Designated Agencies Opposing SSA Medicaid Funding Designation for Pathways Vermont

( – promoted by Jack McCullough)

(cross-posted to iBrattleboro, here; original version posted to Vermont Watch, here)

It was recently learned that Pathways Vermont, a housing first program currently serving six different regions within the state, is pursuing Specialized Service Agency (SSA) Medicaid funding designation status as a way to replace the federal grant funds the housing first program will be losing later this year, to the tune of $600,000.

Read the Pathways Vermont SSA designation application letter, here.

It is my understanding that this SSA designation status, if granted, would permit Pathways Vermont to receive medicaid funding the program currently does not have access to and of which the Designated Agencies (DA’s: i.e., Community Mental Health Centers: CMHC’s) basically have enjoyed what amounts to a virtual monopoly when it comes to these type of program and service funds.

Some of the DA’s are greatly opposing this application. Read written comments in the form of opposition letters some of the DA’s had submitted as part of the process (batch of five letters), here and (single letter), here.

Read the letter to Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner Paul Dupre from the Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services, here.

There is a public hearing being held on Monday, April 14th, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm, at Department of Mental Health (DMH) headquarters in Montpelier. In addition, there is also a written comment submission period, which began on Monday, April 7th and ends on Friday, April 18th. More information on both, here.

Learn more about Pathways Vermont housing first program, including concerning its SSA application, provided within its recent newsletter (Spring 2014), here.

Read related commentary of mine concerning what works best to end homelessness, including about why it is my opinion that Pathways Vermont does an excellent job in doing so (via vtdigger; 8/6/2013), here.

Related information: Administrative Rules on Agency Designation (circa: June 1, 2003; updated link), here.

9 thoughts on “Designated Agencies Opposing SSA Medicaid Funding Designation for Pathways Vermont

  1. Had called into the public hearing held concerning the Pathways Vermont Specialized Services Agency (SSA) Medicaid funding application and, once technical difficulties were finally resolved, listened to a majority of the hearing. From what I could tell, the hearing was packed and overflowed outside the conference room, mostly with Pathways Vermont supporters. A number of people had traveled to Montpelier from Brattleboro as well as Burlington in order to attend and to testify for two minutes each. It is my understanding that a camera person from ORCA Media was on scene to record the public hearing. When the video is made available online, I will post the link.

  2. as well as an outrage. If the other, opposing MH service providers, some nearly useless, were doing their jobs, we wouldn’t be seeing the large populations of obviously mentally ill untethered from caregivers & society, as well as large populations of homeless living in “colonies” in warm weather & homeless shelters in the winter, an invisible scourge on our world including our or someones loved ones as well as placing the least of these among us in harms way & an easy prey.

    There should be ongoing outreach such as what the fine folks at Pathways provides, to bring these unfortunates into home living siuations or living independently in most cases.

    As anyone who has had a friend, family member or knows someone who does, accessible & qualified Mental “Health” services are sorely lacking in many areas & lack primarily outreach & care which respects the human rights & personal dignity of those in need of services, which is why many decline services or only receive appointments for their meds.

    The haughty & snotty personel employed by the opposing agencies who are fighting to end the funding for those who have done & are doing a stellar job &occupy these state-run agencies have a lot to learn.

    In my estimation & years of experience on the other side of the desk, they show up to collect a paycheck but in many cases exhibit no compassion or the appropriate level of kindness & caring necessary for this type of work. Starts at the top, so apparently not part of the job description which is why Pathways is needed.    

  3. The funding is small compared to the services it provides & load it takes off of other several other local, state agencies & departments.

    What a bunch of bone-headed bureaucrats:

    Pathways Vermont seeks designated agency status, meets resistance from other mental health programs

    Morgan True Apr. 14 2014, 8:16 pm

    – emphasis

    [..]The hearing was held as part of Pathways’ application with the department to become designated a “special service agency.” Designated agency status would allow Pathways to bill Medicaid for certain mental health services provided through its Housing First program.

    To have financial needs met under own umbrella would allow for greater efficency & autonomy as well as possibly partnering with services from caregivers in agencies who are effective & meet Pathways criteria. From Pathways mission statement:

    Pathways Vermont’s mission is to transform the lives of people experiencing mental health and other life challenges by supporting self directed roads to recovery and wellness in an atmosphere of dignity, respect, choice and hope.

    We advocate for the rights of people to live without stigma and discrimination and promote civil rights, community integration, health care, affordable housing and employment for all.

    Pathways built the program over the past four years using seed grant funding from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency.

    Also another possibility for a pound-wise rather than the typical penny-wise/pound-foolish solutions lawmakers sometimes opt for. Continued funding could also have an effect on the VT’s new criminal justice system approach of providing needed services to some of the ones who are jailed but have ongoing mental health issues if it’s not already by giving the type of support which could lead to real change.

    Plus keeping homeless & mentally ill from entering criminal justice system by committing petty crimes simply to survive taking another load off of our courts & LE — I’m quite sure that, unlike Pathways foes, the cops won’t mind & probably welcome the indirect support it could potentially provide to LE.

    This is how mental health as well as other forms of wellness are achieved — not by locking ppl up & pouring on debilitating forced medication whenever possible. I have a feeling some of the homeless mentally ill stay in the shadows as they fear joining their amigos in locked psychiatric units complete with forced meds, bowls of sourballs every five feet, shitty institutional meals – making ashtrays.


  4. Written public comments submitted to the Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH) in direct response to Pathways Vermont Specialized Services Agency (SSA) application (available online via Google Drive; documents open within a browser window viewer; no downloading or sign in required):

  5. Many thanks to all who made this happen! Thanks norsehorse for bringing this to the forefront.

    Exciting to know that our fellow Vermonters in need of services & treatment can receive them in a supportive atmosphere that allows them to live independently, directly involved in the decision making process for their own care, treatment & transition to a self-supporting & autonomous life.    

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *