Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc. (DRA)

PAIMI Advisory Council Meeting

March 18, 2017


Members Present:                                                                    Staff Present:

Veronica Tess Myers, Chair                                                    Debra Poulin
Tina Light, Vice-Chair                                                            Kris Stewart
Bettina Brownstein                                                                 Yvonne Sterling
Brenda Martin
Dorcas Johnson
Elaine Williams
Pat Highley
Lisa Moss

Members Absent:                                                                    Guest:

TaVonda Williams, Secretary                                                 Alexander Myers
Eddie Smith                                                                     Sherry Smith
Montavious McKinney

Chair Myers called the meeting to order at 10:10 am and welcomed members and guest.

Approval of Minutes:

Tina Light made a motion to accept the meeting minutes of November 12, 2016, as presented.  Elaine Williams seconded and the motion passed.

Membership Update:

Chair Myers and members reviewed the PAIMI application from Angie Lassiter.  After discussion, Tina Light made a motion to accept Angie Lassiter as a Council member.  Dorcas Johnson seconded and the motion passed.

Staff/Services Report:

Program Update:

Kris Stewart discussed the current issues with jails – individuals needing services and currently not able to receive service as this is an ongoing process. Mental Health Services are greatly needed in our jails across the state of Arkansas. Ms. Stewart discussed the following areas where the agency is reviewing issues:  monitoring of Psychiatric Treatment facilities for children under the age of 21, over use of medications and Restraints are just a number of issues within the mental health system.

Debra Poulin discussed the Juvenile Justice System and the problems they are faced with at the Alexander Juvenile Treatment and Assessment Center.  Cassie Howell completed a white paper on binding regulations on restraint used in the schools. Senator Lindsey is interested in these issues, so DRA will continue to push for regulations prohibiting the use of restraints.  Prisoners accessing medical needs are among some of the calls received by the agency.  DRA is receiving fewer calls from people with Mental Health issues. Facilities that are not monitored or managed well create situations that are critical and dangerous these issues are more than 20 years of struggles. Crisis Centers are not jails rather they are supposed to be treatment centers.  Jails do not want to provide mental health services in their facilities because it creates liability problems.   DRA continues to broaden the use of resources with staff and clients.

Financial Update:

Tina Light gave a general overview of the DRA PAIMI financials.  Currently there are some carryover that have to be spent first before the financials can be approved, this was all the information provided about DRA financials.

Operating Procedures:

 Bettina Brownstein presented, reviewed and discussed some issues with the DRA PAIMI Advisory Council Operating Procedures.  The proposed changes were included in Council member’s packets.  Council members discussed the changes and will email those to Tom Masseau.  Bettina will follow-up with Tom on incorporating the proposed changes.

 Other Business:

DRA Board Retreat:

Discussion as to who can attend the DRA Board Retreat came from Veronica Myers, the Retreat should be for any council member that would like to attend the group suggested. The Retreat is scheduled for April 21 and 22 in the Fayetteville area, this issue will be discussed with Tom when he returns.  Committee Members: Dorcas Johnson, Bettina Brownstein, and Tina Light volunteered to be on the committee for the DRA Board Retreat.

Other issues:

The Advisory Council discussed the use of Psychiatric Advance Directives, rights and guardianship.  Some public guardians are unwilling to allow individuals to become their own guardian.  Both hospitals and doctors see self-advocacy as being a problem when issues come up, especially if those issues are severe.

The Council also discussed putting materials in Community Health Centers to help educate individuals on who to become advocates for themselves.

Healing Voices:

There was a discussion on “Healing Voices” as to where are we with showing the film.  Elaine Williams and John Jones have talked with a professor at a community college in Hope and Henderson State University about the film. John had a date; now that he is gone we will need to work on an new plan and dates.

Council Member Report:

Tom Masseau is in Washington D.C. attending the SABE Board of Directors meeting and the Disability Policy Seminar.

Sherry Smith, guest of Elaine William’s, expressed an interest in becoming a member of the Council, Ms. Smith talked about the difficulties she has had with her son who is a person with mental health issues.  Chair Myers provided Ms. Smith with an application to join the Council.

With no further discussion Brenda Martin moved and Elaine Williams seconded to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 12:18 P.M.

Minutes by: Elaine Williams in the absence of DRA Secretary; Tavonda Williams.