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.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:53:47 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:00:55 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:21:46 GMT
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire. Michael Hayward, 42, of Sunapee, disappeared two months ago. His car was found near the Quechee Gorge. PoliceMore >>
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:14:24 GMT
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. First responders say when they arrived at 42 Smith Street, the house was completely engulfed in flames. CityMore >>
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. Police say the blaze was sparked by a child playing with a lighter.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:07:50 GMT
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they got numerous calls about a young child walking down a road alone. They found the child about a mile from her home. She was brought back to the residence, but the NewMore >>
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they found a young child alone about a mile from her home.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:00:26 GMT
U.S. Marshals have caught a Vermont woman who escaped from furlough. Authorities say Kylee Dubuque, 29, of Essex, had been on the run since late March. Essex police nearly caught her last week, but sheMore >>
U.S. Marshals have caught a Vermont woman who escaped from furlough.More >>