Fee-for-service could cut mental health services

Regarding the June 11 story, “Local mental, behavioral providers last to switch to fee-for-service model”: While the piece is fundamentally correct, I fear the headline may mislead readers. As CEO of a non-profit community mental health provider, I want to clarify our concerns over New Jersey moving to a fee-for-service (FFS) funding model.

Although New Jersey is one of the last states moving to a FFS model, many states that have made the transition are facing the type of problems that N.J. community mental health organizations are fearfully anticipating. For example, when Michigan moved to FFS, 10,000 residents lost services. Nearly a third of community mental health providers in Massachusetts were forced to close clinics between 2013 and 2015 because funding didn’t cover the actual cost of services. In Kansas, mental health funding plummeted; patients were put on waiting lists and offered fewer services.

New Jersey needs an effective statewide mental health safety net. States that transitioned to FFS didn’t heed the warnings of their mental health communities and the most vulnerable in those states are suffering the consequences. New Jersey shouldn’t blindly follow other states purely to save money at the expense of those with mental illness. Those challenged with mental illness deserve better and community mental health centers are positioned to meet their needs with adequate funding.

Citizens should urge their state legislators to support the Community Mental Health Safety Net Act.

Greg Speed

Petersburg

CEO/president, Cape Counseling Services

Memorial race shouldn’t have raised foreign flag

Regarding the May 29 story, “Sports writer loses job over tweet on Japanese Indy winner”:

First of all, the writer for the Denver Post expressed his opinion on a public internet service and not in the newspaper. Even the president expresses his opinions by tweeting, but does he get fired? Expressing opinions is a freedom of choice, which I was under the impression we all had the right to express.

The Indy driver being Japanese is not exactly the point of discrimination. The point I believe the reporter was feeling, and myself, was that for them to display the Japanese flag at that memorial event was an abominable display of irresponsible proportion and a slap in the face to the men and women and their families who served and died for this country. That driver team was not representing Japan. This event is not the Olympics. Memorial Day is for Americans.

In my opinion, the reporter should be reinstated and the Denver Post should issue an apology for being closed-minded. Get in the 21st century, Denver.

Sheldon Koger

Manahawkin

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