Advocacy lost for struggling patients

Recently, the state forced Compass Mental Health to make a decision that will affect hundreds (perhaps thousands) of lives in the Puget Sound area. The state DSHS agency essentially compelled Compass to turn their backs on sliding-scale clients, such as myself, by arranging that Compass take in clients that have full insurance and clients that are dependent on medical coupons. This decision effectively excludes sliding-scale patients who can benefit from services they deserve from a great mental-health advocate. I became aware of this because I was told that I would be dropped as a client because my payment option was sliding scale.

I require Prozac and Depakote to maintain stability against manic-depressive disorder, and now I’ll be damned if I can find any place that will help me continue this level of care at all. What this has done is make decent mental health care virtually impossible for people like myself, who struggle to maintain their economic dignity, have no health insurance and really need this kind of help.

Although it was a relief to finally discover what I suffered from (1993), it also posed many questions as to how I would manage this disorder. Compass went to bat for me and gave me the help I needed, through superb psychiatrists and counselors and at a rate which allowed me to work and provide for my family and still keep this monster in check. Now, my depression and panic disorder have resurged with a vengeance. Compass’ hands are tied, I stand to lose my home and have already lost my business.

The future for myself and others who need this help is not looking good. And we have Olympia to thank for this. Thanks, guys – you really earned your pay as usual. I’m forever in your debt. And that sentiment goes more than one way. Because of Olympia’s influence and swing, the three levels of our economic caste system (poor, rich and middle-class) now have a fourth class which is strongly gaining momentum: “The Cracks.”

I strongly urge you to write anyone who will listen. Silence is more than shameful – it can be deadly. We simply cannot ignore mental health anymore. The stigma must be stopped. Please stand up now, because no one else will do it for you.


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