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June 22, 2016

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

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor

Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Cooperative Agreements Cycle IV. This program is intended to reduce the number of children who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, but are not enrolled, and improve retention of eligible children who are currently enrolled.  For more information on the cooperative agreements and connecting kids to coverage, click  here .

CMS also issued an informational bulletin on Strategies to Enroll and Retain Eligible Children in Medicaid and CHIP. The bulletin discusses the highly effective existing tools that are available to all states to support enrollment and retention of eligible children. In addition to these new outreach and enrollment efforts, there are tools available to all states to aid in the enrollment of uninsured children and to keep them eligible for as long as they qualify.  The informational bulletin is available here.
Survey Reveals 3 Value-Based Payment Trends to Watch

The transition to value-based payment has accelerated rapidly over the past two years, and payers and providers predict even more dramatic changes.   That's according to a  new survey  of 115 payer organizations and 350 hospitals conducted by ORC International and commissioned by McKesson.

The survey, which was also implemented in 2014 on a smaller scale, highlights how the movement toward value-based payment has shifted over the past two years.
Here are three takeaways:

#1. Value-based reimbursement has reached a tipping point
In the survey, respondents had to rate their organization on a value-based reimbursement "continuum."  Fee-for-service only was on one side of a continuum, and value-based reimbursement was on the other.   On average, payers reported that they are 58% along the continuum toward full value-based reimbursement. That's a 10% increase over the progress payers reported in 2014. 
Hospitals are also moving along the continuum. On average, hospital respondents reported that they are at 50% along the value continuum, up 4% since 2014.  Read more here.  
Maryland Lawsuit Seeks Hospital Beds for Mentally Ill Inmates

A prominent law firm weighed in on Maryland's forensic mental-health crisis this week, filing a lawsuit designed to compel the transfer of mentally ill defendants from jail cells to hospital beds.   The lawsuit, filed on a pro-bono basis by the firm Venable LLP, identifies four individuals with the intent of becoming a class-action filing. The four inmates in the suit are in Baltimore and are clients of the public defender's office there. Of the four, three are charged with attempted murder and one is charged with first-degree arson.

In all four cases, a judge determined the defendants to be mentally incompetent and a risk to themselves or others - and ordered them to be treated at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a maximum-security forensic hospital in Howard County.   But that hospital has been beyond its patient capacity for much of the past year, according to state officials, as have the four other psychiatric hospitals that are supposed to take in mentally ill patients from jails.

Throughout Maryland, according to recent counts by the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), 84 jail inmates are waiting for court-ordered bed space. The crisis has ensnared hospitals, jails and judges - and, according to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), has become a top priority for the state health department.

The crisis of the full hospitals has been developing for more than a year. More people with acute mental illness are showing up at jails, according to corrections officials, yet the number of state hospital beds has not grown.  Read more here.



June 30, 1 - 2 pm

July 7, 1 - 2 pm

July 14, 1 - 2 pm
July 21, 1 - 2 pm

July 28, 1 - 2 pm

Other MCTAC Webinars:

June 29, 3 - 4 pm

June 30, 12 - 1 pm

August 24, 12 - 1 pm
September 21, 12 - 1 pm
October 26, 12 - 1 pm


JULY 2016
Officers & Chairs - Call In
July 6:  8 - 9 am

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee
July 7:  11 am - 1 pm
GTM Only

Children & Families Committee
July 12:  11:30 am - 1 pm

Directors / Executive Committee Combined Meeting
July 26:  9:30 - 11:30 am
GTM Only

Developmental Disabilities Committee
July 27:  12 - 1 pm
GTM Only

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders Announce Agreement to Combat Heroin and Opioid Abuse in New York State

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein last week announced a final agreement on new legislation to combat heroin and prescription opioid abuse in New York State. The agreement came on the heels of the recent release of the Governor's Heroin and Opioid Task Force's final report and recommendations. The legislation builds on the state's aggressive efforts to better monitor prescription drugs, increase access to treatment, and break the cycle of heroin and opioid addiction in New York.

"New York and the nation as a whole is grappling with how to combat heroin and opioid addiction and, with this comprehensive plan, we are continuing to take decisive action to end this epidemic and protect our families and communities,"
Governor Cuomo said.  "This multi-faceted legislative package will increase access to treatment, expand prevention strategies, and save lives by helping ensure New Yorkers struggling with addiction have access to the services and resources they need to get well. I commend Majority Leader Flanagan, Speaker Heastie and Senator Klein for their deep dedication to addressing this issue, and I look forward to our continued work to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers."

The package of three bills includes wide-ranging initiatives to address the state's current heroin and opioid crisis, including provisions to limit the over-prescription of opioids and remove barriers to access for inpatient treatment and medication. The legislation aims to address issues and concerns raised by individuals in recovery, families, and treatment providers across the state.  

To read the full press release, click  here .
CLMHD is Training Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainers:  30 at a Time 

Mental health is one of the top health problems for children and teens.  Twenty percent of U.S. youth reported that they suffered from a mental disorder with symptoms severe enough to impair their daily lives (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010).  More than 200,000 New York children and teens, or one in five, have a mental health diagnosis.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth aged 15 to 19 in New York.   Because the symptoms of mental illness can be difficult to detect, friends and family of someone who appears to be in crisis may not know how to intervene or direct the person to proper treatment.  

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) was designed by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare to teach neighbors, teachers, parents, peers, and caring citizens how to help a youth or teen who is experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or is in crisis.  The training is focused on helping youth (12-18) who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or a crisis and introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention and teaches individuals how to help a youth experiencing a mental health crisis or challenge. 
As part of the Conference's efforts to expand the number of people trained to teach YMHFA, CLMHD is once again sponsoring (providing scholarships) to 30 individuals throughout the state to participate in the 5-day Train-the-Trainer program and be certified to train others in their communities.
The program will be offered the week of October 24th in Albany, NY. Candidates must be able to attend the training that week.  CLMHD will cover the training, travel, and lodging for attendees.  A "blended training" will once again be offered for those already trained as MHFA instructors - these individuals will only need to attend the first 2.5 days of the training.
An application packet has been distributed to DCSs to share with interested parties.  If you or someone you know is interested in applying, click here for the application.  Applications are to be submitted to the DCS for approval, and will then be forwarded to CLMHD and will be reviewed by a committee.  Individuals will be notified of their selection and will have to commit to the requirements established by the committee.   
For more information, or if you are interested in serving on the Review Committee, please contact Francine Sinkoff at CLMHD at or 518-462-9422. 
DiNapoli:  Heroin, Opioid Overdose Death Rates Rose Faster in New York Than in Most States

Overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription opioid abuse reached record highs in New York state in 2014, according to a report issued recently by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The overdose death rates in New York increased faster over the preceding decade than in nearly every other state for which data are available.  The  report noted overdose deaths in New York, in which heroin was a factor, reached a record high of 825 in 2014, the last year for which data are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

This number represents a jump of 159 deaths, or 24 percent, over 2013, and is nearly 25 times the number recorded in New York 10 years earlier. When comparing 2005 and 2014 death rates for states for which data are available, only one state in each category (Massachusetts for heroin-related deaths, and Connecticut for prescription opioids) had higher rates of increase in overdose deaths than New York.

Among counties for which data are available, Suffolk County had the greatest number of overdose deaths in 2014 in which heroin (111 deaths) or prescription opioids (96 deaths) was a contributing cause. Heroin overdose death rates were highest in Orange, Oneida, Suffolk and Monroe counties, while prescription opioid overdose death rates were highest on Staten Island and in Erie, Oneida and Orange counties.  Read more here.
How Does Your State's Use of Prison Compare to the Nations of the World?

How does your state compare to the international community when it comes to the use of incarceration? Not very well, says a new report and infographic by the Prison Policy Initiative.

"When compared against each other, some U.S. states appear to be far more restrained in their use of incarceration than high incarcerators like Louisiana," said Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative and co-author of the report. "But all U.S. states are out of step with the rest of the world."

This report, " States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2016," updates our 2014 briefing that, for the first time, directly situated individual U.S. states in the global context.

"Massachusetts and Vermont have the lowest incarceration rates in the U.S.," said Alison Walsh, report co-author and Policy & Communications Associate. "Compared to Louisiana, these states look progressive. But if these states were independent nations, they would rank as the 11th and 12th greatest users of incarceration on the planet, following the United States and a group of nations whose recent history often includes wars, military coups and genocides."

The report includes an interactive graphic showing the incarceration rates for individual U.S. states and the District of Columbia and all countries with a population of at least 500,000. The report also includes a separate graphic comparing the incarceration rates of the U.S. to several NATO nations.   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.