Have you worked your way through the 2,700 page document yet? The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is depending upon its state association of boards and its national council to make sense of what national health care will mean to those individuals who experience the effects of mental illness and/or addictions.
The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board has local levies in Seneca and Wyandot counties, and a levy on the May ballot in Sandusky County. What message does the board want to convey to the voting public on why they are being asked to continue to support local levies?
Here is what we know:
n The World Health Organization has stated that five out of 10 of the biggest worldwide concerns are mental health and substance abuse. The WHO is further predicting that by 2020, behavioral health disorders will surpass all diseases worldwide.
n Of inpatient stays, 25 percent involve mental health or substance abuse - and growing.
n Half of all preventable readmissions have untreated behavioral health needs.
n 75 percent of all healthcare dollars are used to take care of chronic conditions.
n Insurance pays for 22 percent of healthcare, while the government picks up 60 percent of healthcare. Medicaid/ Medicare pays for about 3 percent of total mental health and recovery services.
n The U.S. locks up more people than anywhere on earth; of which 60 percent to 70 percent are related to mental illness and/or substance abuse issues.
Poverty is a huge issue throughout the world. Issues that happen to the poor then move into the mainstream; issues such as teen pregnancy, unemployment, homelessness and incarcerations.
The next struggle predicted is global competitiveness. Example: If China only educated 10 percent of its population, they have educated as many people as the United States has in its whole population.
What does all of the above mean? In our country today, mental health and substance abuse expenditures account for less than 8 percent of all health care costs - historically, these diseases are not high on the priority list to treat. Yet, these diseases are integral to the health of a community - financially, socially, morally, spiritually and legally. The new health care law will add 32 million of the 47 million uninsured people to its rolls; most of whom are not the individuals diagnosed as severely mentally disabled - they may continue to be the "lost" population.
Ohio is known as a home rule state, which means we plan for and take care of our own locally. While much of national health care will not take effect until 2014, for the mentally ill, it's likely to be long past that date. Until we know how mental health and substance abuse will be impacted, the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is asking the public to continue to take care of their own. The levy money collected in your county takes care of those individuals in your county only.