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November 30, 2017

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

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor
The Conference is Hiring: Director of Governmental Relations

The NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, Inc. (the Conference) is seeking experienced candidates for the position of Director of Governmental Relations. This is a professional-level position for an individual who is familiar with the legislative and state budget processes, possesses the skills to advocate effectively, and ideally, is familiar with Conference policy issues which include the community mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities systems in the State. An understanding of Medicaid, Medicaid Redesign and behavioral healthcare is a plus.   Read more here .

Bronx nonprofit gets $2M loan to expand its services for national behavioral-health pilot

New mobile crisis team will come to you - Clinton County

New service available for drug crisis - Finger Lakes

September 2017 CMS Medicaid & CHIP Eligibility and Enrollment Report

According to CMS's monthly Medicaid/
CHIP eligibility and enrollment  report, 74.2 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP in September 2017. Nearly 16.3 million additional individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP in September 2017 as compared to the period prior to the start of the first Marketplace open enrollment period (July - Sept. 2013), in the 49 states that reported relevant data for both periods, representing nearly a 29 percent increase over the baseline period.  Click  here for the report.
New CMS Quality Measure Tool in the Works

The CMS is looking to give providers a look behind the curtain on how performance measures are developed.

The agency is creating an online resource known as the CMS Measures Inventory Tool, or CMIT, which will provide a comprehensive list of measures being developed and in use, as well as those that have been removed from a CMS quality program or initiative. 

The tool should help providers find measures quickly and increase transparency. CMIT can be used to identify measures across the continuum of care and will help coordinate measurement efforts across all conditions, settings and populations.  Read more here.


December 6, 2 - 3 pm, Health Data Management

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

Persons with Lived Experience Spotlight Series:  Achieving Stability and Recovery with SOAR
December 20, 1 - 2:15 pm, SAMHSA 

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



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 
To Reduce Recidivism, New York City Tries a Bold New Approach

Like many other cities, New York wants to reduce its jail population and repeated lock-ups of low-level offenders. The city's latest attempt to address that goal centers around a bold idea that could be modeled nationwide: Do away with all jail sentences of less than a month.

That's the idea behind newSTART, a jail diversion program launched in New York last month. It keeps defendants who have committed low-level misdemeanors -- things like petty larceny or possession of small amounts of illegal drugs -- from entering jail. It would also apply to people convicted of thefts of service, such as jumping a subway turnstile or exiting a taxi without paying.

Instead, in exchange for a guilty plea, misdemeanor defendants can opt for one or more social service programs, including drug treatment, job training and mental health counseling.  Read more here.
Governor Cuomo Launches New Fentanyl Public Awareness Campaign

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced a new public awareness campaign on the fentanyl crisis impacting communities across New York State. The campaign consists of ads and information cards warning New Yorkers about the dangers of fentanyl, providing safety tips on prevention, and offering guidance on how to safely respond to a fentanyl overdose. The campaign comes on the heels of the Governor's aggressive new  actions to combat the fentanyl crisis across New York.

As part of the campaign, New Yorkers are encouraged to carry naloxone to help when someone is experiencing an overdose. Under the New York State Department of Health's  Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program (N-CAP), individuals can access low-cost or no-cost naloxone at pharmacies across the state. At participating pharmacies, individuals with prescription coverage as part of their health insurance plan can receive up to $40 in co-payment assistance for the purchase of this lifesaving drug. Uninsured individuals and individuals without prescription coverage can receive naloxone at no cost through New York's network of  registered opioid overdose prevention programs.  Read more here.
Accessing Behavioral Health Through Primary Care

Primary-care providers write most of the anti-depressant prescriptions in the U.S., where just under a fifth of all adults are taking some kind of psychotropic medication.  These providers may have "limited" training in mental health treatment, according to the American Psychological Association, but they remain the front door to psychiatric care for many.

Rather than ignoring that this is happening, Arun Gupta is working with it, giving primary-care providers and their patients access to mental health resources through the Quartet Health platform, which identifies patients who may have mental health conditions and pairs them with mental health providers.

It also gives primary-care physicians direct access to behavioral health providers for consultations about patients, creating a team-based care model. According to consulting firm Milliman, integrating behavioral and medical care could save the industry $26 billion to $48 billion annually. Read more here.
CCBHCs are Reviving the Safety-net

Three years ago, we celebrated the passage of the  Excellence in Mental Health Actdemonstration, designed to expand Americans' access to community-based addiction and mental health services. We hoped the initiative would provide sustainable footing to combat generations of funding cuts that have left the safety-net struggling to meet the mental health and substance use needs in our communities, while accelerating adoption of evidence-based practices and data-driven care.

Today, early results of the demonstration's Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) show our hope is being realized. They are: increasing access to mental health and addiction treatment; expanding capacity to address the opioid crisis; collaborating with partners in hospitals, jails, prisons and schools; and attracting and retaining qualified staff who offer science-based, trauma-informed services - often on the same day patients present for care.

CCBHCs are a new provider type in Medicaid, providing a comprehensive range of addiction and mental health services to vulnerable individuals while meeting additional requirements that address staffing, governance, reporting and more.  Read more here.
Do You Understand The Cost Of Value?

The recent 2017 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute was a deep-dive into the organizations of the future-the organizations that will be sustainable will be data-driven, tech-enabled, and focused on value. How can executive teams help their organizations to develop these new competencies and build a new business model to succeed in a turbulent market? It takes an understanding of the market (both where you currently are and where you expect your market to be in the future) and a sustainable strategy to position your organization to compete.

That was the topic of the session,  Billing For Behavioral Health: Top Five Issues Facing Agencies In 2018, presented by Suki Norris, Senior Knowledge Engineer at The Echo Group. Ms. Norris reviewed the developments she thinks will shape revenue cycle management in the New Year.  Read more here.
5 Payer Trends to Watch in 2018

The past year has been an eventful one for payers, from the tumultuous Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange markets to potential mega-mergers. Insurers continue, however, to keep their efforts focused on lowering healthcare costs where possible, with the intention that quality of care is not sacrificed. 

Those payer efforts are working.  Healthcare spending growth dropped to the lowest level in nearly two years, and hospital spending growth lags behind all other healthcare sectors. Hospital spending increased by only 0.8% year-over-year in June, which was the slowest growth rate since January 1989.

Payers have ratcheted down hospital payments by creating policies with an eye toward providing care at less-costly locations, designing health plans that put more healthcare utilization costs on members and by replacing fee-for-service payments with value-based contracts. Providers have also teamed up with insurers in partnerships that look to offer better outcomes.

Looking ahead to next year, you can expect payers to implement more cost-saving measures and push for value-based contracting. Here's a look at five payer trends to watch for in 2018, and some tips for preparing to deal with them.  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.