We have great news!
Since the inception of our Foundation, one of our three key initiatives has been HIPAA reform. Once a young adult reaches 18, medical and therapeutical professionals are very limited in terms of what information they can share with parents and other family members. Furthermore, most caregivers are not fully aware of what information they can and cannot provide in various circumstances.
As a result, even though these professionals want to bring family members in to work together to find solutions, they generally don't. Imagine your young adult child being in therapy and the doctor doesn't tell you if your child is using drugs, how often, what types of drugs, whether they quit treatment, if he/she is addicted, whether they are taking medication, etc. This happens every day.
This happened to our family. We weren't told that Jordan was kicked out of his rehab center, relapsed on heroin, and was sent to a hospital emergency room due to an overdose, just a couple weeks before he died. Our Foundation has spent extensive resources to pursue this initiative. We have met with many members of Congress, The White House Drug Czar office, healthcare and law enforcement professionals, and presented at Congressional Hearings.
On June 4, a bill entitled "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives! One of the key provisions of this bill specifically addresses our concerns.
According to the bill's primary sponsors, a primary goal is to "Empower Parents and Caregivers. Break down barriers for families to work with doctors and mental health professionals and be meaningful partners in the front-line care delivery team." They add: "we need to solve the precarious legal standing of health care providers who choose to disclose medical information to family members and others. The current state of HIPAA leads healthcare providers to the default position of "not" disclosing to family, who are left in a no man's land of helplessness."
We believe Jordan would not have died when he did if this bill was in place. Please read this letter we just received from a couple whose 30 year old son died from an overdose last month. They feels HIPAA played a large part in his nightmare. We will let you know how the bill progresses in Congress. Thanks a ton for your support, we couldn't do this without you!!
Visit our website for a couple recent articles that talk about our other initiatives. Evidence based programs in our schools are a big focus, we are making excellent progress.
Thanks again for your continued support.
The Jordan Michael Filler Foundation
Teenagers in Highland Park, Deerfield and three neighboring communities now have immediate access to a professional counselor if they or a friend are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, depression, difficult family situations, bullying and other issues.
A 24-hour Text-A-Tip service, launched March 2, enables teens to anonymously reach out to a counselor and receive an immediate reply. To participate, teens can send the message "224HELP" or the Spanish variation, "224AYUDAME" to the number 274637.
A teen reporting concerns about a friend need not worry their identity will be disclosed, since the system renders texts untraceable.
"Before the text comes to (the counselors) it goes through a cloaking server where the texter's number is made completely anonymous … even though we can communicate back and forth," said Andy Duran, executive director of LEAD, or Linking Efforts Against Drugs, the Lake Forest-based nonprofit that provides the service.
LEAD focuses on promoting healthy family relationships and preventing alcohol and drug use and other risky behaviors. The agency first launched its Text-A-Tip program in the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities in early 2014 in response to a number of suicides.
The program's counselors are licensed and certified mental health professionals from The Child, Adolescent and Family Recovery Center in Lake Bluff who understand the needs in the immediate community.
During its first year, the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Text-A-Tip had nearly 100 calls, most coming from callers concerned about themselves, Duran said.
Response team members rotate according to an on-call schedule and are responsible for addressing each communication appropriately and reporting issues whenever necessary. In the case of life-threatening circumstances, emergency responders will be notified.
Read the entire article at the Chicago Tribune
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