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June 16, 2017

Advancing Public Policies for People with Mental Illness, Chemical Dependency or Developmental Disabilities   

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor

NACo County News: Breaking the Cycle - Counties Move to Divert Mentally Ill from Jail

The most recent issue of NACo's County News Hot Topics, titled "Breaking the Cycle," contains a wide variety of information on county efforts to divert mentally ill from jail.  The Dutchess County 24/7 Stabilization Center is highlighted in an article on page H6!  Click here to read the report.

The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement 
Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement models vary according to federal and state regulations, but both are striving to embrace value-based reimbursement.

Medicare and Medicaid are government healthcare programs that help individuals acquire coverage, but similarities between the programs more or less end there. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement structures vary significantly by program and state.

HHS describes Medicare as an insurance program, whereas Medicaid is an assistance program. The federal government offers Medicare coverage to individuals who are 65 years or older, have certain disabilities, and suffer from end-stage renal disease or ALS.

On the other hand, Medicaid is a federal and state-sponsored program that assists low-income individuals with paying for their healthcare costs. Each state defines who is eligible for Medicaid coverage, but the program generally covers individuals who have limited income.  Read more here.
PODCAST:  The Fix - Treating New York's Opioid Crisis

This is actually America's second opioid crisis. The first is much older. Now, the old and new epidemics exist just a few miles apart from one another in New York City. In the latest season of the GroundTruth podcast, a series of five episodes called "The Fix," five GroundTruth reporting fellows go to the Bronx, Staten Island and Long Island to explore what caused the crisis, what's being done about it, and how denial and stigma are fueling a record number of overdose deaths.

Click here to listen to the podcast. 
Funding Opportunity:  Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI)

New York State is issuing this RFP opportunity to provide services and operating funding of at least 1,200 units of Supportive Housing for persons identified as homeless with special needs, conditions or other life challenges. Capital funding to develop these units is available through separate funding mechanisms. The Office of Mental Health (OMH) serves as the lead procurement agency of the ESSHI Interagency Workgroup which administers the program.

New York State will award these 1,200 units this year funded at up to $25,000 per unit annually. NYS OMH will be the lead agency, but other State agencies may administer contracts for other populations not governed by OMH. There is no minimum or maximum unit award, all need should be defined by the local CoC. The direct oversight contracting agency could be any of the following, depending on the population served - OASAS, DOH, OCFS, OPDV, OTDA, OPWDD, HCR.

There will be a pre-proposal webinar help on June 19th at 10:00 am. Instructions for hot to access the webinar can be found in the body of the RFP.    Click  here  to view the RFP.


June 20, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 21, 3 - 4:30 pm, Rural Behavioral Health

June 22, 12 - 1:30 pm, Center for Healthcare Strategies

June 22, 2 - 4 pm, Legal Action Center

June 28, 2 - 3 pm, Behavioral Healthcare Executive

June 29, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 29, 6:30 - 9 pm, CO*RE / ASAM

July 12, 1 - 2 pm, Behavioral Healthcare Executive

July 18, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

August 16, 3 - 4:30 pm, Rural Behavioral Health


JUNE 2017

Children & Families Committee Meeting
June 20:  11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

JULY 2017

Officers, Chairs & Regional Reps Call
July 5:  8 - 9 am

Mental Health Committee Meeting
July 13:  11 am - 12:30 pm, GTM

Chemical Dependency Committee Meeting
July 14:  11 am - 12:30 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 18:  11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

Directors & Executive Committee Meeting
July 19:  9:30 am - 12:30 pm, GTM

CSPOA / DOH / OMH Monthly Call
July 20:  3 - 4 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
First RPC Co-Chairs Meeting a Success!
RPC Co-Chairs and representatives from State agencies problem solve via round-table

The NYS Regional Planning Consortium (RPC) held its inaugural Co-Chairs meeting on June 8th in Albany.  Meeting participants included RPC Co-Chairs from the 11 regions across the state, as well as representatives from the NYS Office of Mental Health, NYS Department of Health, NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. 
Over the last 10 months, the RPC boards were elected and convened to identify issues and proposed recommendations related to the impact of New York State's behavioral health transformation. 
The RPC Co-Chairs meeting is the culmination of work by the RPC Boards to date, serving as the conduit to bring critical issues and potential solutions to the attention of the state agencies. Through collaborative dialogue the Co-Chairs and state representatives worked together to problem solve around the identified issues. 

Thank you to the 22 RPC Co-Chairs, our State Partners, the RPC team and State Project Director James Button, for making this inaugural meeting successful!  

For more information on the Regional Planning Consortium, visit

Central RPC Co-Chair, George Moore,
Outpatient Clinical Manager, Oswego Health, directs a question to state partners. 

Gary Weiskopf, Associate Commissioner, OMH Division of Managed Care, reviews the state's behavioral health transformation.
NYSOMH Dedicates $1.25 Million for Creation of New Clinic-Based Intensive Outpatient Treatment

The New York State Office of Mental Health last week announced the availability of up to $1.25 million to help mental health clinics create a new intensive level of outpatient service that will increase clinic-based treatment options for people with psychiatric disabilities.

The new Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) level of service will provide a concentrated treatment option for community-based services across New York State. This intensive level of service will give individuals with psychiatric disabilities access to focused and flexible treatment in clinic-based settings, helping to reduce inpatient admissions to psychiatric centers.

In order to facilitate the creation of IOP level of services, the Office of Mental Health (OMH) will provide a one-time, $25,000 grant to up to 50 licensed clinics that have met the requirements outlined in the issued  guidance document . OMH will make these funds available for the next six months in order to spur the startup of this new level of service, and anticipates that IOPs will be operational within three months across all regions of New York.  Read more here.
The Value-Based Reimbursement Steeplechase - Monica Oss, Open Minds
Over the last few days, both at The 2017 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute and in the days following the event, every discussion I've had has been all things strategy - shifting market, integrated care coordination, value-based reimbursement, technology and competitive advantage, and marketing planning. But some of the most challenges discussions have looked beyond the initial implementation of value-based contracts to the likely evolution of those agreements.

In my closing remarks, I shared the view that the market model of value-based reimbursement was a bit like a steeplechase - a long race with some prominent hurdles along the way. These hurdles are really the organizational competency, culture, and infrastructure needed to success at various stages of maturity of the market. As we work with organizations on strategy, the goal is to move the organization from success in the current hybrid FFS/VBR market - to success in a mature VBR market.   Read more here.
Medical Responses To Opioid Addiction Vary By State, Analysis Finds 

Location, location, location. That mantra may apply even when it comes to how opioid addiction is treated.   Specifically, patients with private insurance who are diagnosed with opioid dependency or abuse may get different medical services depending on where they live, a  white paper  by a national databank indicates.

Medical responses to opioid-related diagnoses appear to differ among the five states examined by Fair Health, a nonprofit that provides cost information to the health industry and consumers. To draw that conclusion, researchers analyzed the health insurance billing codes associated with those diagnoses.   Read more here.
Federal Funding Opportunity: Model Approaches for Enhancing Home- and Community-Based Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

The Federal HHS Administration for Community Living has announced a funding opportunity to increase integration and independence of individuals with develop-mental disabilities and to improve the quality of home- and community-based services (HCBS) by developing and testing one or more model approaches of a coordinated and comprehensive system for enhancing and ensuring the independence, integration, safety, health, and well-being of individuals living in the community. 

FDA Calls On Drugmaker To Pull A Powerful Opioid Off The Market

The Food and Drug Administration requested Thursday that the drugmaker Endo Pharmaceuticals stop selling Opana ER - its extended-release version of Opana.
The FDA  says the move marks the first time the agency has taken steps to remove an opioid from the market because of "public health consequences of abuse."

An increasing number of people, the FDA says, are abusing the powerful prescription pills by crushing, dissolving and injecting them. The sharing of needles by these drug users has fueled an outbreak of associated infectious diseases - HIV, hepatitis C and another serious blood disorder.  Read more here.
AMA Delays Decision on Removing Waivers for Buprenorphine

The American Medical Association delayed a measure on Monday that would have allowed physicians to prescribe the drug buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid abuse without obtaining a waiver.   At the AMA's annual meeting in Chicago, the organization's house of delegates voted to refer the proposal for decision at a later time after contentious discussion among the delegates. 

Currently, physicians must obtain a waiver before they can prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. Doctors must complete an eight-hour training session and other requirements before receiving the waiver.   Members of the AMA House of Delegates who supported removing the training waiver requirement alleged it's a barrier preventing physicians from treating patients suffering from opioid abuse.  Read more here.
When Opioid Addicts Find an Ally in Blue

BURLINGTON, Vt. - In this college town on the banks of Lake Champlain, Chief Brandon del Pozo has hired a plain-spoken social worker to oversee opioids policy and has begun mapping heroin deaths the way his former commanders in the New York Police Department track crime.

In New York City, detectives are investigating overdoses with the rigor of homicides even if murder charges are a long shot. They are plying the mobile phones of the dead for clues about suppliers and using telltale marks on heroin packages and pills to trace them back to dealers. And like their colleagues in Philadelphia and Ohio, they are racing to issue warnings about deadly strains of drugs when bodies fall, the way epidemiologists take on Zika.

The police in Arlington, Mass., intervene with vulnerable users. Officials in Everett, Wash., have sued a pharmaceutical firm that they say created a black market for addicts. Seattle's officers give low-level drug and prostitution suspects a choice: treatment instead of arrest and jail.  Read more here.
Pop Health Data Needed for Future Patient Engagement Tech

Healthcare professionals are increasingly looking into patient engagement technology solutions that help them determine how and when to best engage a healthcare consumer, according to a  report from Black Book Research.  The report includes testimony from nearly 750 industry leaders, including chief information officers, chief financial officers, and hospital managers. Ninety percent of respondents said that patient engagement technology will dominate their population health management tools going forward.

These plans will likely influence a 177 percent jump in population heath management and patient engagement systems consulting going into 2018-2019, Black Book predicted.   Stronger population health management tools will help clinicians deliver more meaningful patient engagement, informing them of the best ways and most effective times to engage a certain patient population.  Read more here.
The Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors advances public policies and awareness for people with mental illness, chemical dependency and developmental disabilities.  We are a statewide membership organization that consists of the Commissioner/ Director of each of the state's 57 county mental hygiene departments and the mental hygiene department of the City of New York.