Press Release: KPA & KPF
General Assembly 2022 & Other Information
Advocacy Alert! H.B. 296: Kentuckians in a mental health crisis deserve to have timely ambulance transportation to a hospital where they can get the treatment they want and need!
BACKGROUND: The issue of individuals in a mental health crisis not being able to be transported by ambulance from a hospital without a psychiatric unit to a hospital with the needed services first surfaced in the Behavioral Health TAC (BH TAC) approximately 4 years ago. The situation most often occurred when a person went to the ER of their local hospital when in a mental health crisis and after being evaluated there, needed to be transported to a hospital which had an inpatient psych unit. An ambulance was called by the hospital personnel…but on many occasions, the ambulance driver refused to take the individual to the designated hospital. The comments ranged from “We don’t have to take crazy people” to “We don’t get paid to take mental health cases” to “I have more people who are really sick that I need to transport”.
At the time, we took the issue from the BHTAC to the Medicaid Advisory Council (MAC) and asked for intervention from the Dept. for Medicaid Services. This process went on for several rounds of BH TAC and MAC meetings and finally resulted in a response from DMS that they had “talked with the ambulance providers”. We do not believe that anything really changed, as we continued to hear about the problems with ambulance transportation.
CURRENT ACTION: About six months ago, the KY Hospital Association reached out to me as the representative of the KY Mental Health Coalition (KMHC) and ask me to be part of a group that they were working with to try to resolve these situations, as they were also experiencing them in hospital-to-hospital transfers, hospital-to-nursing home transfers and hospital-to-hospice transfers. When discussions between KHA and the ambulance providers failed to yield any solutions, KHA proceeded with a bill draft which has been filed by Rep. Ken Fleming (Louisville) – HB 296 – to try to resolve these issues and to keep the dialogue going among all groups affected.
Since the filing of HB 296 (the bill description summary is attached), the ambulance providers have fought back hard to maintain the status quo. We need to counter their voices with our own, to assert the rights of individuals in a mental health crisis to be treated with dignity and to be transported in a timely manner!
YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED!
Please call the Legislative Message Line – 1-800-372-7181
BILL NUMBER: HB 296 (click for the full bill language)
MESSAGE TO WHOM? All members of the House Health & Family Services Committee
MESSAGE: “As a mental health (provider, family member, person with lived experience, advocate) I urge you to pass HB 296 when it is heard in committee. Kentuckians in a mental health crisis deserve to have timely ambulance transportation to a hospital where they can get the treatment they want and need!”
Also call your own Representative – 502-564-8100 – even if they are not on the H&FS Committee – with the same message and ask her/him to convey the urgency of this bill to their colleagues on the committee.
Severe Mental Illness TaskForce 2021 Recommendations for 2022
Kentucky Secretary of State Voter Registration & Information Page www.GoVoteKY.com
Vote Now KY https://www.votenowky.org/
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth www.KFTC.org
League of Women Voters Kentucky https://www.lwvky.org/
Rock the Vote www.RocktheVote.org
#CriptheVote Disability Visability Project https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/tag/crip-the-vote/
What is Advocacy Action Network?
Advocacy Action Network is a group dedicated to promoting mental health and disability rights through coalitions.
The 874K Disabilities Coalition represents the over 874,000 Kentuckians with disabilities. We gather together in Frankfort once per year to advocate with legislators and remind them "We Vote. We Matter."
The Kentucky Mental Health Coalition represents the mental health community in Kentucky. We meet several times a year to share advocacy efforts and updates.