Skip to main content

I know I am going to get flamed by the people who think we must never post any nasty news from the South, like I did with yesterdays post on Tenncare, but I am posting this anyway. People who don't think this is fit for discussion should go hang out at free republic.  I think Kossacks often ignore these issues to much in favor of inside baseball, so please recommend it.

Anyway according to  "The Tennessean"Law enforcement officials and judges predict many of these mentally ill people will end up in jail.

Robertson County Sheriff Gene Bollinger sees the end of TennCare benefits to 30,000 Tennesseans with severe mental illnesses as having a big impact on public safety in his area.

It can suck up hours of an officer's time to respond to each ''603'' call -- sheriff's shorthand for a mental health crisis. Last year, those calls added up to 221 trips to escort a person with mental illness from the hospital in Springfield to more specialized treatment centers in Nashville, 30 miles away.

That's time -- and money -- the county just can't spare, Bollinger said, adding:

''It means they leave the community when they should be patrolling. It means we pay overtime. It means county dollars -- and the county's on a tight budget.

''Practical common sense tells you that if TennCare isn't covering these folks, we'll be seeing more 603's.''

Nami is predicting that without meds many will indeed have a breakdown.

'I think the community is going to see more and more of the mentally ill,'' said Amanda Myatt of the Mental Health Cooperative, an agency that provides emergency and ongoing services to people with mental illnesses. Myatt said 1,200 of the 3,700 people they serve with severe mental illnesses are covered by TennCare.

''For those who go without their medication, you're going to see quick decompensation to the point of needing emergency services and admission. The police could be called, and they end up in our local jails. If they're recognized as a mental health patient, they might get medication. But then they'll be released and it will be a revolving door.''

''Individuals who are not able to receive treatment will probably go into psychiatric crisis,'' agreed Sita Diehl, executive director of NAMI Tennessee, a mental health advocacy organization.

Many mentally ill themselves are saying they won't be able to afford medications.

Three years ago, she enrolled in TennCare because she could not get insurance anywhere else with her medical history. TennCare pays for weekly psychiatrist visits, periodic hospitalizations and $1,900 a month in antidepressants and other medications that have helped her in her three-year-long struggle with severe mental illness.

Without TennCare, she will no longer be able to afford her medication or trips to the doctor. Ruegger, a self-employed artist, said she also may not be able to continue earning a living.

''Every time I've stopped taking my medication, I've ended up in the hospital,'' said Ruegger, who said she attempted suicide in the year before she got on TennCare, after learning her medical bills stood at $70,000.

OK, I posted a criticism of a conservative Dems healthcare cuts.  Flame away!

Originally posted to NoAlternative on Fri Jan 28, 2005 at 03:15 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Click here for the mobile view of the site