Martha Brock's blog

NY Times article: pilot program for mental patients in NC

E.R. Costs for Mentally Ill Soar, and Hospitals Seek Better Way
NY Times article, published Dec. 25, 2013

In the past, paramedics would have taken the man to the closest hospital emergency room — most likely the nearby WakeMed Health and Hospitals, one of the largest centers in the region. But instead, under a pilot program, paramedics ushered him through the doors of Holly Hill Hospital, a commercial psychiatric facility...

For decades, North Carolina resisted the broad mental health reforms. But in 2000, state lawmakers moved to overhaul the state’s mental health system, closing state facilities and pushing counseling and outpatient programs to local communities.

McIntyre to retire

Associated Press

Senior Democratic aides say two House Democrats — Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina — plan to retire.

McCarthy, who has served nine terms, was elected shortly after her husband was killed in a shooting on the Long Island Railroad. She has been a forceful advocate for gun control.

McIntrye is one of the few remaining Southern Democrats in the House and also has served for nine terms. He survived the Republican sweep in 2010 and redrawn congressional lines in 2012. His retirement gives the Republicans a strong chance of winning the seat.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the decisions ahead of formal announcements.

Medicaid Reform Advisory Group Forum

Medicaid Reform Advisory Group Forum sign up today
The Medicaid Reform Advisory Group will hold its second meeting January 15, 2014. Additional information is listed below. Please note: Those who would like to speak at the January meeting can email their request to no later than Monday, January 6, 2014.

The meeting will be held at:
State Library/Archives and History Building
109 East Jones St.
Raleigh NC 27601
The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Directions and parking information can be found at

Clay Aiken for Congress

Several sources including the Hill and USA Today say Aiken is seriously considering a run for the 2nd District seat now held by Renee Ellmers:

Will Clay Aiken be adding "congressman" to his résumé?

The American Idol runner-up is said to be "actively considering" a bid for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd District, according to a report in The Washington Blade. The seat is currently held by GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers, who first won the seat long held by a Democrat in 2010.

--USA Today

Town of Cary flunks the course on Transit for elderly and disabled

Letter to the Editor of the N&O, Dec. 20, 2013

Here is to the Cary Town Council for delivering a lump of coal to its CTran transit users for Christmas.

The Council voted unanimously to increase all fares, despite acknowledging in interviews with Cary News reporter that the fare increase was not really necessary, but just a plan to shift costs from the municipality to riders. They even did away with the free rides for those over 65.

Council member Gale Adcock, a Democrat who now seeks a seat in the NC House (District 61), went along with the rest of the Council despite admitting to the Cary News that the affluent town of Cary could absorb these costs.

I want to find out why Council members voted as they did, but have been unable to get responses, as the Council has no voice mail at City Hall and they don’t seem responsive to email.

Civitas criticizes scholar; scholars criticize Pope and Civitas

The McCrory administration is facing criticism from college faculty tonight because of a records request from the conservative Civitas Institute.

Faculty from private and public universities delivered a letter today to the governor and his budget director, Art Pope, asking the two men to condemn Civitas' request for emails and other records from UNC School of Law professor Gene Nichol.

--from's Mark Binker

from PPP Polling:

How Big Pharma sells ADHD--NY Times and the Raleigh N&O

From the NY Times online:

How Pharmaceuticals Sell A.D.H.D.
December 14th, 2013

What makes A.D.H.D. ads so effective? Dr. Aaron Kesselheim of Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzes several ads and discusses how they play on parents’ common fears about their children.

Related Article: 'The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder' (this story was printed in edited and shorter version in the Raleigh News and Observer on Sunday's front page.

Very important article that explains the reasons for unnecessary and potentially harmful prescribing of medicine to children and adolescents, and how it is also now marketed to adults, all to line the pockets of the owners of drug companies in the US and abroad.

'A coalition of the willing' -- Dr. Wos

I have news on the meeting I reported on here on BlueNC last week at NC DHHS concerning reducing wait times at the ER. This information came from DHHS, but not from its media office, which is totally non-responsive. I have asked for a complete list of invitees, but I have been told such a list does not exist at DHHS.

From today's email:

"Here is the information that I was able to obtain for you related to your request.

The Crisis Solutions Coalition met for the first time on last Monday afternoon, December 9, 2013.

More than 50 people from many organizations were actually invited. Close to 80 people participated. The Secretary and the Division are defining this group as a “coalition of the willing”, meaning that anyone who wants to engage in productive cross system solution focused work is welcome to join in. Dave Richard is the chair.

Legislative Oversight Committee: listen online

December 10, 2013 – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Legislative Office Building - Room 643 ‏@VoterRadio
Legislative Oversight Committee on Health & Human Services recessing for lunch until 1:45 pm. #ncga #ncpol

AGENDA available online

GOP says Obamacare will cancel 80-100 million insurance plans. NOPE.

Figures used on Sunday talk show came from "Daily Caller interview with Christopher Conover, a research scholar at Duke University and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
According to Conover, Rogers, if anything, understated his case: Conover says "at least" 129 million people will lose their coverage by the end of 2014."
How does Conover reach such a startling estimate? By redefining what it means to lose your coverage.

from the Washington Post Wonk Blog

(Local professor drops the ball, the headline should read. Looks like Duke's football team is better than its economics professor.)


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