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Mental Health: Bob Williams Presentation to the Joint Health Committee

Mental Health:  Bob Williams Presentation to the Joint Health Committee

On Wednesday, USC CEO Bob Williams addressed the Joint Health Committee on issues related to commitments, managed care, the history of CHMCs, substance abuse, and the behavioral health continuum of care.  Tom Susman had a request from the Jeff Johnson at the Legislature to have someone present on the commitment process.  I asked Bob Williams to speak to the topic.  I applaud Bob’s professionalism in representing the Association at the Legislature.  He spoke for about 30 minutes and took about 30 minutes worth of questions.  Questions were asked by Del. Fleischauer, Del. Campbell, Del. Miller, Del Sobonya, Del. Staggers and comments on the presentation were made by Senator Stollings.  The questions related to managed care, substance abuse treatment, housing for the mentally ill and specific case questions.  We passed out the Crossroads Executive Summary and a document on direct commitments to CSUs.  Afterwards, Bob was interviewed by Daily Mail Reporter, Zack Harold.  If anyone has specific questions, feel free to give me a call.


Association Announces 2013 Leadership Award in Behavioral Health

Association Announces 2013 Leadership Award in Behavioral Health

Charleston, WV— 5/17/2013The West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association held its Annual Senior Leadership Conference at the Stonewall Jackson Resort.  The conference brought senior leaders in West Virginia behavioral health together with experts on leadership, mental health, substance abuse, the Affordable Care Act and Justice Reinvestment.   Attendees benefitted from topics affecting the regulation and the cost of delivering behavioral health, as well as improving leadership qualities. The leaders in attendance represent the majority of providers of mental health, substance abuse and intellectual and developmental disability services serving more than 100,000 West Virginians each year.

The conference was highlighted by the Association’s Annual Dinner and awards ceremony.  Delegate Don Perdue (D-Wayne) entertained and informed conference participants from his perspective as Chair of the House of Delegates Health Committee.  Mark Drennan executive director of the Association presented Chairman Perdue the 2013 Leadership Award in Behavioral Health.  Pulling from the conference’s speaker on Leadership, Drennan said, that Perdue was selected as this year’s winner due to qualities in his character that make him a great leader and friend not only to behavioral health, but of all West Virginians.  Those qualities include: forward-looking, competent, inspiring, intelligent and honest.  These qualities and the chairman’s leadership on the substance abuse crisis led the nominating committee to unanimously vote Delegate Don Perdue this year’s recipient.  Delegate Perdue joined by his wife, Mary Jo received a standing ovation and graciously accepted the award, stating that the award will have prominent placement in his home.

Delegate Perdue joined the staff in recognizing several leaders internal to the Association.  These leaders, like Delegate Perdue, exhibit qualities and demonstrate leadership each day, those 2013 leaders are:  Judy Akers (Southern Highlands), Crystal McIntyre and Jeff Prichard (United Summit Center), JoAnn Powell and Kevin Trippett (Westbrook), Mark Games (Northwood Health Systems) Dr. Rich Kiley (Appalachian Community Mental Health), Marcie Vaughan (Seneca Health Service) and Joyel Finley (Prestera) Also, the Association recognized Dr. Robert “Bob” Williams (United Summit Center) for his service as the 2012-2013 President of the Association with the traditional engraved gavel.

The West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association represents 25 behavioral health organizations serving recipients in each of the states fifty-five counties.  These providers serve 100,000 people annually and employ more than 15,000 West Virginians.  The Association and its members are committed to creating and sustaining healthy and secure communities through service and the core values of Quality, Access, Caring and Compassion, Collaboration and Partnership and Financial Stability and Sustainability.


Mark Drennan, Executive Director

405 Capitol Street, Suite 900

Charleston, WV 25301



Rockefeller, Rahall, Manchin Sponsor Pill Abuse Bills.

Rockefeller, Rahall, Manchin Sponsor Pill Abuse Bills.
Mark Drennan joins Congressman Rahall, Senator Rockefeller and Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to discuss prescription drug abuse.

By Paul J. Nyden.
02/15/2013The Charleston Gazette


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick J. Rahall, both D-W.Va., introduced legislation to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse on Thursday. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., co-sponsored Rockefeller’s Senate bill.Next Thursday, Rahall and Rockefeller will host roundtable discussions about drug abuse at Marshall University in Huntington and at the University of Charleston.Today, West Virginia has one of the country’s highest death rates from overdoses of prescription drugs. Nine out of every 10 drug-related deaths in the state come from prescription drugs, especially opiod painkillers.

Rahall, co-chairman of the Congressional Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus, said, “The prescription drug abuse epidemic is hitting southern West Virginia hard and taking a heavy toll on our families and communities, as well as our businesses and workforce. “We must do more at the federal level to increase patient awareness and better train health-care providers in order to prevent and treat pill abuse.”

Rockefeller said, “I’ve reached out to West Virginians — health-care providers, schools, pharmacists — asking for new ideas on how to reduce prescription drug abuse. This legislation reflects that real, on-the-ground feedback from West Virginia.”

Manchin said, “Drug addiction hurts more than just the person abusing drugs. It destroys lives, tears families apart and hurts communities’ abilities to create and keep good jobs. … Too many families and communities have been torn apart by drug abuse and my heart goes out to them.”

Rahall will host the roundtable discussion at Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center on Thursday morning. It will focus on how federal resources can best be used to combat prescription drug abuse.

Rockefeller and Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, will join Rahall at Marshall. The roundtable will take place between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. It is open to the public, but will have limited seating.

Rockefeller will convene his roundtable at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Charleston at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. It will also be open to the public.

Rahall and Kerlikowske will also participate in the discussion at the University of Charleston, which will focus on the critical need to fill the “substance abuse treatment void” in West Virginia.

The federal legislation — the Prescription and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act — was first introduced by Rockefeller and Rahall in 2011, seeking to cut the number of opiod- and methadone-related deaths.

The bill’s provisions include:

  • New and stricter training requirements for health-care professionals before they can be licensed to prescribe these drugs.
  • Consumer education on how to use painkillers safely and prevent abuse.
  • Stricter federal clinical standards regulating the safe use and dosage of pain medications.
  • Increased federal finances to help prescription drug monitoring programs in various states.
  • Comprehensive reporting of opioid-related deaths.

Last month, Manchin testified at a federal Food and Drug Administration hearing, urging that agency to think about placing stricter controls on drugs containing hydrocodone. “This drug is a highly addictive prescription painkiller that can easily fall into the wrong hands,” Manchin said. “Whenever I go back to West Virginia, I hear how easy it is for anybody to get their hands on hydrocodone-combination drugs. The personal stories I hear from so many West Virginians convinced me that this change is so critical.