Carriage House photo, courtesy of the Fort Wayne Carriage House.

Fort Wayne Carriage House, photo courtesy of the Carriage House.

Tomorrow, the Indiana Commission on Mental Health will hold a session in Fort Wayne at the Grand Wayne Center.

It’s rare for this to happen, but tomorrow’s testimony will center around the Fort Wayne Carriage House and its benefits to our community.  The public meeting begins at 1:30 pm.

Proposed changes to how the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rules operate could affect this successful program.  I know first-hand from my past experiences in working with homeless persons with mental health issues how needed and vitally important this program is to our community.  It has changed countless lives and is a worthy program whose benefit to our society is unmeasurable.

Mr. Andy Wilson, Executive Director of the Carriage House has provided me with the following:

A Very Brief History of the Issue
The Clubhouse Model, founded in 1948, provides non-traditional psychosocial rehabilitation for adults with serious and persistent mental illness. The Model has been successfully replicated throughout the US and the world. The remarkable outcomes promised by the Clubhouse Model are the result of adherence to the 36 International Standards for Clubhouse Programs.

The Carriage House, founded in a partnership between NAMI – Fort Wayne and Park Center opened its doors in 1998. Since that time, the Carriage House has grown by about 25% per year. The Carriage House received its first Clubhouse certification from the International Center for Clubhouse Development in early 2000. We have assisted more than 250 return to work in the community and move into less restrictive environments.

As part its mission to provide community education and diminish stigma, members and staff from the Carriage House began traveling around Indiana making presentations about the Clubhouse model.

The Carriage House was very surprised to discover that there were programs throughout the state identifying themselves as Clubhouses – including New Hope Clubhouse in Kendalville which had been a certified Clubhouse in the past. Throughout the next year, contact was made with 17 of these programs.

The Indiana Clubhouse Coalition was born shortly thereafter. There are currently 2 certified Clubhouses in Indiana with another 4 expected within 2 years. We providing remarkable successful, evidence-based and results oriented rehabilitation for Hoosiers with mental illness.

The Problem
In July of 2010, the Medicaid day-treatment code that has been used to support certified Clubhouses as well as those working toward certification will no longer exist. If alternate funding cannot be identified, this will likely mean the end of Clubhouses in Indiana. This is, from our perspective, pretty catastrophic.

And yet, we believe there is hope. We believe that the state of Indiana stands in a unique place right now.

We believe that now, through the Clubhouse Model, Indiana can embrace real recovery – the idea that every person has the potential to achieve their dreams – to overcome their addictions, move into less restrictive housing, go back to school, stay out of the hospital – and ultimately return to work in the community to share the gifts and skills that are needed so badly.

The Ask
As part of our advocacy efforts, the Indiana Commission on Mental Health has decided to hear testimony on the Clubhouse Model. Moreover, they have moved their meeting to Fort Wayne. We need as many people in the room as possible.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2009 at 1:30pm at the GRAND WAYNE CENTER.

*Note on Decorum
The Commission meeting is usually held in the Indiana Statehouse and it is expected that we conduct ourselves in the same manner that we would in Indianapolis. There will be no talking/cheering/applauding, etc and there will be no questions or comments from the floor. We have a great line up of people speaking on behalf of the Carriage House and the Clubhouse Model so our strongest statement will be hundreds of us in the room – quietly with dignity and respect.

Other Points

  • Certified Clubhouses are Evidence Based. ICCD Clubhouse Model is on the pending review list of SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices; any program that has been accepted for review is essentially considered an Evidence Based Practice.
  • There is already a quality assurance mechanism. The certification process through the International Center for Clubhouse Development insures that the state will only be supporting truly effective programs.
  • Most other states fund Clubhouses. With money from directly from the state or with Medicaid, most states recognize and support and certified Clubhouses.

On the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting:

  1. Call to Order and Opening Remarks by Senator Connie Lawson, Chairperson, Including Recognition of Legislators Present at the Meeting
  2. Presentation Introducing Topic of Clubhouse Programs, Mr. Andy Wilson, Executive Director, the Carriage House
  3. Presentation on How the Clubhouse Model Has Impacted the Life of a Member of the Sunshine Clubhouse, Mr. John Wilford
  4. Presentation on Best Practice Outcomes and Cost Effectiveness of Clubhouse Programs, Ms. Colleen McKay, Program Director, Program for Clubhouse Research
  5. Presentation on the Clubhouse Model’s Impact on Psychiatric Recovery, Dr. Jay Fawver, Psychiatrist, Fawver Wellness Clinic
  6. Presentation on How the Carriage House Works with Law Enforcement, Deputy Chief Dottie Davis, Fort Wayne City Police
  7. Presentation on How the Carriage House Impacts Hospitalizations, Ms. Patsy Hendricks, Director of Clinical Services, Parkview Behavioral Health Hospital
  8. Presentation on How the Carriage House Works with Law Enforcement and Reduces Incarcerations, Sheriff Ken Fries, Allen County Sheriff
  9. Presentation on How the Carriage House Works with the Courts, The Honorable David Avery, Superior Court Judge
  10. Presentation on How the Carriage House Changed the Life of a Family Member, Mr. Larry Hayes, Previous Editorial Page Editor for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

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