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http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/morris_county_pharmaceutical_o.html

N.J. pharmaceutical company ordered to unseal thousands of ghostwriting documents

by Associated Press

Saturday July 25, 2009, 8:39 PM

A federal judge has ordered the unsealing of thousands of pages of documents pertaining to the ghostwriting practices of Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which is being sued over hormone replacement drugs.

U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson ordered the papers unsealed Friday at the request of a medical journal and The New York Times. Plaintiffs attorneys presented the papers earlier at trial to show Wyeth routinely hired medical-writing firms to ghostwrite articles that appeared in seemingly objective medical journals but included only the name of a scientific researcher as the author.

The ruling came in a case that involves about 8,000 lawsuits that have been combined before Wilson. The lawsuits focus on whether Wyeth hormone therapy drugs Prempro and Premarin, used to treat symptoms of menopause, have caused breast cancer in some women.

The New Jersey drugmaker already had turned over the documents, which it says concern about 40 articles in medical journals and other publications, to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. Grassley sought them last year without a subpoena as part of a congressional investigation into drug-industry influence on doctors.

On June 11, a biomedical journal, PLoS, published by the Public Library of Science, filed a motion to intervene in the Prempro litigation. PLoS, represented by a public-interest law firm, Public Justice, wanted to set aside the confidential designation that had been placed on the documents before a series of trials began in 2006. The documents were shown to jurors at trial but were otherwise unavailable publicly.

Plaintiffs say ghostwriting is when a drug company conjures up the concept for an article that will counteract criticism of a drug or embellish its benefits, hires a professional writing company to draft a manuscript conveying the company’s message, retains a physician to sign off as the author and finds a publisher to unwittingly publish the work.

Drug companies disseminate their ghostwritten articles to their sales representatives, who present the articles to physicians as independent proof that the companies’ drugs are safe and effective.

The Times wrote about the ghostwriting issue and Grassley’s efforts in December. On June 17, it joined PLOS in its quest to intervene to ask that the documents be unsealed.

“These documents will educate the public and allow them to better understand materials they use every day in making their often life-depending health care decisions,” said Little Rock attorney Gerry Schulze, who represented the Times.

“Why don’t they want to turn loose of them?” plaintiffs attorney Erik Walker asked during the hearing. Then he answered his own question: “Because it makes them look bad.”

Wyeth attorney Stephen Urbanczyk acknowledged the articles are part of a marketing effort. But he said they are also fair, balanced and scientific and that no one has ever shown that they are inaccurate.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/morris_county_pharmaceutical_o.html
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http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?lname=H04&year=2009

Lobbying spending database – Pharmaceutical Companies – 2009

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company: US Headquarters (New Jersey)
www.bms.com – (609) 818-3000 – More

The usual industries—insurance, medical, hospital, pharma, and the like—are intensely interested in protecting their profits and the status quo, and they have plenty of money to spend to get lobbyists en masse to the Capitol. Dan Eggen and Kimberly Kindy in the Washington Post:

The nation’s largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records.

The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one former insider on their lobbying payrolls, according to The Washington Post’s analysis.

Nearly half of the insiders previously worked for the key committees and lawmakers, including Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), debating whether to adopt a public insurance option opposed by major industry groups. At least 10 others have been members of Congress, such as former House majority leaders Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) and Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom represent a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm.

The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight, according to disclosure records. And even in a city where lobbying is a part of life, the scale of the effort has drawn attention. For example, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) doubled its spending to nearly $7 million in the first quarter of 2009, followed by Pfizer, with more than $6 million.

Blood Money: Blue Dogs and the Medical-Industrial Complex.

Dan Eggen writes for the Washington Post that the Blue Dogs are reaping a bounty of campaign cash from the medical-industrial complex. For example, five days after Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas announced he and the other Blue Dogs were unhappy about the health care bill, “Ross was the guest of honor at a special […]

Wyeth attorney Stephen Urbanczyk acknowledged the articles are part of a marketing effort. But he said they are also fair, balanced and scientific and that no one has ever shown that they are inaccurate.
See more in Business, Medicine/Health, Morris County, News

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/morris_county_pharmaceutical_o.html

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http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?lname=H04&year=2009

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Posted by ThatNJSmell on 07/25/09 at 10:34PM

Nice racket. The government should go after these pharmaceutical companies with the RICO laws, the same laws they use to get high level drug distributors.

Pushing dangerous drugs and then covering up their dangerousness.

Time to publish honest information about all drugs, and to let adults make informed choices on which chemicals to put into their bodies, by letting them choose any substance, even those classified as illegal, due to propaganda like this, phony ghostwritten articles.
Inappropriate? Alert us.
Post a comment
Posted by downrowner on 07/26/09 at 7:19AM

.
..Back to the days of the snake oil salesmen. Flim-Flam at its finest
..They won’t say its a lie – but won’t say its the truth either….a gray area for the black robes to decide
..a threee judge panel ?.?.? hear no – see no – know no, and who did you play golf with last week

Posted by ru4knights on 07/26/09 at 12:09PM

The medical health industry leadership in this counrty is the scum of the earth. It’s not the workers, nurses or doctors. It’s the leadership of these companies that are working the profit motive to the edge of morality. They should all be procecuted to the full extent of the law and put in jail. This is not white collar crime. This criminal. People’s lives are at stake based of false information spead by the people looking to profit off of other people’s illness. How about a silver bullet that closes companies convicted of crap like this? I guess that won’t happen. They will just continue and expand their values by buying other companies and spreading their slimball activities to every other medical company. They will continue to collect bonuses based on success of selling the rest of us lies. National health care is the only way to put someone on the side of the consumer and end the free market healthcare rip-off of this country.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/morris_county_pharmaceutical_o.html

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Former House majority leader Richard K. Armey, left, is one of several ex-congressmen working on behalf of health-care companies as a Senate committee considers legislation. Armey represents a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm.

Former House majority leader Richard K. Armey, left, is one of several ex-congressmen working on behalf of health-care companies as a Senate committee considers legislation. Armey represents a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm. (By Danny Johnston — Associated Press)
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Waterfront Commission officials accused of corruption at N.J., N.Y. ports

by Ted Sherman/The Star-Ledger

Tuesday August 11, 2009, 12:46 PM

NEW YORK — The bi-state agency formed to combat corruption within the New York and New Jersey ports became riddled with abuse — misusing federal Homeland Security funding, hiring unqualified cops, and allowing convicted felons to get jobs.

In a scathing 67-page report, the New York Inspector General said the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor had failed in its duties. Gov. Jon Corzine has already fired the New Jersey Commissioner, former State PBA President Michael Madonna.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/waterfront_commission_official.html

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New Jersey makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like Sunday school class . . .

my note.

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Waterfront Commission officials accused of corruption at N.J., N.Y. ports

by Ted Sherman/The Star-Ledger

Tuesday August 11, 2009, 12:46 PM

NEW YORK — The bi-state agency formed to combat corruption within the New York and New Jersey ports became riddled with abuse — misusing federal Homeland Security funding, hiring unqualified cops, and allowing convicted felons to get jobs.

In a scathing 67-page report, the New York Inspector General said the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor had failed in its duties. Gov. Jon Corzine has already fired the New Jersey Commissioner, former State PBA President Michael Madonna.

Port Newark in a January 2008 photo. A report released today details abuses and mismanagement at the Waterfront Commission, which was tasked to prevent crime at New York and New Jersey’s ports.

“This was a total agency breakdown,” Inspector General Joseph Fisch said. “Instead of ridding the waterfront of corruption, this agency itself was corrupt.”

Established in 1953, after public hearings sparked by a newspaper investigation exposed pervasive corruption involving mobsters and dock workers, later portrayed in the film “On the Waterfront,” the quasi-independent commission oversees waterfront hiring and has a police force to conduct investigations. The commission has an annual budget of more than $11 million and a staff of 100 employees.

Michael Madonna, New Jersey commissioner for the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, was fired today by Gov. Jon Corzine after New York authorities released a report detailing abuses of power at the commission. Madonna appears in a 1998 photo.

But the commission had long ago stopped doing its job, according to the report, citing favors to insiders, corrupt dealings, fraud and abuse. In one example, it noted the commission bought a patrol boat paid for by a $170,000 Homeland Security grant, which was supposed to be “capable of early detection of a waterborne attack.”

Its role was to “deploy officers…at high risk target locations such as the NYC Passenger Ship Terminal, Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne.” Instead, it was used to escort guests and VIPs during Fleet Week and other events.

The audit found Madonna forced several unqualified applicants on the commission’s police department, including one individual who failed the required test twice, and then scored the highest mark ever recorded on his third try. The applicant later boasted that Madonna had given him the answers. Madonna also had a commission employee deliver building materials from the port to his home in Oakland.

The commission’s audits were more than a decade behind schedule, but the inspector general found that Frank Nastasi, the director of audit and control, often kept his door closed, while running a private tax preparation business at work and accessing pornography on his office computer.

And former general counsel Jon Deutsch helped someone keep his port business despite a federal racketeering conviction for storing illegally diverted international goods in his port warehouse.

Since the inspector general began investigating the commission, former executive director Tomas De Maria resigned and Deutsch was fired for misconduct in October 2008.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/waterfront_commission_official.html

My Note –

Yeah, that’s the bunch that needs to be deciding what is normal or not and forcing people into mental health services against their will. Oh yeah – what is not insane about that? . . . nothing.

– cricketdiane

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Two N.J. pharmaceutical companies settle with Alabama over Medicaid drug pricing

by The Associated Press

Friday May 22, 2009, 6:21 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Six pharmaceutical companies, including two from New Jersey, have settled Medicaid drug pricing lawsuits with the state of Alabama for $89 million, the latest in a string of drug fraud cases resulting in a financial boon to the state.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King announced today that the settlements were reached with Aventis Pharmaceutical L.P., of Bridgewater, N.J.; Schering-Plough/Warrick Companies, with global headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J.; Abbott Laboratories of Chicago; TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA, of North Wales, Pa.; Forest Laboratories, with corporate headquarters in New York City; and Baxter International, of Deerfield, Ill.

Outside the headquarters for drug maker Schering-Plough in March in Kenilworth. Schering-Plough, along with Aventis, based in Bridgewater, and four other pharmaceutical companies settled a lawsuit with the state of Alabama over drug pricing.

King did not say how much each company agreed to pay. Part of the agreement was that the state would not release the individual amounts.

The companies were among the more than 70 that King sued in 2005, charging them with manipulating the price that the state’s Medicaid program pays for prescription drugs.

The state had previously settled with 10 companies for almost $35 million. The state’s lawsuits against four companies have gone to trial, with the state winning judgments against each totaling $352.4 million. Those verdicts are being appealed.

King said Friday the bulk of the money from the latest settlement will go into the state’s cash-strapped General Fund Budget. That’s the budget that funds Medicaid, state troopers, prisons and other non-education state services.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/05/two_nj_pharmaceutical_companie.html
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N.J. teen pleads guilty to murder in beating of homeless man

by The Associated Press

Thursday May 22, 2008, 6:29 PM

One of the four teens charged with beating a homeless man to death in Camden has pleaded guilty to murder.

The 16-year-old boy from Camden was sentenced to 14 years in a youth detention center.

Another suspect, 16-year-old Mark Hopkins of Pennsauken, has agreed to have his case heard in adult court. He is expected to enter a plea Friday.

The other suspects have not been publicly named because they are juveniles.

The teens are accused of attacking 54-year-old John Anthony Smith as he slept on a Camden park bench on Aug. 30, punching, kicking and hitting him with a pipe. Smith died at Cooper University Hospital 18 days later.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/05/nj_teen_pleads_guilty_to_murde.html
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The case summaries of violent acts committed against homeless individuals were gathered from a variety of sources. These sources included, but were not limited to, three main areas: published narratives found in news reports, information gathered by homeless advocates across the country, and self-reported incidents from homeless or formerly homeless individuals. While we could not always identify the motives behind each attack based on our sources of information, some of these attacks were perpetrated due to a bias against the victim because of his or her homeless status. Other attacks may have been perpetrated merely because the homeless person was in a vulnerable position to be attacked, due to the nature of homelessness. Only attacks committed by housed individuals toward homeless individuals were included; crimes committed by homeless individuals toward other homeless individuals were excluded from this report.

CASE DESCRIPTIONS OF DEATHS BY MONTH, DATE, AND CITY IN 2008:

TOTAL DEATHS: 27

FEBRUARY

Frederick, Maryland
Homeless Man Murdered

February 14: William Sigler, 49, a repeat offender of assault, drug possession, reckless endangerment, sexual assault, and battery, was found guilty of the fatal attack of Samuel Webster Hood Jr., 57, a homeless man living in Frederick. Police were called to respond to an unconscious Hood with his skull cracked open from the attack. Authorities report evidence of strangulation and severe trauma to the head and neck from repeated assault. A witness reportedly saw Sigler standing over Hood shouting to call 911, but said Sigler left before authorities arrived.

Evidence found at the scene showed blood marks on the wall of the alley as well as on a windowsill. Police were led to Sigler’s apartment, where a search produced blood spattered sneakers, blue jeans, and a hat.

In December, Sigler pleading guilty toecond-degree murder Sigler was sentenced by County Circuit Court Judge G. Edward Dwyer Jr. to 30 to 50 years in the Maryland Division of Correction. The Frederick News-Post reported, “It was the maximum sentence Dwyer could hand down.” After trial, there remains to be no motive for the crime. When Sigler was told that the victim was Sammy Hood, he said, “Oh him, he’s just a beggar, a vagrant.”

MARCH

Richmond, California
Two Homeless Men Attacked and Robbed in Separate Incidences on the Same Morning

March 29: The violent streak occurring in Richmond, CA is continuing at full force, with two more robberies and shootings of homeless men. One homeless man was robbed of $100 and a case of beer at 1:20 a.m. on March 29th by two men. The two men then shot him twice in the back; police reported that the 35 year-old man’s injuries were not life threatening. The second victim, Oscar Alejandre, 42, was shot at 6 a.m. on Saturday and died shortly after. Witnesses report that he was robbed before two attackers shot him. Police were unsure if the two shootings and robberies were related; no arrests were made in either case.

APRIL

Tucson, Arizona
Homeless Man Beaten to Death Under Overpass

April 13: In April, Steven Paul Gedatus, 62, was beaten to death by two men while he was sitting underneath a highway overpass in April. Scott Allen King,18, was convicted of negligent homicide on July 24, 2009, and is facing 4-8 years in prison. Adam Scott King, 29, faces trial in August and may receive 10-22 years in prison. An autopsy report found that Gedatus died from blunt force trauma and had sustained multiple injuries including five broken ribs and a ruptured spleen during the attack. Adam King was convicted of murder and is now serving time.

New York, New York
Three Men Charged in Death of Homeless Man

April 25: Shamod Murray, 33, a homeless man living in New York City, was found dead in the hallway of a Harlem apartment complex. Three tenants, Dean Fuller, 45, Stephan Fuller, 37, and Roger McFarland, 41, have been charged with the crime. Murray was found by the three men urinating in the hallway of the apartment building, and all three men claim that they were just trying to convince Murray to clean up the mess. Dean Fuller reports that Murray “blew a gasket and attacked us.” Dean and Stephan tied Murray up with a rope and called the police, but when they arrived he was already dead. A city official said that the medical examiner’s report, as to the cause of death, is still being investigated. A relative of Murray’s, Monique Murray-Harrington, claims that the men strangled her cousin and wants “these men to pay for what they did to my cousin. He did not deserve to leave us like that.”

Glen Burnie, Maryland
16 Year-old Boy Beats Homeless Man to Death with Baseball Bat

April 29: Brian Michael Myers, 49, was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat by a teenager, Christian John Schellenschlager Jr, 16. In a Capital Online report, police state that after a brief argument, Mr. Schellenschlager went and got the bat, moved toward Mr. Myers from behind, and struck him in the head. Mr. Myers was taken to a Baltimore hospital and passed away on May 14. Mr. Schellenschlager was initially charged with premeditated first-degree murder, but those charges were downgraded to second-degree murder after a grand jury declined to indict him. Mr. Schellenschlager will be tried as a Juvenile, where he is pleading self defense.

MAY

West Palm Beach, Florida
Two homeless men killed in two separate incidences in one week

May 17: In West Palm Beach, Florida, there have been two different homeless men slain during the course of a week. One man, Rolando Longoria, 27, was riding his bicycle in a shopping plaza and was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting; eye witnesses report the shooter being male driving a black car. Police say that Longoria had a confrontation with the driver behind the Starfish Game Room located in the West Palm Plaza. Sheriff spokeswoman Teri Barbara said detectives believe there were witnesses in the area.

Prior to the shooting, the Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy on a homeless man; the report ruled the cause of death “homicide” due to a fatal gunshot wound. The victim, David Roland Ulmer, 41, was found by a woman at about 10:50 am. It is believed that the two incidents may be related.

Isla Vista, California
Homeless Man Severely Beaten

May 31: 53 year-old Gregory Ghan was found to be severely beaten in front of the Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic, a facility that treats uninsured and underprivileged people. “Someone repeatedly said, ‘Why do you gotta kick somebody while they’re sleeping?’ A witness, known as Shadow, reported hearing a different male then said, “You want to fucking die?” Shadow claims to have heard a bottle breaking and saw a young man hopping around like a boxer and running off. Sometime afterward, a group of five people ran past the clinic entrance, and one reportedly said, ‘You’re messing with our frat brother.’” Ghan was transported to the hospital, but died shortly thereafter.

JUNE

Jacksonville, North Carolina
Homeless Man Endures Multiple Attacks; the Last is Fatal

June 23: Mike Kozak, 41, was found June 23rd in the woods behind Piney Green Shopping Center in Jacksonville North Carolina, stateedical examiner Dr. Cynthia Gardner reports that he died of “multiple blunt and sharp force trauma injuries to the head and torso.” After further investigation, it has become know that Kozak’s stomach was cut open with a beer bottle and his “guts were ripped out”. His attackers, Jason Allen Blackmon, 21, Jay Oldaker, 28, and Dustin Newcome, 23, were arrested for murder. Oldaker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February and promised to testify in the trial. He received a sentence of 12 ½ to 16 years in prison. Newcome pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder in April and was sentenced to 24 to 29 years in prison. Blackmon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He received a sentence of 37 ½ to 46 ½ years in prison. Police report that the three men were acquainted with Kozak prior to his attack. Kozak, who had a home with his sister, chose to live in the woods behind Jeff’s Automotive on Piney Greene Road and according to the owner Jeff Santiago, he “never bothered anyone.” Employees working at USA Discounters said that Kozak’s dog would not stop barking and eventually someone went to check on Kozak, who was found dead. David Maready, who lives in Piney Green and knew Kozak, said that a week before his death he had been beaten very badly, and that he “had black eyes and it looked like his nose had been broken.” However, these injuries were unrelated to his attack.

Cleveland, Ohio
Mother’s Heart is Broken, when Homeless Son is Brutally Murdered

June 25: At least three teenagers brutally beat Anthony Waters, 42, in Cleveland, Ohio on June 25th 2008. Waters was on his way to visit his mother who lives in the area, taking side streets because he fears harassment from local residents. A security camera outside G&M Towing Company, where the beating took place, caught passing cars slowing down as they saw Waters being attacked, but nobody stopped to help until employees at G&M ran to Waters’ aid. Waters’ mother, Joyce Watkins, says that her son has been battling alcoholism and that he often stayed at a men’s shelter near her house, but that they always stayed in contact with each other. “He may have been hurting himself with his drinking, but he would never do anything to hurt another person,” his mother said. “This is ridiculous and I can’t understand why they would beat him like that. My heart is broken.” Lt. Thomas Stacho, a Cleveland Police Department spokesman said that the attackers appeared to be between the ages of 13-18 and all wore white shirts. Waters suffered from a lacerated spleen and broken ribs, He later died at a hospital.

JULY

Boston, Massachusetts
Homeless Veteran Killed in Middle of Marketplace During the Day

July 4: Timothy Finch, 40, a homeless veteran, was killed in Boston. Despite the attack taking place in broad daylight, many people who were in the area said that they didn’t see anything or hadn’t heard about the incident. According to an article by the Boston Globe, Lee Diamond, a 20 year-old who frequents the area where the attack took place, says that there are a lot of homeless people in the area but “its like, ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell,’ most people walking by wouldn’t stop and look. You’d just keep walking.” Police are searching for clues as to what happened to Finch, and have been asking witnesses and people in the area on the day of the attack. One witness, as reported by the Globe, said that she saw four men beating Finch, one of them holding a sack that looked as though it was filled with a solid object. Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department, says that “every homicide is of great concern to us, but certainly when one occurs in broad daylight we find it troubling.” Finch has been reported as registering at a homeless shelter a number of years ago, and in 2001 he enrolled in a program at the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, but advocates say that they haven’t seen him since 2005 when he returned for emergency shelter.

San Pablo, California
Homeless Man Shot in Park in Broad Daylight

July 15: 20-year-old Ryan Hutchins was shot in the head in Davis Park at 4:57 p.m. in San Pablo, CA. Hutchins was immediately rushed to a near-by medical center, but he died the following day. Two people were arrested for the crime, Brandon Christopher Loveyaeger, 22, and India Coleman, 37. Both San Pablo residents were charged with homicide. Police Detective Bradley Lindobolm stated that witnesses identified Coleman as being present at the shooting. Loveyaeger turned himself in soon thereafter and was identified as the shooter.

Richmond, California
Homeless Woman Beat to Death

July 23: 50 year-old Leslie Valdez, a homeless woman, was found badly beaten on Fifth Street and taken to a local medical center. She died four days later. Police are currently pursuing two individuals, 23 year-old Richmond residents Joaquin Orozco and Alexis Renney, who are prime suspects in the case. Investigators believe two additional youths were also accomplices in the crime.

AUGUST

Panama City, Florida
Teen Stabs man to Death

August 2: Jose Gonzalez, 17, has been charged with 1st degree murder and faces a life in prison sentence. Gonzalez was convicted for stabbing Timothy Humphries, 49, to death one evening. He is said to have pulled Humphries off his bike when he was on his way to his cousin’s house.

New York, New York
Homeless Man Brutally Attacked Outside Sikh Temple

August 8: The victim, who was in his 50s, was found dead outside the Sikh temple in Queens around 6 a.m. The man’s face was unrecognizable due to the fact that it had been beaten with a broomstick. The blows to his face were not fatal; however, a stab wound did prove to be the cause of death. People living in the area said that they had previously seen teenagers hassling the victim; although, it is unknown if there is any connection between these two events. There is no information known on the attackers, but there was a bloody footprint left that the police will use to further their investigation.
Pontiac, Michigan
A Group of Teenagers Attack Two Homeless Men

August 26: Three teenage boys between the ages of 14 and 15, who all attended Jefferson Middle School, attacked two homeless men in a span of three days. Two of the boys were identified as Thomas J. McCloud Jr., and Dontez Marc Tillman. The first victim, Wilford Hamilton, died of head injuries a couple days later when he was taken off life support. Another homeless man, Heffern Hoffman, 65, was attacked the following day, he became unconscious from the beating and went into a coma. He was brought to the hospital to undergo surgery. On October 14, Hoffman died after being in a vegetative state since August.

According to Kevin Braddock, the police spokesman, “just the severity of the crime, the injuries, they’re brutal for juveniles”. After they attacked the two homeless men, they also attacked two pedestrians. The pedestrians’ ages were 33 and 52. The three teenagers were caught, and were charged with the first-degree murder of Wilford Hamilton. Thomas McCloud, who was charged in the killing of Heffern Hoffman, was charged as an adult in the beating death of Mr. Willford Hamiton. Both teens are currently being held without bail. If convicted, the boys could face life in prison.

St. Louis, Missouri
Homeless Man Killed at Bus Stop

August 31: A homeless man who appeared to be in his 60’s was attacked during the night at a south St. Louis bus stop. The man, who has yet to be identified, died, and may have suffered a heart attack during the attack. Gregory Bean, who witnessed the attack, saw that the victim was punched in the head and in the stomach. The perpetrator of the crime has not yet been identified.

SEPTEMBER

North Little Rock, Arkansas
Homeless Man Beaten to Death with Baseball Bat

September 27: Homeless man Anthony Patterson, 50, was found beaten, bloodied and dead on Main St. of the upscale Argenta section of North Little Rock. Police followed a trail of blood to the house of Donald Scott Grace, 50, and found him with blood still on his clothes and the bloody bat in the foyer. According to Patty Lindemann of Hunger Free Arkansas, Grace was arrested and charged with pre-meditated murder.

However, after the crime was committed, the Argenta community was outraged at the bail posted for the crime. North Little Rock District Judge Jim Hamilton set Grace’s bail at $25,000, which was one of the lowest for a homicide in the local court’s history. It was one of only two bails set below $100,000 for a homicide since 2006. Currently charged with first-degree murder, Grace awaits trial.

OCTOBER

Los Angeles, California
Homeless Man Set on Fire and Burned to Death

October 9: John Robert McGraham, 55, a homeless man, was drenched in gasoline and set on fire at 9:30 p.m. on the side of the road on 3rd Street in the Mid-Wilshire area. He was brought to a hospital and then pronounced dead. Benjamin Martin, 30, was linked to the murder by DNA evidence and witness accounts. Deputy Chief Charlie Beck commented on Martin’s motive saying Martin had, “straight-up personal dislike and little bit of crazy” toward homeless people. McGraham, or simply “John”, as he was known to many in the community, was said to have never bothered anyone and rarely asked for money, according to the Los Angeles Times. On the evening of Sunday, October 12, a group of 200 plus people gathered at the spot where McGraham was killed and created a memorial for him at the site.

NOVEMBER

Long Beach, California
Five Homeless Gunned Down

November 1: Five victims were gunned to death in a homeless “hot spot” off interstate 405 in Long Beach California on Saturday November 1st. Alongside bags of belongings, were four unrelated and homeless victims. It was later found that victim Vanessa Malaepule lived with her mother and six children. The shooting took place sometime between late afternoon and night, according to a compilation of witness accounts. “Some neighbors reported hearing gunfire, yelling and a car speeding off,” reported Thomas Watkins of The Associated Press. Three men and two women were found dead the next day, and “some had been shot more than once”. Identified victims include: Lorenzo Perez Villicana, 46, and Vanessa Malaepule, 35, Katherine Lynn Verdun, 24, Frederick Doyle Neumeier, 53, and Hamid Shraifat, 41. The suspects remain unknown, however were considered armed; “the people who did this were not homeless.” On the events, Commander Farinelli of the Long Beach Police Department commented that, “violence against and among homeless people had long been a problem”. And for Don Morgan, Long Beach resident and friend of the five victims, the tragedy was “a case (that) shines a light on violence against the homeless,” a case that will hopefully make the public more aware.

San Antonio, Texas
Homeless Man Burned to Death by Two Teenagers

November 19: 18 year-old Juan Gutierrez and 19 year-old Carlos Portillo were out partying the night of the 19th of November before they stabbed, beat, and eventually burned an innocent homeless San Antonio man to death. Johnny Pena was a barber three years ago before he hit the streets. Minding mostly to himself, Johnny was considered by his neighbors to be harmless. That night, authorities say, “he was sleeping in an alley when two teenagers encountered him”. At that time, Gutierrez and Portillo continued to, “kick Pena repeatedly, stabbed him with a pocketknife, and then hit him with a metal pipe”. Before he died, Johnny was doused with flammable liquid and lit on fire. Gutierrez and Portillo have been charged with the murder.

DECEMBER

Washington, District of Columbia
Frequent December Attacks on Homeless

December 24: Yoshio Nakada, 61, was murdered in his sleep this Christmas Eve. With chop wounds splitting his fractured skull, it is believed Nakada suffered blows to the head from a hatchet. Often characterized as “sweet in nature” and ‘sweetest of all people”, Nakada was found dead due to head injuries near the Watergate Complex in Washington DC. Of the 2, 859 recorded homeless individuals in the D.C. area, 34 % say they have fallen victim to some type of violent crime. Currently there is a $25,000 reward for information about the one responsible for Yoshio Nakada’s death.

http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/hatecrimes/case_death.html

from – National Coalition for the Homeless

Case Descriptions Involving Death – National Coalition for the

Homeless Man Beaten To Death. January 24: Patrick Donavan, a 51-year-old homeless man, …. Camden, New Jersey. Four Teens Murder Homeless Man
http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/…/case_death.html

***

Gov. Corzine gives N.J. families greater say on outpatient therapies for mentally ill relatives

by Susan K. Livio/Statehouse Bureau

Tuesday August 11, 2009, 7:02 PM

TRENTON — Families will have a greater say in determining whether their seriously mentally ill loved ones who pose a risk to themselves or others must be ordered to attend outpatient treatment, under legislation Gov. John Corzine signed today.

Once implemented within the next three years, the law will allow families to seek a court order to force mentally ill people into an outpatient treatment program if a licensed mental health professional deems it necessary.

A July 28 photo of Gov. Jon Corzine in Philadelphia. Corzine today signed legislation allowing families to have a greater say in determining whether their mentally ill family members must be ordered to attend outpatient therapy.

In signing the bill, Corzine also pledged to find the money in the state budget to expand treatment services and train judges who will be required to preside over these civil commitment cases. Otherwise, he said, people “may end up on the criminal docket because individuals were not in treatment and become a burden in a different format.”

The law’s enactment culminated a six-year quest by the family of 11-year-old Gregory Katsnelson of Marlton, who was killed in October 2002 by a man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia who had refused treatment.

“Losing our son was devastating, but what made this tragedy harder to endure was learning this man’s family was aware of his condition and had tried on several occasions to get him the help he so desperately needed,” Cathy Katsnelson, Mark’s mother, said at the signing ceremony. “They had been denied and turned away because that was how the system worked.”

Katsnelson told the crowd of more than 50 people at the Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove that she and her family “began this endeavor as victims feeling helpless to change what has happened to us, but after six years of working on this legislation … we are now survivors,”

The legislation, enacted in 43 other states, was “batted around like a ping-pong” ball for years, said bill sponsor Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex), noting it created an emotional debate between mental health advocates. Some argued forcing people into treatment violates their civil rights, while others say the measure is necessary to protect the public and patients who may be too ill to recognize the severity of their condition.

“Unfortunately, sometimes we have to take that step to get the help people need,” Codey said.

Carolyn Beauchamp, executive director of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, one of the bill’s more vocal opponents, said she is not convinced coercing people into treatment will work.

“We’re delighted the governor has made a commitment to expanding services and we will be watching and hoping this will happen when they implement the law,” Beauchamp said, noting “there are waiting list for services all over the place.”

The law will require people suffering from a serious mental illness but who have refused treatment to go to a screening center where licensed mental health professionals would evaluate them. The screeners would advise a judge whether the person is in imminent risk and needs in-patient care, or whether outpatient care would be enough to stabilize them.

If screeners deem the person in need of outpatient treatment only, they would refer that person to a community mental health provider. But if the patient does not comply, a judge can issue a court order mandating the person return to the screener to evaluate whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is required.

Previous coverage

June 17N.J. Legislature passes bill allowing forced treatment to mentally ill, awaiting Corzine approval

Dec. 8, 2008Senate panel backs bill allowing forced treatment of mentally ill

Jan. 17, 2008Top court to rule on supervsion for the mentally ill

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/gov_corzine_signs_bill_allowin.html

***

Attacks on homeless rising, many motivated simply by thrill

By Eric Lichtblau / New York Times

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 08, 2009

WASHINGTON — With economic troubles pushing more people onto the streets in the last few years, law enforcement officials and researchers are seeing a surge in unprovoked attacks against the homeless, and a number of states are considering legislation to treat such assaults as hate crimes.

In October, Maryland will become the first state to expand its hate-crime law to add stiffer penalties for attacks on the homeless. The District of Columbia approved a similar measure this week, and another such bill was introduced last week in Congress.

A report due out this weekend from the National Coalition for the Homeless documents a rise in violence over the last decade, with at least 880 unprovoked attacks against the homeless at the hands of nonhomeless people, including 244 fatalities. An advance copy was provided to The New York Times.

Sometimes, researchers say, one homeless person attacks another in turf battles or other disputes. But more often, they say, the attackers are outsiders: men or in most cases teenage boys who punch, kick, shoot or set afire people living on the streets, frequently killing them, simply for the sport of it, their victims all but invisible to society.

“A lot of what we see are thrill offenders,” said Professor Brian Levin, a criminologist who runs the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

On Thursday, two homeless men in Hollywood were stabbed to death and a third was wounded in a three-hour spree of separate daylight attacks. The police arrested a 54-year-old local man who they said appeared to have made homeless people his random targets.

Researchers say a combustible mix of factors has added fuel to the problem. Rising unemployment and foreclosures continue to push people into the streets, with some estimates now putting the nationwide number of homeless above 1 million.

And in cities like Las Vegas, public crackdowns on encampments for the homeless and cutbacks in social services have frequently made street people more visible as targets for would-be assailants.

Further, in the last several years the Internet has seen a proliferation of “bum fight” videos, shot by young men and boys who are seen beating the homeless or who pay transients a few dollars to fight each other.

The National Coalition for the Homeless, which works to change government policies and bring people off the streets, says in its new report that 58 percent of assailants implicated in attacks against the homeless in the last 10 years were teenagers.

Michael Stoops, the group’s executive director, said social prejudices were “dehumanizing” the homeless and condoning hostile treatment. He pointed to a blurb titled “Hunt the Homeless” in the current issue of Maxim, a popular men’s magazine. It spotlights a coming “hobo convention” in Iowa and says: “Kill one for fun. We’re 87 percent sure it’s legal.”

With victims wary of going to the police, statistics on the attacks are often incomplete. But surveys show much higher rates of assault, rape and other crimes of violence against the homeless than almost any other group, said Levin.

Recognition of the problem is spurring legislative action.

“More and more, we’re hearing about homeless people being attacked for no other reason than that they’re homeless, and we’ve got to do something about it,” Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, said in an interview.

Johnson introduced a measure in the House last week to make attacks on the homeless a federal hate crime and require the FBI to collect data on it. (The Senate voted in July to expand federal hate crimes to include attacks on gay and transgender victims, another frequent target.)

And in addition to the measures already approved in Maryland and the District of Columbia, proposals to add penalties for attacks on the homeless are under consideration in California, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas.

The push has lacked any organized support by major civil rights groups. In Florida, which leads the country in assaults on homeless people, groups like the Anti-Defamation League have opposed recognizing those attacks as hate crimes.

Opponents argue that homelessness, unlike race or ethnicity, is not a permanent condition and that broadening hate crimes to include it would dilute the law.

“I hear the same rhetoric all the time,” Johnson said. “They ask, ‘Why is their life more important than anyone else’s?’ ”

The coalition’s study, which relied on police and news reports but excluded crimes driven by factors like robbery, found 106 documented attacks against the homeless last year.

That was a doubling of levels seen six or seven years ago but a sharp drop from 2007, an apparent improvement that researchers are still trying to explain. The study found 27 fatalities last year, flat relative to the year before. Eight others were shot, nine raped and 54 beaten.

In Portland, Ore., twin brothers were charged with five unprovoked attacks against homeless people in a park. One of the victims was a man beaten with his own bike, another a woman pushed down a steep staircase.

In Cleveland, a man leaving a homeless shelter to visit his mother was “savagely beaten by a group of thugs,” the police said.

In Los Angeles, a homeless man who was a neighborhood fixture was doused in gasoline and set on fire.

In Boston, a homeless Army veteran was beaten to death as witnesses near Faneuil Hall reportedly looked on.

And in Jacksonville, N.C., a group of young men fatally stabbed a homeless man behind a shopping strip, cutting open his abdomen with a beer bottle.

In Las Vegas, home to a large population of the homeless, there were no reported killings of any of them last year, but many say hostilities have risen as the city moves to get them out of the parks and off the streets.

Some of the Las Vegas homeless resort to living in a maze of underground flood channels beneath the Strip. There they face flash floods, disease, black widows and dank, pitch-dark conditions, but some tunnel dwellers say life there is better than being harassed and threatened by assailants and the police.

“Out there, anything goes,” said Manny Lang, who has lived in the tunnel for months, recalling the stones and profanities with which a group of teenagers pelted him last winter when he slept above ground. “But in here, nothing’s going to happen to us.”

Their plight is a revealing commentary on the violence facing the homeless, said Matt O’Brien, a Las Vegas writer who runs an outreach group for the homeless.

“It’s hard to believe that tunnels that can fill a foot per minute with floodwater could be safer than aboveground Vegas,” O’Brien said, “but many homeless people think they are. No outsider is going to attack you down there in the dark.”

WASHINGTON — With economic troubles pushing more people onto the streets in the last few years, law enforcement officials and researchers are seeing a surge in unprovoked attacks against the homeless, and a number of states are considering legislation to treat such assaults as hate crimes.

In October, Maryland will become the first state to expand its hate-crime law to add stiffer penalties for attacks on the homeless. The District of Columbia approved a similar measure this week, and another such bill was introduced last week in Congress.

A report due out this weekend from the National Coalition for the Homeless documents a rise in violence over the last decade, with at least 880 unprovoked attacks against the homeless at the hands of nonhomeless people, including 244 fatalities. An advance copy was provided to The New York Times.

Sometimes, researchers say, one homeless person attacks another in turf battles or other disputes. But more often, they say, the attackers are outsiders: men or in most cases teenage boys who punch, kick, shoot or set afire people living on the streets, frequently killing them, simply for the sport of it, their victims all but invisible to society.

“A lot of what we see are thrill offenders,” said Professor Brian Levin, a criminologist who runs the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

On Thursday, two homeless men in Hollywood were stabbed to death and a third was wounded in a three-hour spree of separate daylight attacks. The police arrested a 54-year-old local man who they said appeared to have made homeless people his random targets.

Researchers say a combustible mix of factors has added fuel to the problem. Rising unemployment and foreclosures continue to push people into the streets, with some estimates now putting the nationwide number of homeless above 1 million.

And in cities like Las Vegas, public crackdowns on encampments for the homeless and cutbacks in social services have frequently made street people more visible as targets for would-be assailants.

Further, in the last several years the Internet has seen a proliferation of “bum fight” videos, shot by young men and boys who are seen beating the homeless or who pay transients a few dollars to fight each other.

The National Coalition for the Homeless, which works to change government policies and bring people off the streets, says in its new report that 58 percent of assailants implicated in attacks against the homeless in the last 10 years were teenagers.

Michael Stoops, the group’s executive director, said social prejudices were “dehumanizing” the homeless and condoning hostile treatment. He pointed to a blurb titled “Hunt the Homeless” in the current issue of Maxim, a popular men’s magazine. It spotlights a coming “hobo convention” in Iowa and says: “Kill one for fun. We’re 87 percent sure it’s legal.”

With victims wary of going to the police, statistics on the attacks are often incomplete. But surveys show much higher rates of assault, rape and other crimes of violence against the homeless than almost any other group, said Levin.

Recognition of the problem is spurring legislative action.

“More and more, we’re hearing about homeless people being attacked for no other reason than that they’re homeless, and we’ve got to do something about it,” Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, said in an interview.

Johnson introduced a measure in the House last week to make attacks on the homeless a federal hate crime and require the FBI to collect data on it. (The Senate voted in July to expand federal hate crimes to include attacks on gay and transgender victims, another frequent target.)

And in addition to the measures already approved in Maryland and the District of Columbia, proposals to add penalties for attacks on the homeless are under consideration in California, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas.

The push has lacked any organized support by major civil rights groups. In Florida, which leads the country in assaults on homeless people, groups like the Anti-Defamation League have opposed recognizing those attacks as hate crimes.

Opponents argue that homelessness, unlike race or ethnicity, is not a permanent condition and that broadening hate crimes to include it would dilute the law.

“I hear the same rhetoric all the time,” Johnson said. “They ask, ‘Why is their life more important than anyone else’s?’ ”

The coalition’s study, which relied on police and news reports but excluded crimes driven by factors like robbery, found 106 documented attacks against the homeless last year.

That was a doubling of levels seen six or seven years ago but a sharp drop from 2007, an apparent improvement that researchers are still trying to explain. The study found 27 fatalities last year, flat relative to the year before. Eight others were shot, nine raped and 54 beaten.

In Portland, Ore., twin brothers were charged with five unprovoked attacks against homeless people in a park. One of the victims was a man beaten with his own bike, another a woman pushed down a steep staircase.

In Cleveland, a man leaving a homeless shelter to visit his mother was “savagely beaten by a group of thugs,” the police said.

In Los Angeles, a homeless man who was a neighborhood fixture was doused in gasoline and set on fire.

In Boston, a homeless Army veteran was beaten to death as witnesses near Faneuil Hall reportedly looked on.

And in Jacksonville, N.C., a group of young men fatally stabbed a homeless man behind a shopping strip, cutting open his abdomen with a beer bottle.

In Las Vegas, home to a large population of the homeless, there were no reported killings of any of them last year, but many say hostilities have risen as the city moves to get them out of the parks and off the streets.

Some of the Las Vegas homeless resort to living in a maze of underground flood channels beneath the Strip. There they face flash floods, disease, black widows and dank, pitch-dark conditions, but some tunnel dwellers say life there is better than being harassed and threatened by assailants and the police.

“Out there, anything goes,” said Manny Lang, who has lived in the tunnel for months, recalling the stones and profanities with which a group of teenagers pelted him last winter when he slept above ground. “But in here, nothing’s going to happen to us.”

Their plight is a revealing commentary on the violence facing the homeless, said Matt O’Brien, a Las Vegas writer who runs an outreach group for the homeless.

“It’s hard to believe that tunnels that can fill a foot per minute with floodwater could be safer than aboveground Vegas,” O’Brien said, “but many homeless people think they are. No outsider is going to attack you down there in the dark.”

http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20090808_attacks_on_homeless_rising_many_motivated_simply_by_thrill.html

***

Mental health service grows

By Helen Altonn

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 11, 2009

Looking for creative ways to deal with reduced funding and increased needs has led to expanded services by Mental Health Kokua.

“The expansion was a little bit of a surprise, in a way,” said Greg Payton, chief executive officer of the nonprofit agency.

“We had long discussions with the staff and board on how to take the existing organizational structure and maximize it,” he said. “We thought we’d try to diversify and use other funding sources, like commercial health plans, for a different population of people who have health insurance and might need counseling.”

The result is a new outpatient counseling program for adults, adolescents and children called Kokua Counseling Centers. It began on Oahu and will open soon on Maui and early next year in Kona using existing locations.

Another surprise, Payton said, was that Mental Health Kokua picked up new clients as nonprofit organizations discontinued services on Maui and downsized in Kona. “We expected to cut back services July 1, and we ended up expanding because we were taking over other programs.”

The agency opened a 16-bed residential facility in Wailuku in June and added about 30 people to its case management program, he said. It also opened a new house in Kona for an additional eight consumers.

Mental Health Kokua has for nearly 40 years developed and offered outreach, community and residential services for homeless and mentally ill adults across the state. It has an annual budget of about $8 million from state funding, United Way and private insurance but lost more than $500,000 in state contracts this year, Payton said.

LEARN MORE

For more information about Mental Health Kokua, see www.MHKHawaii.org or call 529-4550.

During the first half of this year, he said the agency “encountered funding delays, contracts canceled, legislative maneuvering, increased competition between social service providers, new entrants into the local health care system” and challenges to its reserve funds and changes to its business model.

About 130 people are employed by the programs statewide, plus some part-time staff at housing sites, Payton said. “We ended up not filling a lot of vacancies and only had to lay off about five people.”

He said he was discussing the situation with board president Alan Tamanaha, and they agreed, “The needs don’t go away just because the funding does. We had to come up with alternatives to make this work.”

Alternatives included diversifying funding with a new outpatient business, maximizing existing staff members and facilities, using technology to increase efficiency, downsizing administration and cutting costs, he said.

He said the agency had been getting frequent phone calls from people asking, “How come you guys don’t provide counseling?”

So Kokua Counseling Centers was added to Mental Health Kokua’s many services with Greg Browne as program director. Browne formerly was clinical therapist and supervisor of the Child and Adolescent Program at Kaiser Permanente Behavioral Health Services. Payton formerly was regional manager for Kaiser’s behavioral health services.

Pointing out that Mental Health Kokua historically has served residents with more serious mental health needs, Browne said, “What we wanted to do was to expand services so we can respond partially to the rough economic times, the current stress people are experiencing, and make services available to everybody in the general population.”

The main clinic is at 1221 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 345, he said, explaining it is unique because of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team and the opportunity for patients to be involved in their treatment.

“We have care pathways of treatment with a beginning, middle and end, using objective measures to track progress, and have data to share with clients,” Browne explained. “People seem to be responding to that. They want to be part of formulation of goals, and they want to see progress and they want to know there’s hope.”

Services also include individual, group and couples therapy and medication management.

“It’s an innovative program, and a lot of people are going to benefit from it,” Browne added, noting Mental Health Kokua’s tag line is, “Everybody needs a little help now and then.”

Looking for creative ways to deal with reduced funding and increased needs has led to expanded services by Mental Health Kokua.

“The expansion was a little bit of a surprise, in a way,” said Greg Payton, chief executive officer of the nonprofit agency.

“We had long discussions with the staff and board on how to take the existing organizational structure and maximize it,” he said. “We thought we’d try to diversify and use other funding sources, like commercial health plans, for a different population of people who have health insurance and might need counseling.”

The result is a new outpatient counseling program for adults, adolescents and children called Kokua Counseling Centers. It began on Oahu and will open soon on Maui and early next year in Kona using existing locations.

Another surprise, Payton said, was that Mental Health Kokua picked up new clients as nonprofit organizations discontinued services on Maui and downsized in Kona. “We expected to cut back services July 1, and we ended up expanding because we were taking over other programs.”

The agency opened a 16-bed residential facility in Wailuku in June and added about 30 people to its case management program, he said. It also opened a new house in Kona for an additional eight consumers.

Mental Health Kokua has for nearly 40 years developed and offered outreach, community and residential services for homeless and mentally ill adults across the state. It has an annual budget of about $8 million from state funding, United Way and private insurance but lost more than $500,000 in state contracts this year, Payton said.

LEARN MORE

For more information about Mental Health Kokua, see www.MHKHawaii.org or call 529-4550.

During the first half of this year, he said the agency “encountered funding delays, contracts canceled, legislative maneuvering, increased competition between social service providers, new entrants into the local health care system” and challenges to its reserve funds and changes to its business model.

About 130 people are employed by the programs statewide, plus some part-time staff at housing sites, Payton said. “We ended up not filling a lot of vacancies and only had to lay off about five people.”

He said he was discussing the situation with board president Alan Tamanaha, and they agreed, “The needs don’t go away just because the funding does. We had to come up with alternatives to make this work.”

Alternatives included diversifying funding with a new outpatient business, maximizing existing staff members and facilities, using technology to increase efficiency, downsizing administration and cutting costs, he said.

He said the agency had been getting frequent phone calls from people asking, “How come you guys don’t provide counseling?”

So Kokua Counseling Centers was added to Mental Health Kokua’s many services with Greg Browne as program director. Browne formerly was clinical therapist and supervisor of the Child and Adolescent Program at Kaiser Permanente Behavioral Health Services. Payton formerly was regional manager for Kaiser’s behavioral health services.

Pointing out that Mental Health Kokua historically has served residents with more serious mental health needs, Browne said, “What we wanted to do was to expand services so we can respond partially to the rough economic times, the current stress people are experiencing, and make services available to everybody in the general population.”

The main clinic is at 1221 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 345, he said, explaining it is unique because of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team and the opportunity for patients to be involved in their treatment.

“We have care pathways of treatment with a beginning, middle and end, using objective measures to track progress, and have data to share with clients,” Browne explained. “People seem to be responding to that. They want to be part of formulation of goals, and they want to see progress and they want to know there’s hope.”

Services also include individual, group and couples therapy and medication management.

“It’s an innovative program, and a lot of people are going to benefit from it,” Browne added, noting Mental Health Kokua’s tag line is, “Everybody needs a little help now and then.”

http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20090811_Mental_health_service_grows.html

***

My Note –

The problem with all this is that it has become nothing more than a business model – much like anything else run by greed and profit-driven services that rely on forcing people to use the products to gain their assured profits, it is open to conflicts of interest, kickbacks, immoral and unethical choices, poor safety, deaths and injury, as well as abuses of power. It has already been used by Republican administrations of the past thirty years, to quiet dissent and discredit anyone with a difference of opinion or lifestyle. It is wrong.

Psychiatric diagnoses are made using purely subjective criteria. They are loosely concocted to cover nearly anything. They have no objective basis – and provide no more than an excuse to prescribe psychotropic high profit margin drugs which make living more unbearable and cruel than imaginable.

– cricketdiane

***

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