Wednesday morning health officials and those receiving care touted the way Vermont treats some of the states most challenging patients. "Vermont truly is known as a national leader in mental health and addiction recovery," said Peter Espenshade, Executive Director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health & Addiction Recovery.
Advocates say 70 percent of drug addiction cases involve patients with some form of mental illness. Espenshade says a care continuum is needed. "What our job is in the recovery field is to find the right path for each individual," he said.
He says that means unifying funding and bureaucratic systems as well as providing everything from beds to peer groups. "I think we have the opportunity to and are going to build something very special," he said.
State Representative Anne Donahue of Northfield agrees with the prescription, but says the state's still struggling to recover from Irene washing out the state hospital. She cites long waits for beds -- sometimes in jail -- and overly restricted budgets. Donahue says she'll push the legislature to ban involuntary commitments and medication.
Sandra Steingard is the Medical Director of Burlington's Howard Center, which provides services for the mentally ill and addicted. She says she's strongly opposed to involuntary care but that it needs to be an option to protect doctors, staff and the patient. "I really strongly believe that it should be the absolute last resort," she said.
She says simple steps like earlier intervention and training family members would generate positive results. The easiest way for the legislature to impact care would be to spend more money. But with a less-than-healthy budget outlook, advocates may need to be more creative and are planning a year's worth of brain-storming.
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-03-11 15:49:17 GMT
A Plattsburgh woman faces charges for allegedly attacking someone with a knife. New York State Police were called to the Best Value Inn on Booth Drive Sunday night for a report of a domestic dispute. InvestigatorsMore >>
A Plattsburgh woman faces charges for allegedly attacking someone with a knife.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:14 AM EDT2014-03-11 14:14:46 GMT
A Winooski man says he was held at knife point on Church Street in Burlington Monday afternoon as robbers took nearly 300 dollars from him. Police arrested 29-year-olds Andre Martel and Anthony HammondMore >>
A Winooski man says he was held at knife point on Church Street Monday afternoon as robbers took nearly $300 from him.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-03-11 14:01:29 GMT
A South Londonderry man captured at the end of a high-speed chase now faces up to life in prison. Police say Christopher Bush topped speeds of 100-miles-per-hour in a stolen SUV. The 27 year old pleadedMore >>
A South Londonderry man captured at the end of a high-speed chase now faces up to life in prison.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:58 AM EDT2014-03-11 15:58:56 GMT
Vermont State Police dive teams will search Otter Creek Tuesday for a missing Proctor woman. Maryann Foster, 59, went missing the week of Feb. 24 and there has been no luck finding her yet. Police sayMore >>
Vermont State Police dive teams will search Otter Creek Tuesday for a missing Proctor woman.More >>