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“Governor Brewer’s political will and messaging resulted in victory for hundreds of thousands of Arizona citizens whose lives will be drastically improved by access to critical behavioral health care,” said Charles “Chick” Arnold, who presented the award to the Governor and is chair of the Community Advisory Board for the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy. “The awards were created to honor exemplary vision and dedication in the provision of mental health services in Arizona, and she was this year’s clear choice.”
On June 13, the Arizona state legislature passed a budget for fiscal year 2014 and approved Brewer’s plan for Medicaid expansion, which will insure more than 300,000 more low-income Arizonans under the Affordable Health Care Act.
In her acceptance speech, Brewer acknowledged her personal and professional dedication to issues of behavioral health care access and recognized the work of the Arizona behavioral health community. “Without the actions we took, about 2,000 Arizonans with serious mental illness would have lost AHCCCS coverage at the end of this year. The legislation I signed into law this spring will deliver critical services for Arizonans needing care for substance abuse, serious mental illness and other behavioral health issues. I know that we absolutely could not have gotten this legislation passed without the support of all of you in this room, and I thank you very much for that.”
In addition to Brewer, 2013 award recipients include:
• Robert Bohanske, chief of clinical services/clinical training with Southwest Behavioral Health Services, who received the award for Leadership in Services
• Eddie Sessions, who was honored for her legacy of work in community health and behavioral health policy
• Nazcare, Inc., recognized for the organization’s innovative and culturally grounded programs for Native Americans experiencing mental health and substance use disorders
In 2005 the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy established an award to recognize concerned citizens, clinical leaders, policymakers and individuals who have dedicated a lifetime of service to behavioral health services in Arizona communities.