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And he noted the article reported River Region's official view that what the reporter experienced in his pretend-suicide case was not considered typical.

"But obviously we have some gaps there," Combs said, "and we are moving to close them."

Combs said he welcomed the role of the press in pointing out holes in River Region's services "because we want to do our best."

[Shelby News-Sentinel, May 8, 1973]


If customer satisfaction is an accurate barometer of success, then personnel of the River Region Crisis and Information Center can now be assured that the many long hours spent on the telephone helping people with their problems is appreciated.

The center has just compiled the results from a recent telephone questionnaire sampling of 100 randomly selected former clients.

The clients were asked to answer either "yes," "somewhat" or "no" to each of four questions selected to guage the centers effectiveness.

Following are the questions and results:

Did you feel the people you talked to at the Crisis and Information Center were interested in helping you with your problem? Yes, 87 percent; somewhat 7 percent; no, 6 percent.

Did you get the help you wanted? Yes, 71 percent; somewhat, 24 percent, no, 5 percent.

Now that you have used our services, if you needed help again, would you be likely to call us? Yes, 90 percent; somewhat, 6 percent; no, 4 percent.

Would you recommend our service to a friend? Yes, 94 percent; somewhat, 4 percent; no, 2 percent.

The center handled 27,000 calls during its first year, 30,000 last year, and anticipates handling at least 36,000 this year.

In March, 3,670 calls were received at the center, including 72 that were suicide related.

Calls can be made toll free from anywhere in the River Region service area: Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Henry, Trimble, Bullitt and Spencer counties.

Two numbers ring into the center: 589-4313, the HELP line for problems of a general nature, and 589-4470, the Hair (Help Always In Reach) line for youthoriented problems.

River Region operates the center and funds it jointly with Metro United Way. Mr. ROGERS. This concludes our hearings of today.

[Whereupon, at 3:15 p.m. the subcommittee adjourned at the call of the chair.]



FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 1973




New York, N.Y.

The subcommittee met at 9 a.m., pursuant to notice, in the Mercury Rotunda, New York Hilton Hotel, Avenue of the Americas and 53d Street, New York, N. Y., Hon. James Symington presiding [Hon. Paul G. Rogers, chairman].

Mr. SYMINGTON. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

With your indulgence, we will begin the proceedings.

I regret very much to say what I think some of you already know. Congressman Hastings and I, Congressman Symington, have to leave to catch a plane in a little over an hour in order to cast some votes which we did not know would happen when we originally scheduled this meeting.

I would like at this time to formally open this, the second oversight hearing on community mental health centers.

I am sure everyone here knows that the administration has proposed termination of assistance to new centers, whereas the 1974 extension bill continues for 1 year the community mental health services program and that bill is actually on the President's desk and it is our fervent hope that he will sign it.

We know, contrary to the testimony that has been received from spokesmen of this administration, that community mental health centers are not just demonstration projects and were not really intended to be demonstration projects.

They were intended to be established and to go into operation and remain so. I think the additional figure was some 1,500 centers, of which there are now only 325 in operation.

I think that our meeting this morning ought to convey to the community that you represent and to the Congress the interest of New


I must say in that connection that we are here at the behest of Congressman James Hastings of New York who secured the permission of the Chairman, Paul Rogers of the Subcommittee on Public Health and Environment of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to come here and take your testimony.

Although Mr. Hastings and I do have to leave around 10:30, it is our decision, with the chairman's permission, to allow the record to remain open after we close the formal part of the hearings and the stenotype reporter will remain here and for one of you, perhaps the

Commissioner, to conduct discussions perhaps as a panel as you might deem warranted and then we will incorporate those observations, comments and discussions into the complete record before we close it. Before introducing the witnesses, I wonder if Mr. Hastings would like to make a comment at this time.

Mr. HASTINGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First I would like to thank you on behalf of Chairman Rogers for coming to New York with me. Chairman Paul Rogers expressed his regret at not being able to be here.

He has a great interest in community mental health centers and I think as a result of our committee's work we will have permanent community health centers.

This morning, members of the House Subcommittee on Public Health and Environment are holding oversight hearings on the future of the Community Mental Health Centers Act. On May 31, the House-by a vote of 372 to 1-passed and sent to the President my Health Programs Extension bill. This legislation would extend the Community Mental Health Centers Act one more year, along with 11 other Federal health programs. We on the subcommittee hope the President signs the bill, to give us time for proper study and evaluation.

The subcommittee is agreed that the community mental health centers program was not intended to be a mere "demonstration program,' as assumed by some members of the administration. On the other hand, the program was never intended to be used as a permanent source of financial support. It was intended that all centers be operated eventually without direct Federal assistance.

Our subcommittee is currently exploring a decentralized, regional approach to health care for the Nation, within a framework of special revenue sharing and some form of national health insurance. We view the Community Mental Health Centers Act as an early leader in the regional approach to health care delivery. This morning, we will be most interested in suggestions from the witnesses as to how community mental health centers can be improved and how a full complement of 1,500 such centers can fit into a decentralized system of funding.

I would only say in clarification of where we stand today that, as Mr. Symington pointed out, the administration scheduled termination of the community mental health centers program as of June 30.

A 1-year extension, by means of H.R. 7806, was passed with the cosponsorship of Mr. Symington and myself and many other others in the Congress. It passed by a vote of 372 to 1 and it is awaiting passage in the Senate.

This hearing today will be part of the consideration of what type of mental health program will exist in permanent statute.

So, it is of extreme importance what develops in this hearing and subsequent hearings which will be held in Washington.

We appreciate very much the fact that you will help us to build a record to help pass some permanent form of legislation.

Because of the time limitations, I will turn the hearing back to the chairman so that we can proceed.

Mr. SYMINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Hastings.

First, I would like to determine if we have present the witnesses whose testimony will become part of the record today:

Mr. Irving Blumberg, executive director of the New York Citizens Against Mental Illness.

Why don't you take the chair, sir, because you will be the first witness.

We will also be hearing today from Commissioner Miller, Commissioner Christmas, Reverend Hutchinson, and Dr. Campbell. Also, Mr. Schneier, Dr. Paster, Dr. Hart, Mr. Cooper, and Mrs. Sabino, who I met earlier.

My suggestion is that the witnesses try to restrict their verbal testimony to the bare essentials of what we must know, recognizing that their full statements, written statements, will be made part of the record in any event.

With that, we will begin by welcoming Mr. Irving Blumberg, executive director of New York Citizens Against Mental Illness.

It is very kind of you to be with us today and we look forward to your testimony.


Mr. BLUMBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Hastings. My name is Irving Blumberg and I am the executive director of the Citizens Against Mental Illness.

First may I express our gratification at the forthright action of the Congress the House and the Senate-in reasserting its legislative prerogative by overwhelmingly repassing the legislation continuing community mental health center programs and other essential health


More particularly, I would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to you, Congressman Symington, and you, Congressman Hastings, from our own State of New York, for exercising initiative, courage, and leadership in sponsoring this legislation now awaiting the President's action.

Your sponsorship and that of many other Republicans and Democrats exemplifies the nonpartisan nature of this measure which so vitally affects the health of millions of Americans throughout the land.

The reenactment of the health legislation earlier vetoed by the President goes to the heart of the issue of continued Federal responsibility for the health of the American people.

The administration cannot and must not be allowed to dictate legislative and fiscal authority over Congress. The Congress should not and the concurrent actions of both Houses have so signified, decide to absolve the Federal Government of substantial co-responsibility, with State and local governments and the private sector, in assuring adequate and humane levels of service to meet the health, education, and welfare needs of all of the people.

We fully recognize that what is here at issue is not simply the continued existence and expansion of community mental health centers desirable as this may be.

Also involved is the need for strengthening the integration of center services with other equally important subsystems of local mental health service delivery systems, however funded, and by whomever administered.

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