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Important Service Area Planning Meeting Update

I received an email from Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumer Association (PMHCA) on Tuesday, April 15, 2008, containing the information included below about Service Area Planning  meetings.  I don’t know what information has changed, so be sure to check to see what if anything has changed with regards to your Service Area Planning meetings.

Changes have been made to the schedule of remaining OMHSAS Service Area Planning (SAP) meetings.  The most up-to-date information is listed below.  You are welcome to share this information with your networks.



OMHSAS SERVICE AREA PLANNING (SAP) MEETINGS Dates, Locations, and RSVP Contact Information


Thursday, April 17 – Torrance State Hospital  1:00-3:30 p.m.

Westmoreland County Community College Amphitheatre Founders Hall, 1st Floor

Parking: available in Student Parking Lot

Contact: Holly Gallardy, 724-459-4411


Friday, April 18 – Mayview State Hospital  1:00-3:00 p.m.

Radisson Hotel Pittsburgh – Greentree in the North/South Ballroom.

Contact: Dorothy Owens, 412-257-6201


Tuesday, April 22 – Danville State Hospital  10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Administration Building, Program Activity Center – 1st floor

Parking: Is available in front of Administration Building and a side parking lot, parking will be marked for anyone not familiar with the campus.

Contact: Louise Miller, 570-271-4510


Monday, May 5 – Warren State Hospital  10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Gymnasium located in the Center (Main) Building

Parking: will be in the South Center Parking lot. Signs will be placed to designate it. Additionally, security personnel will be available to direct people.

Contact: Mary Beth Zdarko, 814-726-4258


Wednesday, May 7 – Allentown State Hospital  10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Administration Building Boardroom on the ASH campus

Parking: will be available in front of the building in Lot A

Contact: Tiffany Hudock, 610-740-3400


Thursday, May 15 – Clarks Summit State Hospital  10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Hilton Scranton Conference Center, 100 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503

Parking: available in Hilton Parking Lot

Contact: Sharon Grasso, 570-587-7250

Update on SAP meetings on the 15th

In a post I did a little bit ago, like within the past several hours, I had stated there are two Service Area Planning (SAP) meetings scheduled for Friday, February 15, 2008  This is accurrate, I just need to clarify the second SAP

Warren State Hospital SAP will be from 1 to 3 in the WSH Gymnasium

The second SAPbeing held the same day ….

is for the Mayview SAP and will be held at greentree Holiday Inn from 1 to 3:30 (see http://www.mayview-sap.org/html/May-QtrStk.htm   for details)

Both meetings are stakeholder meetings, so consumers and patient family members, professionals in the Behavioral Health field, community leaders and citizens can be present and heard for the respective SAP areas for each hospital.

Busy week

Couldn’t decide what to title this, but I felt that with everything that went on last week, I needed to write about at least some of it.  I attended the local and regional CSP meetings, along with a housing meeting, all this while recovering from a badly bruised elbow, which is doing much better at this point for those who know who I am, my hand and arm are feeling almost “normal”.  I got hit with some sort of bug over the weekend, so I’m a little under the weather as I write this I am keeping my box of kleenex within arm’s reach at all times and sleeping when I feel the need to.  today is better then yesterday though, so that’s getting better as well… I was actually awake most of the day unlike Saturday and Sunday where I slept most of the day and didn’t move unless I had to because moving caused me to cough a lung up.  At any rate, it seems it’s been one thing after another, and I’m hoping that the upswing I started today continues, especially since I need to go do some C/FST related work on Wednesday this week.

So, back to the meetings I attended last week ….

Local CSP ….
 Those present at the meeting were again encouraged to attend the Service Area Planning  (SAP) meeting coming up on Friday the 15th from 1:00 to 3:00 in the Warren State Hospital gymnasium.  most of the people at the local CSP meeting were Consumers, but there were a handfull of Professionals as well.  The person leading the meeting put me on the spot and asked me to explain a little about what a C/FST does and what my purpose is.  Since I’m very new to the idea myself, and was far from prepared to speak, I floundered a lot, but I think I got the basic concept out stating that my job is to find out what Consumers and Family members think about the services they receive and any obstacles that might be preventing them from fully accessing services.  I went a little more in depth then that, but that’s the nutshell description.  After my little fumbling explenation, the table was then shifted to a survey of a different kind.  The person running the meeting, had a survey that she needed input from Consumers so she did a group survey by presenting the various questions to the group.  Questions covered topics such as needed supports (i.e. safe housing, transportation to appointments, lack of MA providers for physical health, more funding for ICM’s to ease the caseload, daily living skills, assistance transitioning from the state hospital to the community…etc.).  I don’t recall specifics of what was discussed, but I know the frustration of not having local Medical Doctors who accept the access card was a huge issue that was brought up and discussed at length, because it also has an effect on the transdportation issue, or maybe it would be better to say the two go hand in hand since if we had local doctors who accepted MA, transportation wouldn’t be as big of an issue.

Housing Meeting ….
We discussed target groups and possible ideas on how to assist them in Warren County.  We also discussed ideas for alternative type housing, such as fairwether lodges or other evidence based housing options, but we decided we need to find out if there are other evidence based housing options beyond fairweather lodges, so yours truely got asked to dig around online to see what I can find … so far most of what I have found is links to sites based in the UK so progress is slow not to mention I was sleeping most of saturday and sunday, so I didn’t accomplish much on either of those days, but need to buckle down and get back on track here I can’t stop the world because I can’t breathe through my nose and my head feels like it’s going to explode if I squeaze it too hard, so plug on I must.  I’m going to eventually add a page relating to housing as I get a better feel for what I’m doing with this group since I learn best by researching and then creating some sort of reference point for myself, but I like to share what I learn, so that’s why you get to have all my links available to you 🙂

Western Region CSP (WRCSP) …..
Let’s see … how to sum this one up, I always learn so much when I go to this that it’s tough to decide where to start.  I guess I’ll start with the workgroup I sat in on, which was the Anti-stigma workgroup.  We discussed experiences had by some when going to the emergency room or medical doctor for a clearly medical problem.  Some had positive experiences with nothing to say indicating they had ever ran into trouble, but many of us in the group shared the frustration of being told we were “faking it”, “Pill seeking”, “attention seeking” or any of a number of issues where the provider assumed that since we were Consumers, we weren’t there for a legitimate medical reason and therefore wasting the doctor’s time.  One person described a situation where she was told to go home becaus the doctor didn’t believe she was in any pain … it turned out she had kidney stones.  Another person described a situation where she had dental work and was having a bad reaction to medication that was ordered as part of the treatment for her dental work, only to end up with the ER counting the pills, and disposing of them and then ordering something that didn’t help at all.  In either case the people who described the situations felt that had they not carried the label of Consumer or mentally ill, they probably would have been taken more seriously and not treated with such disregard.  We discussed the possibility of creating a brochure that could be given to hospitals raising awareness about mental illness both for the treatment of patients who enter the hospital, and also for those working in hospitals explaining what having a mental illness and working means to a Consumer and how to reduce the stigma surrounding having a mental illness.  The group decided that for many, being arrested and ending up in jail offered bragging rights, while having a mental illness and not being in trouble with the law meant shame, isolation, stigma and stereotypes placed on us by society and the media.  Our first project is to work on a brochure to educate law enforcement about mental illness and ask for more dignified treatment of mental health consumers by law enforcement (i.e. when transporting a non-violant Consumer do they really need to be humilliated by being handcuffed as though they were a criminal when going from a local hospital to a state hospital for example?).  Needless to say we live in an imperfect world, but it seems that those in the anti-stigma workgroup want to try and improve the world they live in, I know I do, and maybe today it’s brochures … tomorrow, maybe it will be going and talking to different places to further educate them about Mental Illness and the stigmas faced by those with a diagnosis.

NAMISWPA gave an update on Housebill 1448 which seems to be stuck in appropriations, we need to encourage our representatives to vote yes to this bill, but first we need to get it up for consideration on the house floor.  Dan Frankel initiated the bill with the support of quite a few other representatives, and HB1448 if passed into law will create a non-lapsing trustfun from any money gained by the state from the sale or lease of property currently used by state run MH/MR facilities.  This trust fund would be used to help fund Community mental Health services to ensure that community mental health systems aren’t strained by an influx of Consumers from State facilities allowing the communities to have proper supports in place for these folks at the time of their discharge, instead of waiting until the person is discharged and then throwing our hands up as we try and figure out how to fund the services they need in order to integrate into the community.  HB1448 is a timely bill, with the closuree of Mayview on the horizon, and the possibility of other state MH/MR facilities closing in the future.

OMHSAS reported that there are actually 2 Service Area Planning Meetings on February 15th.  Warren State’s SAP is from 1 to 3 and I think it was Mayview that is the same day from 1 to 3:30 Please, if I got this wrong, let me know, because I can’t remember which state hospital had their SAP scheduled the same day as Warren I’m thinking it was either Mayview or Torrance, but I’m not positive  Those 2 stand out in my mind for some reason though.

Well, I think if I make this any longer people will quit reading if they haven’t already, so I’m going to end here, but I have another post inline already so I’m going to do a shorter more traditional post for it.

“Mayview Service Area Plan” site includes closure info.

  I found a great link with tons of info relating to the closure of Mayview State Hospital.  It is part of the Mayview Service Area Plan site, so some of the information you have read here is also found on their site, but there are some items on there that I haven’t dug up yet, so it’s worth a look for those who have an interest in what is happening with Mayview State Hospital.

  Here’s the link …  http://www.mayview-sap.org/html/DPWPressRelease.htm

“Mayview Closure Information”

  This is an older Article dated August 15, 2007, but it has a link at the end of it that I thought some may find useful, it will take you to a site where you can see what the Mayview Regional Service Area Plan has been working on the link on the page for August 2007 includes exstensive information about planning hat has been in the works for the past 3 years regarding the closure of Mayview State Hospital.  The article below was found on the Allegheny County website ( http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/dhs/mayview_info.aspx )

Mayview Closure Information  On August 15, 2007, Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman announced plans to close the clinical services of the civil section of Mayview State Hospital in Allegheny County by Dec. 31, 2008.

The State’s decision to close Mayview is an opportunity to continue to expand our community-based service offerings for Allegheny County citizens with serious and persistent mental illness. We will transition the residents into integrated community settings that will be determined by their preferences as well as the ability to provide them with the services and supports necessary to help them achieve their own recovery goals.

Over the past two years, Allegheny County and DHS have worked with the state and stakeholders from Allegheny County and the four other counties in the Mayview Service Area to develop a course of action to insure a comprehensive, holistic assessment and planning process that results in community support plans that promote ongoing recovery and reflect the personal choices of clients.

This planning process has been very effective over the past two years in supporting many former residents of Mayview State Hospital to transition successfully to community life. We are confident that this success will continue as the individuals who remain in Mayview today resume their lives in the community over the next 16 months. 

For more information about the Mayview Service Area Plans www.mayview-sap.org/html/May-Plans.htm 

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