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November 17, 2017
Please note - a correction has been made to the first article - "Governor Cuomo Announces the Launch of the Suicide Prevention Task Force."  

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

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor
OPWDD People First Care Coordination: Announcement of Additional Forums

People First Care Coordination, part of OPWDD's ongoing transformation agenda, will integrate the coordination of services for individuals with developmental disabilities with the coordination of health, wellness, and behavioral health services through a single and individualized Life Plan. Implementation is planned for July 2018 with the establishment of Care Coordination Organization/Health Homes (CCO/HHs). The CCO/HHs will be operated by experienced providers of supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

To provide stakeholders with information about next year's transition to People First Care Coordination, OPWDD is hosting more regional public forums across the State. These forums will be held in addition to similar forums hosted earlier in November. There was a great level of interest in the forums, and these additional forums are being made available as further opportunities to learn about People First Care Coordination. Read more here.

New Care Model Improves Addiction Treatment

Huddle, the first peer-to-peer mental health platform launches

Sheriffs Lead the Way

Police and sheriff's departments have a vital role to play in pointing out--again and again--that to stem the tide of mentally ill people flowing into the justice system, the mental and behavioral health of the population must be better managed upstream.

Read Equitas Executive Director Vincent Atchity's article "Sheriffs Lead the Way" in this month's edition of Sheriff & Deputy Magazine here.  


November 27, 2 - 3 pm, National Academy for State Health Policy

November 28, 2 - 3 pm, Health Data Management

November 28, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

November 28, 2 - 3 pm, CSH

November 29, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

December 12, 2 - 3:30 pm, Judges & Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative

December 20, 1 - 2:20 pm, Judges & Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative



Children & Families Committee Meeting
November 21:  11:30 am - 1 pm,  GTM

Office Closed - Thanksgiving
November 23 & 24

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
November 28:  1 - 3 pm,  GTM


Officers & Chairs Call
December 6: 8 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
December 19:  11:30 am - 1 pm,  GTM

Directors & Executive Committee Combined Meeting
December 20:  9:30 - 12:30 pm

Office Closed - Christmas
December 25

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
Governor Cuomo Announces The Launch Of The Suicide Prevention Task Force

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced the formation of the New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force that includes leaders from state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit groups, and other recognized experts in suicide prevention. The creation of the Task Force was first announced in Governor Cuomo's 2017 State of the State.
The Task Force will be co-chaired by Christopher Tavella, PhD, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health, and Peter Wyman, PhD, Professor Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. A full list of Task Force members can be found  here .  

The Conference is very pleased to have county representation on this important group:  Brian Hart, LCSW-R, Chemung County; James Haitz, LCSW-R, Wayne County; and Darin Samaha, LMSW, Schenectady County.
Task Force members will examine and evaluate current suicide prevention programs services, and policies. Members will then make recommendations to increase access, awareness, and support for children, adolescents and adults in need of assistance. The Task Force will also explore methods to address and prevent bullying and cyber-bullying, which negatively impact an individual's mental health and in some cases have caused a number of children and young adults to take their own lives.  Read more here.
NYS OASAS Announces Availability of Funding to Expand Services and Supports for Youth and Young Adults in Recovery from Addiction

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) this week announced the availability of funding to establish or expand services for youth and young adults in recovery from addiction. Up to $180,000 is being made available through a series of mini-grants, which will be administered by the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene and OASAS. Up to 15 projects will be awarded up to $12,000 each. This funding is part of the $25.2 million federal State Targeted Response Grant that New York State received in early 2017.

The mini-grants will be specifically focused on establishing peer-driven services. These include alternative peer groups for youth and young adults, recovery supports and recovery community organizations looking to develop or enhance services, alumni support groups, and activities that promote recovery for youth and young adults in a targeted community.
Read more here.
New Audits and Penalties on Medicaid Plans and Providers Related to Encounter Data in Value-Based Payment Models

For value-based payments, encounter data provides valuable information in much the same way that claims data does for fee-for-service arrangements. With the growing prevalence of value-based payments, especially in the Medicaid programs, the focus on encounter data is growing. The federal government and many states are currently tying the timely submission of complete and accurate encounter data to federal payments, and are requiring states to audit Medicaid managed care plans' encounter data. In turn, Medicaid managed care plans may be penalized financially for failing to maintain and submit such data.

Plans and providers should not only be aware of this trend, but should also consider how penalties might be passed downstream. Plans and providers should also take this opportunity to ensure that their encounter data collection and submission processes are robust, accurate, and compliant with federal and state laws and regulations.  Read more here.
New Resource Helps Inform Judges' Decision Making Related to Defendants Who Have Behavioral Health Needs

The Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative (JPLI) released  Practical Considerations Related to Release and Sentencing for Defendants Who Have Behavioral Health Needs: A Judicial Guide and an accompanying  bench card, resources designed to assist judges in making informed connections to treatment for people who have behavioral health needs that enter their courts.

The guide and accompanying bench card were informed by a May 2017  convening of judges, psychiatrists, people who have behavioral health needs and have been in the justice system, and family members who came together to discuss behavioral health care resources and decision making around conditions of release and sentencing.

The resulting judicial guide highlights the importance of recognizing a person's behavioral health needs, identifying the behavioral health resources available in a community, and collaborating with community-based providers to facilitate treatment referrals in order to improve public health and safety and support individual recovery.  Read more here .
Vox:  I looked for a state that's taken the opioid epidemic seriously. I found Vermont.

BURLINGTON, Vermont - In 2009, John Brooklyn, a family doctor and addiction specialist in Vermont, realized there was a problem. The state had a lot of doctors able to prescribe buprenorphine, but many of them didn't have the proper training or support to deal with the rising tide of addiction.

So Brooklyn and several others, all of whom came from health care, the addiction field, or the state government, in 2011 began working on an idea to provide a more comprehensive response to the opioid crisis, drawing up plans to launch a pilot program in Burlington and eventually expand statewide.

The program they came up with is modeled after the rest of the health care system. "The parallel universe would be cardiology or infectious disease, where if you get sick and your primary care doc can't take care of you, you'd get referred to a cardiologist," Brooklyn told me. "The nexus of this was really to try to integrate substance use treatment in primary care," he added. That way, "if [a doctor] had a patient that they didn't really know what to do with, they could refer them to someone like myself who's board-certified in addiction medicine."  Read more here.
The Opioid Files: More Than 100 States and Cities Are Suing Drug Companies

A few years ago, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood was worried about a friend's son who served two tours in Iraq. After being injured overseas, he became dependent on prescription painkillers and eventually developed a heroin addiction.

But then, his friend's son got into law school and showed signs of sobriety, so Hood offered him an internship in his office. A few days into the internship, he didn't show up.

"We called his wife, and she went home to check up on him," Hood says. "He was dead of an overdose."

Shortly after that, in 2015, Hood became the first state attorney general to sue a prescription drugmaker for their role in the opioid epidemic. Since then, more than 100 states, cities and counties have filed similar lawsuits, with a new one popping up almost every week.  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.