September 30, 2008
Kansas State Representative Doug Gatewood was presented with an award for his support of the public mental health system in Kansas. The award was presented to Rep. Gatewood by the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc., at the 29th annual conference of the Association.
"Rep. Gatewood was instrumental in helping to ensure treatment and care to Kansans with mental illness while containing costs to the State Medicaid budget this year," said Walt Hill, executive director of the High Plains Mental Health Center in Hays, Kan. and President of the Association. Hill presented the award to Gatewood at the annual Conference of the Association at Overland Park on September 18th. "I am proud to present this award to Rep. Gatewood, he certainly deserves to be recognized for his leadership in developing sound public policy."
The Association of Community Mental Health Centers is an affiliate member of the Kansas Association of Counties. The Association represents the 27 licensed Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) in Kansas who provide home and community-based, as well as outpatient mental health services in all 105 counties in Kansas, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. In Kansas, CMHCs are the local Mental Health Authorities coordinating the delivery of publicly funded community-based mental health services. The CMHC system is state and county funded and locally administered. Consequently, service delivery decisions are made at the community level, closest to the residents that require mental health treatment. Each CMHC has a defined and discrete geographical service area. With a collective staff of over 4,500 professionals, the CMHCs provide services to Kansans of all ages with a diverse range of presenting problems. Together, this system of 27 licensed CMHCs form an integral part of the total mental health system in Kansas.
"Rep. Gatewood has proven himself an outstanding public policy maker, and is more than deserving of this award from the Association," said Mike Hammond, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc. "He stood up for Kansans with mental illness and made the deciding motion during budget deliberations to restore funding cuts to serve those who are uninsured, and unable to afford the medications that have proven successful for them to remain stable and functioning in the community."
"As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I had the opportunity to advocate for those Kansans with mental illness who are uninsured and underinsured, and to help keep restrictions from being placed on the psychiatric drugs that help them remain stable, with their families and in their communities," said Gatewood. "I understand that without adequate funding, Kansans who need mental health treatment may end up in state psychiatric hospitals, in county jails or state prisons, or even dead."
Community Mental Health Centers serve over 120,000 people per year. These CMHCs form an integral part of the total mental health system in Kansas, providing the majority of mental health services in the state. Most importantly, these CMHCs provide services to all Kansans needing it, regardless of economic level, age or type of illness. For more information about the Community Mental Health Centers in Kansas, visit our web site at www.acmhck.org or call (785) 234-4773.
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