SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

April 22, 2013

Column: Underfunding of health care must end

(Continued)

ABH and the Campaign support measures to raise new revenues — funds that will support vital public health and human services programs.

Gov. Deval Patrick is taking a step in the right direction by proposing much-needed revenue increases and increasing funding for deserving programs in the 2014 budget. Mental health and addiction treatment programs are slated for modest increases in funding.

Community-based mental health and addiction treatment services depend on public funding to serve individuals in need.

At Lahey Health Behavioral Services, we serve more than 50,000 individuals annually while employing 1,800 people. We provide vital services such as emergency psychiatric care, outpatient mental health counseling, family services and addiction treatment in large part because of funding from state government.

Children’s Friend and Family Services is a 175-year-old agency that works with more than 5,000 families and children annually. We provide child and family outpatient mental health counseling, family support, and parent education throughout the North Shore.

Now it is up to legislators to demonstrate a commitment to supporting these services.

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Kevin Norton is president and CEO of Lahey Behavioral Health Services. Carla M. Saccone is president and CEO of Children’s Friend and Family Services. They are board members of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare.

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