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July 12,  2019

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

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor
Healthfirst Expands Into Orange and Sullivan Counties in New York

Governor Cuomo Announces Opening of Youth Clubhouse in New York City

NYU Langone center to take multidisciplinary approach to fighting opioid crisis - NYC

NYU dentists want to redefine care for patients with disabilities - NYC

Bronx residents to protest proposed outpatient drug-treatment center

New South Beach [Staten Island] Psychiatric Center facility scheduled to open by end of year - NYC

Ryan announces stepped-up fight against opioid abuse and deaths in Ulster County

Suffolk County Executive Bellone and Police Announce Nearly 25 Percent Reduction in Opioid Related Deaths

Opioid Overdose Deaths Continue To Decline In Nassau County

Yates takes part in major opioid research
Growing Consensus on Rural Opioids
HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas pledged the agency's continued support on Tuesday, June 18, for rural communities racked by the opioid crisis, observing that 600 regions across 40 states now have consortiums in place to get those suffering into care.
Speaking  at the Rockville Hilton before one of the largest gatherings of its kind, Dr. George Sigounas outlined Tuesday a five point HRSA plan for "bridging the treatment gap" and blunting the opioid crisis in rural America.  He told some 400 grantees, advocates and clinicians that they hold the key to finding "solutions (that) serve the American people, particularly those afflicted with substance abuse and behavioral health needs."

Funding for HRSA's four rural opioid response programs over just the past two years, he added, represent "the largest budget increase the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has ever seen," one also marked by new opioid outlays for HRSA-funded health centers, Ryan White clinics and National Health Service Corps placements to affected communities.

Those funds, grantees reported, have helped fuel the rapid start-up and expansion of sophisticated "care networks" of first responders, health centers, hospitals, universities, telehealth hubs and rehab facilities that previously did not exist in many parts of the country. With those networks has come increasing data on the scope and dimension of the crisis in small towns and distant outposts of America. Read more here.
Serving Those Who Serve: Upstream Intervention And The Uphill Battle Of Veteran Suicide Prevention In The US

Why people are turning to Instagram for therapy and mental health needs

What Mental Health Statistics Can Tell Us

Leaders From 13 States Urge Federal Court To Allow Supervised Injection Sites

Using Census Data to Understand County-Level Differences in Overall Drug Mortality and Opioid-Related Mortality by Opioid Type

Sobering Up: In An Alcohol-Soaked Nation, More Seek Booze-Free Social Spaces
Coordinated Behavioral Care Makes Recommendations About Insurance Contracts

Last year New York announced a $75 million fund to encourage access to adult behavioral health home and community-based services. Now Coordinated Behavioral Care is making recommendations to the state to address the challenges community-based organizations face in contracting with Medicaid managed-care organizations.

The fund was intended for behavioral health providers in partnership with MCOs to develop more efficient eligibility, referral and engagement processes for home and community-based services and to increase service delivery capacity, Coordinated Behavioral Care said in a  brief issued Thursday. CBC Independent Practice Association-which represents eight community-based behavioral health providers-secured three contracts totaling $5 million, or 10% of the state's available funding for 15-month contracts. But Coordinated Behavioral Care's experience securing those contracts highlights the challenges faced by it and other community-based providers and the need for resources to sustain programs in the long term. Read more here.
MVP Brings Mental Health, Addiction Services In-House

MVP Health Care announced Wednesday that it will be ending a 10-year relationship with Beacon Health Options, a company that administers behavioral health services for health plans nationwide.

Starting early next year, the Schenectady-based health insurer says it will begin administering those benefits itself - handling claims for all mental health and addiction treatment services requested by its members in New York. The company already administers benefits for its members in Vermont.

The move, officials say, should lead to better patient care and streamline reimbursements to providers by cutting out a longstanding middleman. Read more here.

Translating Detox into Recovery: Innovations in Opioid Treatment
July 16, 3 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
July 17, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

GAINS Advancing Early Diversion Summer Series: Data and Information Sharing in Early Diversion
July 17, 1 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

New Opportunities to Advance Integrated Care for Dual Eligibles
July 24, 1 - 2 pm, Manatt Health

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
July 25, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

Medication-assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Correctional Settings: Notes from the Field
July 25, 3 - 4:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

A Needs-Based Toolkit to Advance Workforce Integration Readiness
July 26, 12:15 - 1:30 pm, NYC Peer and Community Health Worker Workforce Consortium

GAINS Advancing Early Diversion Summer Series Part 2: Strategies for Collaborative Early Diversion Encounters
July 26, 1 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Addressing Social Determinants: Impacting Health & Wellness Beyond Traditional Medicine (SDOH Series Part 1)
July 29, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

HIPAA/Data and Information Sharing
July 30, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

PSYCKES Mobile App for iPhones & iPads
July 31, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

The Developmentally Informed and Trauma-Informed Police Officer
August 1, 1 - 2 pm, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention


JULY 2019

Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Membership Call
July 24: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM

CLMHD BH Portal Webinar: Other Resources - Opioid-Related Data in New York State
July 24: 12 - 12:30 pm, GTM

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
July 25: 1 - 3 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
Judge Orders Expanded Oversight for Mentally Ill New Yorkers In Supported Housing

A report released this week, commissioned after a ProPublica and Frontline investigation, found that not enough residents were covered by an incident reporting system, among other gaps. 

Not enough people are covered by an oversight system meant to safeguard residents of a New York housing program for people with mental illness, a federal judge found this week, after reviewing a report commissioned  in response to a ProPublica and Frontline  investigation.

Since January 2014, more than 750 people with severe mental illness have moved out of troubled New York City adult group homes and into subsidized apartments under a federal court order. The idea was to give them a chance to live outside institutions, with services coming to them as needed through a program called supported housing.

But last December, ProPublica and Frontline revealed that more than two dozen people who had moved out struggled to live safely on their own. Many had been repeatedly hospitalized. One went missing; another was in jail. At least six had died under suspicious circumstances, and the state had only recently developed a system to track such incidents.

The story prompted U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis to order a report from Clarence Sundram, the independent court monitor assigned to oversee the transition. Read more here.
Housing in Short Supply for Mentally Ill

Orange County residents suffering from mental illness and eligible for state-subsidized housing currently have about 525 apartments and places in group homes with varying degrees of supervision that the state is funding in the county.

But an even greater number of people - 718 - were on a county waiting list for housing as of March 1. And mental-health advocates say New York's longstanding under-funding for those housing types has meant not only a shortage of available slots but staff reductions and low pay for the workers who care for that vulnerable population.

A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and unanimously approved by both legislative chambers last month seeks to correct those problems by forming a commission to study the housing needs of New Yorkers with mental illness and recommend appropriate funding increases for the next budget. Read more here.
'It saved my life' | Harris County Program Diverts Low-Level Offenders with Mental Illness from Jail to Treatment

In the first seven months, the county says diversion saved law enforcement $9 million. So authorities expanded the program to include more non-violent offenses.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -  More than a third of inmates at the Harris County jail are taking psychotropic medications. 

A year ago, the county began a program to divert low level offender with mental issues from jail to treatment.  The jail houses more mental health patients on any given day than all 10 state hospitals combined. The county started diverting suspects from jail last September.

When Shelly Pugsley got arrested for trespassing, a Houston police officer dropped her off at the newly opened Judge Ed Emmett Diversion Center, instead of putting her behind bars. Read more here.
An alarming number of school-children are in crisis. So is the school counseling system that's supposed to support them.

Janine Menard is moving quickly through her busy day. On a Monday morning at Pueblo del Sol Elementary, a dual elementary and middle school in West Phoenix, she visits a fourth-grade classroom that's getting a lesson in understanding "different perspectives." Menard, the school counselor, goes over scenarios aimed at tapping into the children's empathetic side. They discuss ways to bridge gaps in understanding using emotional intelligence. 

An hour later, Menard heads upstairs to a room of seventh-graders to teach them about sexual harassment. They go over the difference between sexual harassment and rape, and learn that sending or posting unsolicited photos on social media counts as sexual harassment. Menard asks them about behaviors they see around school -- like boys who grab girls in the hall, or kids teasing someone for their sexual orientation. 

After those two lessons, it's back to her office, where she meets with students for the rest of the day. Her docket today includes two refugee girls who've been subjected to merciless taunts and a girl who's been "acting out" in class for reasons unknown. 

As the sole full-time counselor for Pueblo del Sol Elementary, Menard, who is also the chair of the Arizona School Counselors Association, has a caseload of 1,100 kids. The school is overwhelmingly Hispanic and low-income, with test scores falling far below state averages. Domestic violence, absentee parents and drug use run rampant in many of the students' homes. Many kids come to school loaded with trauma. "This area just really eats up these kids," Menard says between counseling sessions. Read more here.
Office of Mental Health Expands Telepsychiatry Regulations to Increase Access to Mental Health Services

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) this week announced the adoption of new, expanded telepsychiatry regulations to give New Yorkers greater access to a range of mental health services using electronic communication.

The  new regulations allow more mental health practitioners to utilize virtual technology to provide or support clinical psychiatric care at a distance. Previous regulations only permitted psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners to utilize the technology. Read more here.

OASAS Releases Fact Sheet on Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Drug Treatment in Medicaid Managed Care and Fee-for-Service Coverage

Many questions have come up recently regarding the prescribing and coverage of medication assisted treatment for individuals covered through Medicaid Fee for Service and Medicaid Managed Care. The Department of Health, in consultation with OASAS, developed a document which provides resources for prescribers to understand existing law and coverage requirements, information on Medicaid Managed Care Formularies; and important policies changes affecting Medicaid Managed Care and Fee for Service covered patients. Click here  for the fact sheet.
Addiction Provider Group Launches Family Peer Program

The New York Certification Board, part of the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, is launching a professional certification for peer recovery
advocates serving family members.

The association developed the certification through $150,000 in seed funding from the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and is currently recruiting peer recovery workers into the training program. The goal is to better serve family members with young people - age 21 or younger - who experience social, medical,  substance use, behavioral or other challenges in their homes, schools and communities, the association said. Read more here .
CHCS Brief: Exploring the Impact of Integrated Medicaid Managed Care on Practice-Level Integration of Physical and Behavioral Health 

Integration of physical and behavioral health services has the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce costs for individuals with behavioral health care needs. In recent years, several states have begun contracting with comprehensive managed care plans to integrate these services and reduce fragmented care for Medicaid enrollees.

This brief  describes how integrated financing influences the coordination of physical and behavioral health services at the point of care. It distills insights from providers in three states - Arizona, New York, and Washington State - that have recently transitioned to integrated managed care. 

I/DD & Managed Care - What Are The Early Lessons For Providers?

For the past couple years, our team has tracked the intersection of managed care and Medicaid services for consumers with an intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). At last count, 50% of Medicaid consumers with I/DD receive their health and behavioral health benefits through Medicaid health plans and 15% of those consumers have their LTSS services delivered via managed care models.

So, what does that mean for specialty provider organizations serving the I/DD population? That was the topic of The 2019 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute session, "Preparing I/DD & Other Long-Term Care Organizations For Managed Care - Implications For Consumers, Health Plans, & The Rest Of Us."

The message of the day? For executives of provider organizations serving the I/DD population, this shift to managed care is fundamentally remaking the traditional business model. In states with this shift, new administrative infrastructure, technology functionality, service system model, and marketing approaches are needed. For those executives, the task is to "recognize, strategize, and adapt." 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.