BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Folks who rely on Massachusetts mental health â€śclubhousesâ€ť rallied on Beacon Hill this week. Clubhouses are places where adults suffering from mental illness can recover and receive work training skills. They face changes in how theyâ€™re reimbursed by the state, changes that advocates say will financially limit some folks with mental illness from accessing their services.
â€śThe Department of Mental Health has changed the model so that people donâ€™t have access really to the clubhouse, nor do they have access unconditionally to the employment services that we offer,â€ť said Genesis Club program director Ruth Osterman.
Advocates said right now clubhouses are funded for each day they are open. Under the new payment system, they will only receive funding for clients approved by the Department of Mental Health.
â€śWe are very concerned that there will be people who will become disenrolled,â€ť said Margaret Jordan of Human Resources Unlimited Springfield. â€śTheyâ€™ve looked to cut the rates by which they pay clubhouses so that there will be less money for each clubhouse, so therefore it stands that we wonâ€™t be able to serve as many people.â€ť
But the Patrick administration insists thatâ€™s all a misunderstanding. They say theyâ€™re not cutting funding to clubhouses and access is still open to everyone. Theyâ€™re merely re-evaluating state contracts and evenly distributing funds more fairly among clubhouses.
In a statement, DMH Commissioner Marcia Fowler said, â€śThese changes â€¦will promote more comprehensive services and supports for clubhouses. In addition, consumers will have unique treatment plans to increase recovery opportunities for individuals with mental illnesses.â€ť
Fowler said there are currently 32 clubhouses in the state serving more than 8,000 people with mental illness.
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