A Rocket Docket – for DCS

March 11, 2018

Arizona, like much of the nation, is in the midst of an opioid crisis.  Important legislation is being directed towards this crisis, such as the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, and the patient-brokering bill that I am personally sponsoring, which aims to put an end to the practice of unscrupulous rehabs luring those in recovery away from one situation into another solely for profit. It’s called ‘body brokering’.

Arizona is making a serious, bipartisan effort to curb this epidemic. But as I reviewed the proposals and legislation that will help adults in our state who are battling opioid addiction, I couldn’t help but continue to go back to one question: What about drug-exposed children? What are we doing about the increasing number of infants born exposed to opiates and other dangerous drugs who are in our state’s foster system?

The answer came in the form of Legislation we’re calling a Rocket Docket, which I am proud to sponsor.  Here is how it works: [Read more]

Floor speech on Florida shooting

February 23, 2018

February 14, 2018, a day that is celebrated each year by expressions of love and affection for those we hold dear, became a day instead marred by anguish and sorrow as we watched in disbelief the High School students in Florida walked in single lines, hands held above their heads, and were escorted by police to safety away from a terrify scene. A deeply troubled man took the lives of 17 innocent children that day – and their families, friends, and teachers will never be the same, their lives have been changed forever. Valentine’s Day will now become a painful anniversary for so many. [Read more]

“Doing Something” about school violence

February 19, 2018

Calls to “do something” after another horrific school shooting are intensifying – as they should.  But any plan of action should actually work – otherwise, what is the point?  Lawmakers in Arizona actually are “doing something” to stop violence committed by those with untreated mental illness – one of the main contributors to so many of these attacks. [Read more]

Seize the Moment

December 19, 2017

It wasn’t a typical award for me – receiving the ‘Humility Recognition’ in December, which is why I made it a point to invite my family to join me for the special event.  I would be honored for work I helped facilitate in the Legislature in the mental health arena – such as significant Board of Behavioral Health reforms, strengthening system oversight and accountability and rewriting Arizona’s HIPAA laws helping families and physicians know they can actually communicate with one another lawfully for the benefit of the patient. [Read more]

Familiar Phrases

November 14, 2017

“He was here four years ago and didn’t make much progress; so, I don’t see why he would do any better now.

He is not a good fit for our program.

If we allow him to stay and break our rules, others will break rules and hurt our program.

He should be elsewhere to overcome his drug problem and then return to work on his mental illness.
But, aren’t you a co-occurring facility?
Yes, but his drug problems are pretty severe and we focus more on mental illness. [Read more]

Physicians for Freedom

October 20, 2017

Once you’ve tasted freedom and lost it – your perspective changes.  Physicians (not to mention millions of patients) have tasted the effects of overbearing Obamacare mandates: lost practice autonomy, forced into narrow networks, forced into electronic health records systems and all its “box-checking”, practice consolidations – oh – and the low reimbursement rates under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. But many are not taking the losses lying down.  [Read more]

A little work (requirement) never hurt anyone

September 11, 2017

Arizona is moving ahead with the proposal to add work requirements for able-bodied individuals to continue receiving Medicaid.  You would think the world was coming to an end, but as Naomi Lopez-Bauman from the Goldwater Institute put it in Sunday’s news coverage, “Instead of a safety net, Medicaid has become a poverty trap for some, where people are not working in order to keep free health care.”  Work requirements may fix that. [Read more]

Arizona ‘Steps Up’ on Mental Health

August 21, 2017

You’re invited!  Join me at this week’s David’s Hope Mental Health Criminal Justice Summit.  Friday morning I will provide an update on the Legislature’s response to the needs of the mentally ill involved in the criminal justice system – and the wider community.  Be better informed – The entire conference will be great!

If you must miss the Summit, don’t miss this article: When the Mental Health System Refuses to Listen.

Morning Scoop features Sen. Barto

July 15, 2017

Obamacare Repeal: What do Arizona health care leaders think? Join me July 25th for a panel discussion at Alexi’s on Central for The Morning Scoop.  Check out event details and RSVP today here. [Read more]

Independence Day-How do you Celebrate?

July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day!!

Everyone looks forward to getting away – (from the heat!) – or spending time with family & friends on the Fourth of July.  And fireworks.  But the Fourth means so much more when its historical context and meaning comes to life.  For me, tuning into radio programs like Dennis Prager & Michael Medved on this holiday helps me better appreciate our country and how blessed I am to be an American.  Check these out, too: [Read more]

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