Florida Medicaid has rolled out a provision hidden in the pages of the Obamacare bill and parents of kids in 13 Florida counties now have health clinics right in their public school buildings.
Back in March this statement was made about Obamacare, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy”
There are plenty of parents who won’t like this piece of Obamacare found on page 1137 of the bill:
8. MENTAL HEALTH IN SCHOOLS: The law provides grants for the operation of school-based health centers. These school-based health centers are required to include: mental health and substance use disorder assessments, crisis intervention, counseling, treatment, and referral to a continuum of services including emergency psychiatric care. Grant preference will be given to communities that have “evidenced barriers to primary health care and mental health and substance use disorder prevention services for children and adolescents.”
Florida has turned over Medicaid for the state’s 3 million Medicaid recipients to private insurance coverage.
According to a recent article in the “Miami Herald”, more than half of those receiving Medicaid in Florida are under the age of 18. In Florida, 55 percent of Medicaid recipients are children from low-income families. Most of the rest are their parents, pregnant women and those with disabilities.
The state wants to keep these kids out of emergency room visits that are expensive to the state. The solution is a clinic in the school itself. Fifty such clinics are now operated around the state by a company called Amerigroup.
Caring physicians, nurses and dentists could actually help the health of these kids and help their families who have very little time or transportation to be taking their kids to doctor visits outside of school.
But lurking in the same program is the greedy hand of the psychiatric profession and the pharmaceutical companies who create and profit from psychotropic drugs for kids.
Note the word required in this piece of the law: “These school-based health centers are required to include: mental health and substance use disorder assessments, crisis intervention, counseling, treatment, and referral to a continuum of services including emergency psychiatric care.”
Amerigroup runs school clinics in 13 Florida counties including Pinellas and Hillsborough and they offer behavioral health benefits.
Their website tells us that “Medicaid is the largest payer of mental health services in the United States, contributing more than any other private or public source of funding.” Back in 2006 Medicaid spent $241 billion on mental health services which was one sixth of the nation’s total health care spending.
Today, in 2014, Obamacare and unemployment have swelled the Medicaid insurance rolls across the country to over 66 million Americans – more than 1 in every 5.
Behavioral health care accounts for roughly 38 percent of Medicaid expenditures for children. This is big business.
Amerigroup explains their mental health benefits with these comments:
“Sometimes, the stress of daily life can lead to Depression, Anxiety, Family and Parenting Problems, or Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
- We can give you the name of a doctor if you need one.
- We’ll also set up outpatient behavioral
- Health care services and inpatient hospital stays.
- You DON’T need a referral from your primary care physician to get behavioral health and/or substance abuse services.
Behavioral health conditions:
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Substance abuse
- Smoking cessation
Amerigroup has a list of drugs your doctor can choose from. It is called a Preferred Drug List (PDL). It includes all medicines covered by Medicaid.”
For kids the preferred drug list includes antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The minimum age for a Medicaid recipient to get prescriptions for these drugs is 0 (though some psychiatric drugs are withheld until age 6).
The maximum age for a Medicaid recipient to get prescriptions for these drugs is 999 years old! They’re apparently quite optimistic about the life enhancing properties of these “medicines”.
The one saving grace here in Florida is that parents have a right to fully informed consent and are, by law, required to sign a legal consent form prior to their child receiving these drugs:
“INFORMED CONSENT FOR PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC MEDICATION
[Children 0 to < 13 Years Old -F.S. 394.492(3)] F.S. 409.912(51)
The Agency may not pay for a psychotropic medication prescribed for a child in the Medicaid program without the express and informed consent of the child’s parent or legal guardian.
The physician shall document the consent in the child’s medical record and provide the pharmacy with a signed attestation of this documentation with the prescription.
I have discussed possible other treatments with the parent/guardian providing informed consent.
I have discussed the reason for treatment(s), the expected outcome(s), the approximate length of treatment, and how the treatment will be monitored with the parent/guardian providing consent. I have also discussed the benefits and risks of this psychotherapeutic medication(s) including the possible side effect, the potential medication interactions, contraindications and the potential effects of stopping the medication with the parent/guardian providing consent. It is my clinical opinion that the person understands the information provided.”
Because no one gets paid unless the form is signed, doctors and other behavioral health workers might be careful to get the form signed but are very unlikely to tell parents and guardians the true alternatives or the true side effects.
Explaining the possibility of weight gain, heart problems, permanent neurological damage, suicide thoughts and actual suicide, violent homicidal behavior, murder and death are side effects certain not to be discussed with parents before a consent form is signed.
Parents often sign consent forms at the start of the school year thinking their kids will get yearly check-ups, vision and hearing tests, etc. not realizing that consent now includes mental health therapy.
Schools with Amerigroup now offer evaluation, testing and counseling services, therapy and treatment services provided by a psychiatrist or behavioral health care provider.
The school clinics also do telemedicine appointments with psychiatrists.
Your child might go to school one day and end up on the phone or a video call to a psychiatrist who from a remote location and a few minutes conversation prescribes a mind altering psychotropic drug.
Today’s parents need to know what is going on in the health care clinic at their child’s school.
It probably requires more time and attention than the fun stuff – back to school shopping for clothes, shoes and backpacks. But your child’s life could be on the line.
Here’s an example of an ambiguous statement at Amerigroup’s website:
“Psychotherapeutic drugs are antipsychotics, antidepressants, antianxiety medications and mood stabilizers.
Anticonvulsants and ADHD medications (stimulants and nonstimulants) are not included at this time.
If your child uses one or more of the generic medications listed below, informed consent is needed.”
This is followed by a long list of antipsychotics, antidepressants, antianxiety medications and mood stabilizers.
But is this saying that the school can put your child on Ritalin or other ADHD medication without your consent?
You’d better find out.