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California Health Care – Medi-Cal and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

by James Heller 25. September 2012 08:42
When provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect in 2014, Medi-Cal will begin covering about 1.5 million new beneficiaries in California alone.  In addition, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 will more-likely be enforced due to the ACA.  This means that Medi-Cal will be required to cover many more individuals who need mental health care and substance use disorder treatment.  
 
 
These are important changes that, if handled properly, can benefit a large number of California citizens who have gone without vital mental health treatment due to lack of financial ability.  Tarzana Treatment Centers is proud to have our very own President, Albert Senella, taking a lead position to help the State organize what could be a very complicated situation.  His decades of health care and funding experience has given him a unique perspective of the changes that need to take place.

The California Healthline article, “Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment Changing”, details of the challenges and spells out the possible solutions.  It is an interesting look at differing approaches the State, treatment facilities, and professional organizations are taking to address health care funding.  We hope you will take a few minutes to become educated on this important topic.



Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Latinos Aging in Place

by James Heller 12. January 2011 10:15
The Latino population in the United States is aging as it grows.  This will pose problems for many individuals in low-income communities who will suffer illnesses disproportionate to the greater population.  The presentation linked below describes efforts to prevent illness and promote wellness in these communities.

http://www.tarzanatc.org/ppt/latinos-aging-in-place.pdf

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Recovery Month 2010 Events

by James Heller 3. August 2010 14:06

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles will participate in Recovery Month 2010 by planning and attending several events you may want to attend.  We will help the national recovery community to bring awareness to the public about the benefits of recovery from alcohol dependence and drug addiction.  Please join us in September for this celebration of hope and freedom.

Here are just a few of the events we will attend:

August 31, 9:30am           LA County Supervisors Proclamation at LA County Hall

September 7, 6:00pm       City of San Fernando Proclamation at Council Chambers

September 23, 6:00pm     Recovery Night at Dodger Stadium

September 28, 10:00am   Antelope Valley Rally and March for Recovery at Tarzana Treatment Centers

September 29, 10:00am   San Fernando Valley Rally and March for Recovery at Van Nuys Court Quad

We will plan and attend more events, so please bookmark this page and check back every day for updates.  If you or your organization would like to plan an event in your area, go to this page for information:
http://www.recoverymonth.gov/Community-Events/Event-Planning.aspx

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

All of our services are also available via video conference or phone as part of our telehealth services.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

A Case for Federal Treatment Funding

by James Heller 12. November 2009 12:59
Nationwide, the drug war has been fought for decades with no progress.  Attempts have been made enforce drug laws on both the supply and demand sides.  But the one area that will actually help is in drug treatment funding, as it has in states like California with Prop 36.

Attempts to stop the supply of drugs entering the US have not worked.  We have seen many drug lords arrested, only to be replaced in their organizations which continue to operate.  With billions of dollars worth of drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs crossing the border each year, law enforcement can only stop a small percentage.

While education works to an extent on potential drug users, the demand side, again there has been no significant improvement.  So the answer has been to incarcerate drug users for non-violent drug crimes including possession of small amounts.  This does nothing but take them off the streets for a short period of time, only to return to drug use and commit more crimes.

The answer is to solve the foundational problem on the demand side with drug addiction treatment instead of incarceration.  We can not only help individuals to overcome the problem that drives them to criminal activity, but we can also save on incarceration and healthcare costs nationwide.

The federal government provides some funding to states for alcohol and drug treatment, and they know the benefits.  So why not shift some of the funding from drug enforcement to something that can succeed and make progress in the war on drugs?

The New York Times has published an article suggesting that the federal government may be considering drug treatment as an answer to the nation’s drug problem.  An excerpt from the article is below, followed by the link to the full article.

-- Begin external content --

The economic case for expanding treatment, especially amid a recession, seems clear. Study after study concludes that treating addicts, even in lengthy residential programs, costs markedly less than incarcerating them, so budget-strapped states could save millions.

The unmet need for more treatment also is vast. According to federal data, 7.6 million Americans needed treatment for illicit drug use in 2008, and only 1.2 million -- or 16 percent -- received it.

But the prospect of savings on prison and court costs hasn't produced a surge of new fiscal support for treatment. California's latest crisis budget, for example, strips all but a small fraction of state funding away from a successful diversion and treatment program that voters approved in 2000.

-- Source: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/11/09/business/AP-US-Drug-War-The-Treatment-Challenge.html?_r=1 –

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides court-related services as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Treatment Instead of Incarceration for Veterans

by James Heller 9. November 2009 15:17

Drug addiction affects the lives of US veterans the same as anyone else, but at a higher percentage.  And the amount of veterans with these problems who are incarcerated is staggering.  It doesn’t need to be this way.  If treatment instead of incarceration would be implemented, these veterans would get the help we owe them, and society would benefit from lower crime and an ease on resources.

It needs to be repeated over and over.  Treatment instead of incarceration has been proven effective in rehabilitating non-violent drug offenders, and it saves money for the states where it is implemented.  And treatment for the incarcerated also needs to be provided.  Drug treatment helps addicts to stop using the drugs that lead them to commit crimes, where incarceration simply locks them away for a while before they return to drug use.    

Treatment should come first for veterans no matter where they live in the United States, considering that we send them into harm’s way, and then give them drugs to overcome the physical and emotional pain of combat.  It’s the least we could do for them when they come home.  But, for now, those convicted of non-violent drug offenses are simply locked away.

Veterans who receive drug treatment upon returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan would have a better chance to resume a normal life, and to get the benefits they were promised during recruitment.  Drug-free veterans would also be much less likely to commit crimes and more likely to focus on living a positive life.  We need to give them the chance to do so.

Drug treatment will also lower health care costs provided to veterans.  Drug abuse and addiction often leads to injuries, and there is a multitude of side effects and major organ damage that results from them.  Not only are these ailments a burden to veterans, but they are a substantial drain on the US Veterans Administration budget.

The Drug Policy Alliance has released a report that details the need for treatment instead of incarceration for veterans suffering from drug addiction as well as for those with mental health disorders.  It also makes a strong case for medication assisted treatment.  The excerpt below shows the latest statistics on incarcerated veterans.

-- Begin external content --

Veterans in Prison, as of 2004*

  • 140,000 veterans were incarcerated in state and federal prisons.
  • 46 percent of veterans in federal prison were incarcerated for drug law violations.
  • 15 percent of veterans in state prison were incarcerated for drug law violations, including
  • 5.6 percent for simple possession.
  • More than 25 percent of veterans in prison were intoxicated at the time of their arrest.
  • 61 percent of incarcerated veterans met the DSM-IV criteria for substance dependence or abuse.
  • More than half of veterans in federal (64 percent) and state prisons (54 percent) served during wartime.
  • 26 percent of veterans in federal prison and 20 percent in state prison served in combat.
  • 38 percent of veterans in state prison received less than an honorable discharge, which may disqualify them for VA benefits.


* Source: United States Department of Justice, Bureau of
Justice Statistics, “Veterans in State and Federal Prison,
2004” 1,4,5,6,11 (May 2007).


-- Source: http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/veterans2009.cfm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides medical detoxification, medication assisted treatment, and mental health treatment for US veterans as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol and Drug Treatment for the Incarcerated

by James Heller 29. October 2009 11:03
The state of California is still struggling with what to do about alcohol and drug treatment for the incarcerated.  It makes sense when the facts point to success in rehabilitating those who commit crimes and have problems with alcoholism or drug addiction.  Programs could be improved, but the fact that officials see worth in alcohol and drug treatment is a good sign.

Some may say that at this point in California’s history, we take what we can get.  But in this case we know that these programs actually save money for California.  When we treat the problem of alcohol dependence and drug addiction in these individuals, the drain they once placed on the economy goes away and they contribute to society.

Healthcare, incarceration and other costs have been reduced through some of these programs as much as 5 to 1 over necessary treatment costs.  This is not big news to California legislators and, in fact, was predicted when treatment instead of incarceration began.  So to reduce funding for these programs would be to go in the wrong direction.

State Legislators need to be told by the public that we want these programs because they not only work, but they also have a positive effect on the economy.  It is not time to be satisfied with what we have.  The fact that State officials see the value in these programs means they will respond to contact from the public.  You may find your representatives’ contact information here.

The following excerpt is from an article in Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly.  This is a fine journal for learning about alcohol dependence and drug addiction.  The full article offers some detailed insight into current action in the California State budget as it relates to alcohol and drug treatment for the incarcerated.

-- Begin external content --

The return to custody rate for offenders completing both in-prison and community-based treatment in fiscal year 2005-2006, the years covered by the report, was 21.9 percent, compared to 39.9 percent for all offenders one year after parole.  Two years after parole, the recidivism rate was 35.3 percent for offenders who participated in both kinds of treatment, compared to 54.2 percent for all offenders.

For female offenders, treatment worked particularly well. One year after parole, only 8.8 percent of female offenders completing both kinds of treatment were returned to custody, compared to 30.1 percent of all female offenders. After two years, 16.5 percent of women receiving treatment had been returned to prison, compared to 43.7 percent of all female offenders.

For male offenders, 25.4 percent of those who had received both kinds of treatment were returned to custody one year later, compared to 41.2 percent of all male offenders. Two years after parole, the return-to-custody rate was 40.4 percent for men who received both kinds of treatment, compared to 55.6 percent of all male offenders.

-- Source: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/110575473/home --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides court-related services as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol abuse or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol and Drug Treatment Funding Petition

by James Heller 18. August 2009 07:14
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles continues the effort to keep alcohol and drug treatment services alive in California for the less fortunate.  We support the use of petitions and letters to keep State Representatives aware of voters’ wishes.  And we urge you to continue signing petitions and sending letters until our state leaders make a commitment to alcoholism and drug addiction treatment funding.

Change.org has posted a petition and letter on their website.  Here is the link:
http://www.change.org/actions/view/save_substance_abuse_treatment_in_california

The goal for the petition is 5,000 signatures.  By posting the link on our website, we hope that all of our visitors, their friends, and their families, will make this goal possible.  The suggested letter can be copied and pasted into an email to your State Legislators and the Governor.

So please sign the petition and send a few letters, and get others to do the same.  If you do not know how to contact your representatives, go to this link:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

The issue of funding for alcohol and drug treatment in California is too important to sit back and see what happens.  Action must be taken by all who care.  It is also important to note that these programs actually bring a net savings to the California budget.

More details can be found on our website blog California Budget Issues category.  Change.org also posted the summary below.

-- Begin external content --

Substance abuse treatment and prevention is underfunded.  We are facing the elimination of Proposition 36 (The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act 2000) this year.  This historic act was passed overwhelmingly by the voters of California.  It provided for treatment instead of incarceration for thousands of Californians and it has proven to be successful and cost effective.  Treatment is an effective way of reducing crime, it costs less to treat someone than it does to send them to jail or prison; it produces clean and sober individuals who then become taxpaying citizens; it reduces health care and public assistance costs.  For every dollar invested in treatment we save $7.  Most important it saves lives, families and communities from the devastation of drug abuse and alcoholism.  Estimates are that one in ten people suffer from alcoholism or an addiction and that every addict affects 10 others directly.  By offering treatment we help reduce the negative effects of this disease and its' effect on society.

-- Source: http://www.change.org/actions/view/save_substance_abuse_treatment_in_california --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Healthcare Can Save With Alcohol and Drug Treatment

by James Heller 29. July 2009 07:21
While the state of California and the United States governments are looking for ways to reduce health care costs, they should consider alcohol and drug treatment as a helpful measure.  The savings that result from treating alcoholism and drug addiction are significant and wide spread.  When individuals stop alcohol and drug abuse, medical conditions tend to improve or disappear.

Alcohol’s effects on the body, for example, touch every major organ.  So an individual with a heart condition, or even a skin condition, complicates it with continued alcohol abuse or dependence.  When alcohol is removed from the body, it has a better opportunity to heal.  And the alcohol free patient is more likely to follow doctor’s orders.

Drug addiction can cause an array of long-term medical problems.  It also results in many 911 calls and emergency room visits for drug overdoses.  These are costly, as most drug addicts can’t afford to pay for these services.  When drug addiction ceases for individuals, the potential for lower emergency medical costs improves.

Funding alcohol and drug treatment will save these costs.  A study has been posted on www.treatmentgap.org that explains the benefits that it would have on healthcare and the economy.  The section below details findings in California.  The full article gives more examples and offers very convincing data.

-- Begin external content --

California: Savings from Addiction Treatment in Health Care Costs

In 2000 researcher Constance Weisner and others studied the overall medical costs of a group of men at an outpatient Kaiser Permanente addiction treatment program in Sacramento, Calif.  They studied the men 18 months before and after they began an outpatient chemical dependency recovery program.  The cost savings were startling:

  • Total medical costs declined 26 percent.
  • Inpatient health care costs declined 35 percent.
  • Emergency room costs declined 39 percent.

“As in previous studies on medical offset, we observed that a group of adult, chemical dependency (CD) patients have substantially higher utilization of medical services and medical costs prior to entry in treatment when compared to other, non-CD, members who are similar in terms of age, gender and length of enrollment,” the researchers wrote.

“We found that the most significant reductions were observed in inpatient use and likelihood of ER use, but other measures (e.g., inpatient days and number of ER visits) also showed substantial decreases.”

-- Source: http://www.soros.org/initiatives/treatmentgap/articles_publications/publications/paper1_20090714/paper1_20090714.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.

Big Public Support for Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Healthcare Reform

by James Heller 23. June 2009 11:56
As the US Federal Government considers healthcare reform, the highest priorities need to be where the public wants it the most.

The poll below shows that people strongly favor including alcohol and drug treatment coverage under the new plan.  It appears that more and more people understand that by providing treatment for alcohol dependence and drug addiction, costs for healthcare, incarceration, and crime will decrease.

California legislators and the governor should also take note of these figures.

-- Begin external content --

Poll: Open Society Institute/Lake Research Partners
June 2009
OSI

This study, sponsored by the Open Society Institute, examines attitudes toward the accessibility and affordability of alcohol and drug addiction treatment for the many Americans who need these services, including veterans. The poll shows that Americans of all walks of life are personally touched by addiction, and half of them say they could not afford treatment if they or a family member needed it.

Key findings include:

  • Three-quarters of Americans (76%) know someone personally who has been addicted to alcohol or drugs. Personal experience with addiction spans all demographic groups.
  • Half of Americans (49%) do not think they would be able to afford the costs of treatment if they or a family member needed it. This concern about affordability is highest among Americans with incomes under $50,000 (67% say they would not be able to afford treatment).
  • Three-quarters (75%) of Americans are concerned that people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs may not be able to get treatment because they lack insurance coverage or cannot afford it.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) support including alcohol and drug addiction treatment as part of national health care reform to make it more accessible and affordable. This support cuts across all demographic groups.

-- Source: http://www.soros.org/initiatives/treatmentgap/research/poll_20090616 --

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.

Please Support AB-1019

by James Heller 11. June 2009 12:36
The California State Legislature is considering a 10 cent fee on alcohol drinks.  This was originally proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger, and over 80% of Californians support it according to surveys.  Considering the budget crisis and a need for new fair and reasonable fees, legislators need to be contacted with supportive comments.

We ask that you contact your California State Representatives and urge their support for this fee.  If you don’t know who they are, you can find them at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html with all of their contact information.  The points below come directly from Assembly Bill 1019 and outline some good reasons to adopt this fee.


  1. Alcohol-related problems cost Californians an estimated $38.4 billion annually, including costs for alcohol-related illness and injury, criminal justice, lost productivity, as well as and impacts on the welfare system, trauma and emergency care, and the foster care system, among other costs.
  2. Alcohol use drains California’s state and county governments of approximately $8.3 billion annually in increased health care costs, criminal justice costs, and lost tax bases, while the income to the state in alcohol licensing, fees, excise taxes, and sales taxes is less than $1 billion annually.
  3. The alcohol industry currently does not pay any fees at the state level to offset or mitigate the enormous costs its products impose on California.
  4. One out of every nine Californians suffers from alcohol addiction.
  5. Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers and the cause of many permanently disabling injuries.
  6. Eight out of every 10 felons sent to state prisons are alcohol abusers.
  7. Annually, there are over 220,000 admissions to publicly funded alcohol treatment services. Alcohol treatment services reunify families, and decrease criminal justice activities and costs.
  8. Alcohol use during pregnancy causes approximately 5,000 children to be born in California each year with alcohol-related birth defects.
  9. Drinking and driving is the major cause of traffic accidents and fatalities in California each year.
  10. The use of alcohol is a major cause of hospital emergency room and trauma care treatment, and greatly contributes to the need for transportation costs such as emergency medical air transportation services and ambulance costs.
  11. The use of alcohol is closely associated with mental illness and contributes enormously to the cost of treating the mentally ill.
  12. Effective prevention and treatment services for youth increase school attendance and academic performance.
  13. California prevention services reach only 4.3 million people annually, but the entire population of the state needs access to prevention services.
  14. The use of alcohol is a factor in the majority of child and spousal abuse cases, and is frequently associated with the abuse of the elderly, mentally ill, and mentally retarded residents of long-term care facilities.
  15. There are significant benefits of alcohol treatment and recovery programs and they are effective. People who complete treatment find employment and pay taxes, no longer suffer from alcohol problems, and become productive members of their communities.
  16. While the staggering cost of alcohol abuse is borne by all Californians, 67 percent of the alcohol sold in California is consumed by only 11 percent of the population.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.