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August 21, 2020
CLICK HERE for Links to State Guidance and Updates on COVID-19
Advancing Public Policies for people with Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorder and/or Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
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Francine Sinkoff, Editor
Crisis calls on the rise in Lewis County

Exelon Donates iPads To Oswego Health To Assist Patients With Access To Care

'What you feel is real' campaign lets COVID-stressed Orange County residents know about mental health resources

As student mental health needs rise, some NYC schools could lose counselors

Pandemic Initiatives Support Mental Health of Healthcare Workers - Suffolk

A Look Inside Old Main (formerly The New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica) - Oneida

As COVID rages on, WNY mental health organizations adapt how and what they provide

Spectrum Health receives grants to for COVID-19 needs & housing program - Erie
NPR: 'The Confess Project' Aims To Train Barbers To Help With Clients' Mental Health

Many American adults say the coronavirus has affected their mental health, especially in communities of color, where people have been more likely to fall sick and lose their jobs. An effort called The Confess Project wants to bring help to places where people may lean back and talk in their barber's chairs. Craig Charles is a barber from Johnson City, Tenn. Listen here.
New York Counties Say Funding Fix on Aging Out Doesn't Go Far Enough

Last month, New York's Office of Children and Family Services offered a compromise to the advocates pressuring the state to allow youth in foster care to continue receiving housing support and other services past age 21, when the financial help typically expires. In a state where the coronavirus pandemic has already claimed more than 30,000 lives and left millions out of work, there is broad agreement that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for vulnerable young adults to try to find a foothold on their own, but there are differing views on what the state should do to ease their way.

At least nine other states and New York City have temporarily lifted the 21-year-old age limit during the coronavirus pandemic. But New York state officials took another route, directing county social services departments to get creative with state funds intended to prevent family separation, increase placements with kin, and reduce reliance on group homes. That money, the state directed counties, can now also be used to offer housing support to foster youth who have no stable place to call home after turning 21.

Now, a month later, several New York counties are reporting that most of that money - provided to comply with new requirements of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act - has already been spent on or committed to those original goals. Read more here.
Telehealth Kiosks Give Homeless Veterans a Link to Healthcare, Other Services

Mental health, substance abuse driving health care costs

Pregnant Women Shown to Face Additional Barriers to OUD Treatment in Study

University study looks at prevention strategy for substance use disorder


August 25, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health 

National Practice Guidelines for Peer Specialists and Supervisors 
August 25, 2 - 3 pm, Doors to Wellbeing

Racism: A Public Mental Health Crisis
August 26, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

Using PSYCKES Recipient Search
August 27, 10 - 11 am, OMH

CIT ECHO: Sustained Mental Health Training and Consultation to Law Enforcement, First Responders and Behavioral Health Partners
August 27, 3 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Implementing a Peer Mentor Program: Strategies for Engaging Peer Recovery Support Specialists in Adult Treatment Courts
August 31, 12:30 - 2 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

August 31, 2 - 3:30 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.

America's behavioral health crisis: The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic
September 1, 10 - 10:30 am, McKinsey & Company

Enable Access to Client-Level Data in PSYCKES
September 1, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

Creating a 'Connections Plan' to Reduce Social Isolation and Reduce Suicide Risk
September 2, 12 - 1 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy 

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
September 10, 2:30 - 4 pm, OMH

Understanding and Addressing Criminal Thinking
September 11, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

PSYCKES Mobile App for iPhones & iPads
September 15, 10 - 11 am, OMH

The Intersection of Farming Culture and Suicide Prevention
September 16, 12 - 1 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy

September 23, 12 - 1 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
September 23, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

September 29, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Breaking Through to the Other Side: A Survivor's Story
September 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy



CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting
September 2: 8 am

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
September 3: 1 - 2:30 pm

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
September 13: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

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

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Governor Cuomo Announces Nearly $1 Million to Expand Mobile Addiction Treatment Services
Governor Cuomo Announces Nearly $1 Million to Expand Mobile Addiction  Treatment Services | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced $972,717 has been awarded to five addiction treatment service providers across New York State to enable them to purchase and operate mobile treatment vehicles. The goal of this initiative is to expand the availability and access to addiction treatment services in underserved regions of the state. Funding is being administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports and was awarded through the federal State Opioid Response Grant.

Over the past several years, New York has greatly expanded its mobile treatment capability. In 2017, the State established the Centers of Treatment Innovation to serve high-need counties throughout the state. The COTIs are focused on establishing connections with people affected by addiction, who have not been connected to care previously or have been unable to sustain their recovery through traditional treatment approaches. COTI services, including mobile treatment, have helped engage more than 13,000 New Yorkers in treatment through non-traditional means, and has helped providers expand their outreach in previously underserved areas. Read more here.
Extended Shelf Life Approved for Narcan Nasal Spray 

Emergent BioSolutions announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an extended shelf life for NarcanĀ® (naloxone hydrochloride; Adapt Pharma) Nasal Spray, increasing it from 24 months to 36 months. Read more here.
The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection: Preventing Opioid Overdoses During COVID-19

Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, opioid misuse and addiction were already having devastating impacts on so many. COVID-19 has only added further challenges and complexities. Across the country, a rise in suspected drug overdoses has been reported, with jumps of 29% in April and 42% in May based on research from the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, a federal initiative that compiles data from emergency medical technician teams, hospitals, medical examiners and police.

As these two major public health issues collide, the U.S. health care system is witnessing the critical and urgent importance of holistically supporting patients, especially during their most vulnerable times. To do so, we must work collectively to close the underlying gaps and inequities in our system, while also helping to destigmatize substance use disorder so that people feel comfortable seeking care when, where and how they need it. Read more here.

New Data Shows Lyft is Improving Access to Care for Millions of Medicaid Recipients

Since 2016, the rideshare company Lyft has worked with healthcare organizations to offer reliable, non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) to patients. In a new case study, "the impact of rideshare on healthcare access and quality for Medicaid recipients" is reviewed based on results from Lyft's healthcare partners AmeriHealth, Centene, and Amerigroup.

AmeriHealth Caritas DC, a Medicaid plan that serves over 100,000 residents in the District of Columbia. evaluated the overall impact of Lyft transportation from April 2018 to April 2019 on 11,400 Medicaid members. The partnership between AmeriHealth began in 2017, and it works with Lyft "through a transportation manager called Access2Care," said Lyft Vice President of Healthcare Megan Callahan.

The analysis found Lyft users had positive health impacts, including:
  • A 40% decrease in emergency room (ER) utilization
  • A 15% decrease in low acuity non-emergent (LANE) ER utilization
  • A 12% decrease in ambulance utilization       
  • A 45% increase in compliance with Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures
Read more here.
Telehealth is Helping New York Tackle Our Mental Health Crisis, But It Must Be Funded

When we first met Alice two years ago, she suffered from schizophrenia, depression, uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Even though we set up pill boxes for her and arranged home health aides, she chose to seek treatment only in emergency rooms. Her health continued to deteriorate. 

Last year, Alice finally began to engage in treatment for her diabetes by phone, but her nurse practitioner provided this treatment on her own time, without government funding. Alice's serious health problems put her squarely in the high-need, high-cost category of patients who demand innovative treatment approaches. But our 20th century regulatory system held her back. 

Ironically, the COVID-19 epidemic changed things. By necessity, Alice was offered more care by telephone and videoconference. She was able to accept these offers, and began following up with her appointments. This only became possible because emergency orders issued by Governor Cuomo allowed the state to reimburse health-care providers for telehealth services as if they were in-office visits, while suspending bureaucratic rules that made it hard for providers to offer telehealth services in the first place. Read more here.

SLATE: Telepsychiatry Is Leaving Behind the Most Seriously Mentally Ill

I have broken all my promises to Katie* since I last saw her in early March. "I don't feel like talkin' today. I didn't want ta come," she snapped at me that day during the short walk to my office. Her Irish lilt never failed to make me smile. I told her she didn't have to say anything. I knew she was angry before I even greeted her-when I paused at the door, she glared from across the waiting room. This small action only took a moment, but it is one of hundreds that stand to be lost as psychiatrists embrace telepsychiatry.

Katie is a 90-year-old woman suffering from schizophrenia, meaning she has severe disturbances in thought, communication, and perception. She also has poor insight into her illness, meaning she does not believe she is ill. Yet Katie is sick, whether she knows it or not, and she sees me once a month for both medication and therapy to keep her well. Thanks to this routine, she has been stable for nearly 30 years. She is often wary of people, but she has not tried to harm others or herself. It has taken me two years to chip away at her gruff exterior. The first chip was accidental. Two months in, I broke her silence by asking, "Did you ever leave milk out for the pixies in Ireland?"

I was rewarded with her laughter, a warm sound for the typically cranky woman. "No. No such thing as pixies. And we did all right-my mother cleaned houses. ... But we couldn't be wasting expensive milk."

Our relationship stuttered along after that, often wordlessly. I read her body language and recognized her weighty pauses. We sat in silence, appreciating speech instead of expecting it. Sometimes she smelled terrible, which told me she was having a bad month. People with schizophrenia often have poor hygiene. When we began meeting, I silently promised her I would heed these signals, that I would respect her communication style. But now I'm not able to do any of that, because our monthly visits ceased early in the pandemic. Read more here.
Southern Tier Regional Planning Consortium (RPC) to Host Peer Learning Collaborative Panel Event - August 24

The Southern Tier RPC Peer Workforce Development Steering Committee is hosting a virtual panel event to highlight Peer Learning Collaborative (PLC) initiatives from across the state. A PLC is a group of peers from various backgrounds (CPS, CRPA, YPA, FPA & more!) who come together to provide mutual support, training, and networking. These groups often go by different names including Community of Practice, Peer Network, and more! However, their goals and mission are the same. 

With OMH's recently announced plans to work with CMS to improve access to Peer Services, among other related services, now is a time more than ever to ensure there is a strong & sustainable workforce to meet the demand. We look forward to further exploring how peers are learning from each other and supporting each other to partner with clinical service providers in our mutual goal of promoting community member recovery & health. We are excited to create a platform for groups around the state to discuss how critical the support, learning, and connections that occur in these groups are, as well as facilitate a discussion around how everybody interested can play a meaningful role around these efforts. For more details and to register click here.

We know the pandemic has forced "innovation" (read "telehealth") in all of health care and especially in behavioral health. But as I have said, the reactive move to telehealth in itself is not innovation. The 15- to 20-year lag between the development of a new and effective practice-and its common use at the community level-persists. As we look ahead and look beyond "video visits," the question is how much and how will the consumer get services? What are the constraining factors? There is one big factor-the technology on both the consumer and organizational sides of the equation.

We got a glimpse into the strides and the gaps in technology in a national survey of more than 1,000 behavioral health care executives and staff conducted by Qualifacts and the National Council For Behavioral Health. The survey confirmed the dramatic spike in telehealth use by most provider organizations that had no other option to keep their doors open. Pre-pandemic, only 2% of organizations were providing 80% or more of their care virtually but today 60% of organizations are providing 80% or more virtual care. Post-pandemic, only 8% of provider organization executives expect their organizations to deliver more than 80% of care virtually, while the majority (43%) say virtual will constitute 40% to 60% of their overall service delivery. It's also interesting that organizations with fewer than 100 employees tended to adopt virtual care at a higher percentage than larger ones.

These findings reflect the overall health care landscape. Health care provider organizations' use of telehealth has gone up by 50 to 175 times during the pandemic. In April, nearly half of all Medicare primary care visits were conducted via telehealth (compared to less than 1% pre-pandemic). In May, as in-person visits picked up again, telehealth visits dropped to 30% of visits. Currently, 57% of clinical professionals view telehealth more favorably than they did before while 64% are more comfortable using telehealth. 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.