Pluribus AM: How 988 is transforming mental health care

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, July 9, 2024. In today’s edition, how 988 is changing mental health care; Pennsylvania targets PBMs; New York City discovers trash cans:

Top Stories

PUBLIC HEALTH: Two years after its introduction, the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has spurred major changes to the way states approach mental health care. The federal government seeded the 988 hotline with $1 billion, paid for through pandemic-era spending bills. It’s always been clear that states would have to pick up the slack once those funds ran out.

To date, ten states have adopted monthly fees on phone lines to permanently fund 988 call centers, and 30 states have passed bills funding the program’s core services. Funding proposals have stalled in other states where partisan rancor makes spending debates difficult.

But states have seen an explosion in the number of people who utilize the service. While only 13% of Americans knew about the 988 hotline in a May 2023 Pew poll, Maryland reported a 50% increase in calls and a 1,000% increase in text messages since 2022. The state set up a trust fund to make sure that service was there for residents who need it. Read more at Pluribus News.

HURRICANE BERYL: The first hurricane of the year made landfall near Houston as a Category 1 storm, knocking out power to three million people before weakening into a tropical depression. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) is overseeing the state’s response while Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is overseas on a business trip to East Asia. (Dallas Morning News, Associated Press)

HEALTH CARE: The Pennsylvania Senate Health and Human Services Committee has advanced legislation increasing oversight of pharmacy benefit managers. The legislation would outlaw “patient steering,” in which a PBM directs patients to preferred pharmacies. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

CONSUMER PROTECTION: A new Kansas law that took effect this month allows financial advisers to pause transactions if they suspect an older client is being defrauded. Advisers are required to notify the state Department of Insurance to investigate potential fraud. Forty other states have a version of the Protect Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Act on the books. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

In Politics & Business

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed several election-related bills, including a measure making it a felony to interfere with an election recount punishable by up to five years in prison. (Michigan Advance)

UTAH: State Rep. Phil Lyman (R), who challenged Gov. Spencer Cox (R) in last month’s primary, has requested a complete copy of the voter rolls used in the election he just lost. The request came in Lyman’s official capacity as a legislator and would be used for statistical analysis of the primary election, Lyman said. (Salt Lake Tribune)

NORTH DAKOTA: Supporters of legal marijuana have filed 22,444 signatures to qualify a ballot measure for November’s election legalizing recreational pot. They need 15,552 signatures to be valid to qualify. North Dakota voters legalized medical marijuana in 2016. (Fargo Forum)

DELAWARE: Delaware has become the tenth state to launch a state-sponsored retirement program aimed at businesses with five or more employees that do not offer retirement plans. The program defaults employees to a 5% deduction from gross paychecks; surveys show workers are 20 times more likely to save for retirement when their workplaces have retirement plans. (Delaware Public Media)

By The Numbers

146 million: The number of Americans who were under heat alerts on Monday, as a heat wave sweeps the West. Global temperatures in June hit a record high for the 13th straight month. (Associated Press)

46.1%: The share of municipal offices in Colorado held by women, the highest in the nation, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers. Nevada has the highest share of women in legislative seats, at just over 60%, while Colorado comes in second at 49%. (Denver Post)

Off The Wall

The official social media accounts belonging to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) have disappeared from Facebook, Instagram and X, the former Twitter. Noem, once a candidate to be former President Donald Trump’s running mate, had hundreds of thousands of followers. Her new X account has just about 300 followers. A spokesperson declined to say why the accounts disappeared. (Associated Press)

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is the fourth British prime minister in a year, but when he moves into Ten Downing Street, he will join a much longer-tenured public servant: Larry the cat. Larry, first adopted in 2011 by then-Prime Minister David Cameron, was initially given the title of “Chief Mouser” — though apparently Larry isn’t great at catching mice. (AFP)

Quote of the Day

“It has been for too long the public space has been hijacked. We all see it: mounds and mounds and mounds of plastic bags.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), unveiling the city’s first-ever trash bins. Bins will be required in buildings with one to nine residential units beginning in November. (NY1) Welcome to the 20th century, New York!