Mentally ill people on medicaid robbed of ability to attend residential treatment

So is this a good headline Robbie? LOL. Robbie or Robert Kingett is my super epic journalist friend.

I’m not a journalist but he says I should be because I can do good investigative research and ask good questions. I say he should be a counselor because he’s extremely compassionate emotionally intelligent and great with people. I also say he should take voice lessons but he says no way!

But anyway wanted a title that would grab people’s attention on an extremely important but overlooked issue.

We all know that people who are on

Medicaid generally are really having trouble financially. They have extremely low incomes and have children which makes them eligible for it and also the biggest reason I’ve seen for people including myself to be on Medicaid is due to being on SSI. As well as now everyone has to have some insurance so that probably has made the numbers of people on Medicaid grow even higher with services stretched to the lmit. As a side note I know in social policy I learned all the reasons how someone could get Medicaid and how it all works and if you know and feel it’s important for this discussion feel free to chime in.

So people on Medicaid, due to a shortage of resources and limited number of doctors, specialists ETC that accept Medicaid (due to them getting paid less money and it taking forever for them to get paid) have a lack of quality healthcare providers to choose from across the board. I thankfully don’t have any physical health issues that are ongoing where I’d need constant doctors visits tests ETC. I know most about and will concentrate on mental health services.

I got into the mental health system truly, as in first psych hospitalization and all that, here in IL. So ponly know about this state when it comes to services for those with chronic mental illness. I know that basic outpatient therapy is very difficult to come by with Medicaid again due to lack of serv ices. In IL there’s some sort of policy that says individual practitioners can not qualify for taking Medicaid. I know this isn’t true for all states and know that there are individual therapists on masshealth. Here then, this means that all the mental health care comes from community mental health centers. Which I suppose is fine provided they’re a lot of them and they’re doing well financially and staff wise. When they start closing down rapidly due to cuts, a huge network of them almost being shut down due to financial circumstances ETC you have a lot of problems. Then you run into the problem of ridiculous waiting list and less than quality therapists at the end of the journey and of course the chaos of staff turnover. The same can be said for the problem of finding a psychiatrist.

All this to say getting any kind of behavioral health services is a real struggle and takes a lot of self advocacy on the part of the person with mental illness, or someone close to them. They now have these things called Medicaid caseworkers who are supposed to help you coordinate things. One came here and I quizzed them on stuff I already knew about the mental health system around here and they knew nothing. Really wasn’t surprised!

Recently I’ve found a whole new level of disparaty that those on Medicaid don’t have to face. I have a friend who is a young adult struggling with a chronic mood disorder, borderline personality disorder, self injury and eating disorder issues. She knows she needs residential treatment and thankfully is living in a long term care facilityand is physically and somewhat emotionally safe at the moment.

I’ve advocated long and hard for the past few weeks searching for treatment options. If she were on most major insurances and not low income the process I’m sure would be easier. There are a variety of treatment centers that are well known and sound as if they provide good care. I have never gone through the steps to apply for and go to residential treatment so I have no firsthand knowledge. If anyone is willing to talk about their own experiences and how it was using a major health insurance plan/ scholarships or other sources available to one who isn’t living month to month on an SSI check I’d like to hear about it. Anyway I contacted these places and was refered to a couple of alternatives.

Two being free Christian treatment centers which I will post about and ask for feedback in my next post. I found a couple of other places that said they accepted Medicaid but it aonly applied to their state for example, forest view in MI wouldn’t accept IL Medicaid.

I’m a very dedicated advocate and researcher I usually like never ever stop. But I feel I’m really hitting a wall on this issue and sadly feel there are no other options than these free Christian treatment centers. Why sadly? Well because, this is my own bias, but I’m suspicious of this form of treatment. I don’t know anything about Christian counseling so that puts me at a skeptical disadvantage especially as one trained in a bunch of other secular therapies. Secondly for one in particular I’ve seen a whole lot of negative information. Not just generally unhappy consumers or families but many examples of abuse. This makes me extremely hesitant to say ok go for it to this place. Which I know my friend is and adult and can and will make her own choices. I just wanted there to be at least a third option along with the two programs.

But sadly that option seems to be nonexistent. I never thought about how a person in this position with only Medicaid to pay for healthcare would get residential treatment because I never knew anyone who clearly needed it, and who clearly was getting very few resources in terms of outpatient care and where the only solution for treatment appears to be intensive residential therapy. Seeing that so clearly not available and her struggling day to day infuriates me.

I wonder if all these expensive centers and the people who provide grants ETC know how many people will never even get a chance to apply for their program. How many people out there in as much need for treatment of eating disorders, mood disorders and self injury as the next paying costumer, are denied from the get go and forced to keep going with whatever small amount of resources are available.

I’d like to hear others experiences in this process of trying to find residential treatment on a low income/ with Medicaid. Or from anyone else who has insights and thoughts on how as a mental health community we might slowly start to address the problem or at least bring awareness to it.

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One thought on “Mentally ill people on medicaid robbed of ability to attend residential treatment

  1. I hope she can find something. Its terrible that so many options are out due to insurance. There isnt that problem here in ireland but there is the problem of places being expensive and not covered so you either have to pay or not go! XX

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