Tennessee Community Mental Health Centers In Spotlight At Senate Hearing

Thursday, January 24, 2013

At a hearing Thursday of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the chief executive officer of Centerstone in Tennessee testified that an initiative Ranking Member Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) launched in Tennessee as governor 30 years ago was an example of how education and mental health systems can work together “for the sole purpose of addressing our health care crisis.”  

The hearing on mental health was the first for which Senator Alexander served as ranking member. He asked the witnesses, “Are we [the federal government] putting up any roadblocks that make it harder to provide services?” and requested “specific suggestions on laws, regulations, and practices that we ought to change.”

Dr. Robert Vero, the chief executive officer of Tennessee’s Centerstone, one of the nation’s largest operators of not-for-profit community mental health centers, said, “When you were governor of Tennessee, we built out a statewide therapeutic preschool program. We had therapeutic preschools in every one of the community mental health centers across all 95 counties. Those schools were there to deal with the most vulnerable children with whom we were seeing early indications of the onset of severe mental illnesses.”

Dr. Vero said that very few of those programs exist today because the model is unaffordable. Dr. Vero asked that at the federal level, “let’s remove these barriers that oftentimes don’t allow us to bring our systems together—education, criminal justice, mental health—in a cooperative way for the sole purpose of addressing our health care crisis. We’ve spent too long arguing over which part of the day education should pay for versus which part of the day a managed care company or Medicaid should be paying for.”

Senator Alexander told Dr. Vero he would work on ways to encourage collaboration between the mental health care and education systems to support the care of children.


Blood Assurance Seeks Blood During Holiday Season

During this holiday season, Blood Assurance is asking the community to consider scheduling an appointment to donate blood. Whole blood donations have a shelf life of 42 days, meaning the blood must be used during this time frame; therefore, blood donors are continuously needed to maintain a substantial supply to local hospitals serviced by Blood Assurance. Once an individual makes ... (click for more)

Voices Of Lee Visits Morning Pointe Of Hixson

The Voices of Lee visited the residents at Morning Pointe of Hixson, bringing with them bright smiles, beautiful songs and the season's greetings from their hearts. The choir from Lee University in Cleveland is known for its famous appearances, including the 2012 Presidential Inauguration and nationally broadcasted singing competitions. The Voices of Lee recently performed ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Looking Into Taking Over Schools

A new group of Signal Mountain Town Council members is looking into taking over county schools within the town boundaries.   Two newly elected board members, Amy Speek and Dan Landrum, joined the council Friday afternoon at the first work session after the election. The election of mayor and vice mayor for the next two years came first on the agenda. Dick Gee, mayor ... (click for more)

East Ridge Meth Dealer Gets 168 Months In Federal Prison

A man that agents said was dealing large quantities of meth from his East Ridge residence has been sentenced to serve 168 months in federal prison. Kenneth Lemons appeared before Judge Curtis Collier. Agents said they made several controlled drugs buys from Lemons at his residence in 2015. On Oct. 27, 2015, he drove up to a residence where DEA agents were making a controlled ... (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Our Schools Stink

Cheryl Roddy has spent her lifetime, for the biggest part, as a teacher for the Hamilton County Department of Education and, more specifically, at East Ridge High School. She has loved teaching there for nearly 40 years and is hardly “average;” she has her master's degree in education, was twice East Ridge’s teacher of the year, was the first teacher at East Ridge to reach the first ... (click for more)