.

Children’s mental health funding is also in jeopardy. Last year’s state budget provided much-needed seed funding to ensure the availability of crisis mental health services for children in every county, but this year the Governor is proposing to slash $17 million from the program, leaving just $11 million for grants to counties.

Amidst the turbulence, how can we ensure California’s children, youth, and caregivers receive the highquality care they deserve?

  1. Stay vigilant. We must stay vigilant to prevent cuts to social and health care services, especially as California’s tax revenues continue to grow. With so much at play at the federal and state level, it is more critical than ever that we scrutinize every proposal with an eye for improving care for California’s children.
  2. Speak up. We must remain an active voice for the vulnerable populations who we serve. Let your concerns be heard by contacting your federal and state elected officials to voice your support or opposition to children, youth and families whom we all serve. Make a call. Write a letter. Show up to a hearing. Write an op-ed. Tweetstorm.
  3. Join forces. We must break free of our silos in pursuit of serving the same child and family and work together across systems. Our requests are most powerful when they come from a diverse array of voices seeing the same outcomes. As organizations, we can partner together on budget requests or legislative proposals. As individuals, we can gather together and implore our local legislators to advance child health and wellbeing in California.”

Duane McWaine

California Medical Director, Anthem MediCal Managed Care Plan

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After completing his undergraduate degree at Princeton University, medical school at University of Southern California, now called Keck School of Medicine, and psychiatry residency at Harbor General/UCLA Medical Center, Dr. McWaine opened his psychiatric private practice in West Los Angeles. In addition he served as Medical Director at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, taught in the Department Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA Medical School, and served on California’s statewide Council on Mentally Ill Offenders, developing an interest in the severely mentally ill, stigma reduction, and the intersection between the mental health and criminal justice systems. After spending 4 years in New Zealand and Samoa, Dr. McWaine returned to California providing psychiatric care in inpatient and assertive outpatient psychiatric settings before coming to Anthem Blue Cross in 2014.   Dr. McWaine is interested in efforts to better integrate Physical Health/Behavioral Healthcare.

Response to Question: With recent changes in the federal administration, coupled with our ongoing state-county budget concerns, we see many areas of uncertainty across child serving systems – within education, child welfare, probation, health care, and behavioral health care.  What recommendations do you have for action steps for CMHACY members and visitors to our blogs that would help to ensure that all children, youth and their caregivers have timely access – across systems- to quality services and supports to improve their health and well-being?

“We are functioning in an environment of remarkable uncertainty, within a climate lacking in trust. The overall economic outlook, and the healthcare landscape in particular, are uncertain and seemingly undergoing change by the hour. In such an environment there are three overall strategic vectors which hold the potential for sustaining and, indeed, growing access to good quality behavioral health care for children, adolescents, and their caregivers: Protect, Diversify and Advocate.

Protect the funding and support relationships that already exist:

Work closely with current funders to align goals and direction.

Ensure that measures of quality, effectiveness and efficiency are appropriate, and that there is agreement between providers, funders and regulators that these goals continue to be met.

Track good outcomes and find ways to tell these compelling stories of success.

Diversify funding and population base:

Look for opportunities for innovative initiatives with current funders.

Seek non-traditional partners for shared ventures and expansion.

Look for opportunities to work with expanded client populations

Seek opportunities to provide services in non-traditional settings

Young BH patients and/or their families can advocate locally:

Attend LMHP stakeholder and board members; speak up there.

Come out to family, friends and acquaintances. Talk about the good care on which your family relies; make known the challenges and barriers you must surmount in order to obtain that care.  Tell your story.

As a side note, I must say that among the potential interventions that have the greatest likelihood to do the most good for children’s health, finding ways to identify and effectively treat women who use substances during pregnancy would have a significant impact on the health of our children, families, and communities.”