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12 23Fri04182014

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Back Local News DMHSA seeking ‘stigma-free’ name

DMHSA seeking ‘stigma-free’ name

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THE Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse is taking steps to minimize the “negative connotation” of its name. A bill introduced by Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, chairman of the committee on health, is proposing to change the name of the agency to “Guam Behavioral Health Center.”

“People are stigmatized by the words mental health and substance abuse,” DMHSA Director Ray Vega explained.

The suggestion to change the name was made by Dr. James Kiffer, the former DPHSS federal monitor, during the transition period from federal control to local management.

A month away from the deadline for their first progress report to federal judge Consuelo Marshall, DMHSA is moving forward with other aspects of the plan laid out when federal receivership ended in February.

DMHSA management must submit status reports every 90 days.

Other concerns

According to Vega, the department is still in the process of getting certification to complete its fee schedule. DMHSA is hoping to get certification by August or September.

In addition, DMHSA is working to fill 39 vacancies identified in the federal management team’s transition plan. “We want to make sure we have the correct staffing level, and we’re addressing that,” Vega said.

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