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July 23 , 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
Expert weighs in on lasting mental health damage caused by the pandemic, returning to school - Capital Region

Groundbreaking held for Family Counseling Center - Fulton

Two Yonkers hospitals to explore merger - NYC

Alphabet-backed Cityblock Health lands $54M to expand care for marginalized populations - NYC

ThriveNYC is recruiting new staff despite city's hiring freeze - NYC

Mental Health Clinic critical during COVID-19 crisis - Livingston

SUNY Sullivan announces new counseling degree program

How COVID-19 is creating a mental health pandemic - Oneida

COVID-19 stressors: How Neighborhood Center clients are coping with pandemic - Oneida

County warns of social media challenges involving medication - Chautauqua

Spectrum Health to resume on-site appointments; telehealth services still available - Western NY

Despite the Need, Funding for Mental Health in Jeopardy During Pandemic - Erie
NEW Podcast: Painkiller: America's Fentanyl Crisis

Hosted by Keegan Hamilton, the new Spotify original takes listeners around the world tracking the chain of fentanyl from production to local communities; uncovering disparities between racial and socio-economic status; and bringing to light an epidemic rarely covered by mainstream media.

The show features interviews with the convicts, the dealers, the victims and everyone in between.

Episode #1- " Down the Rabbit Hole"- A small-town fisherman becomes a dark web fentanyl dealer after an accident leads him down the path to addiction.

The Psychological Toll of Rude E-mails

How Pandemic Has Affected Mental Health Of LGBTQ Youth In The U.S.

They're executives and moms who are also recovering alcoholics. How they're getting through the pandemic


A Trauma-informed Behavioral Health Care Approach to Advance Health Equity
July 27, 3 - 4 pm, HANYS

Data Sharing among Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Partners: Mechanisms and Platforms for Efficient Data and Information Sharing
July 28, 12 - 1 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Strategic Planning: Implementing the CLAS Standards to Reduce Disparities in Behavioral Health Organizations
July 28, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

July 28, 2 - 3:30 pm, NASMHPD

PSYCKES Mobile App for iPhones & iPads
July 29, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

July 29, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Supporting Reentry for People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders: Establishing Recovery Housing
July 30, 12:30 - 2 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Charting a Path to Measurement: Next Steps in Standardizing Quality Measures for Complex Care
July 30, 12:30 - 2 pm, The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
August 4, 10 - 11 am, OMH

Complex Trauma: The Connection Between COVID-19 and Social Unrest
August 5, 12:30 - 1:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Using PSYCKES from Home
August 7, 10 - 11 am, OMH

Transform to Teleservices: Part I-Expanding Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Drug Courts
August 11, 1 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

August 12, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
August 12, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

PSYCKES Access and Implementation
August 18, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

August 18, 1 - 2:30 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



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

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

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Capitol Insider: Social Services, Nonprofits Hit by New York Withholding Funds

Nonprofits and private entities providing social services including mental health and substance abuse support are among the first to be hit by the state withholding funds, stoking fear over its impact on New Yorkers.

As the coronavirus pandemic engulfed the state, overdoses rose in communities across New York as substance abuse support services limited contact and programs. To pursue additional cuts to an already under-funded service could also put lives at risk, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, said.

"The fact is that during this crisis, overdoses are climbing. It's the exact opposite of what we need to do. I'm looking at it as people dying," she said. "The answer is not to cut, it's actually to tax the wealthy, that way we can make sure that vulnerable populations across the state aren't lost."

In recent weeks, New York quietly sent out letters to county health departments notifying them that the state would be withholding roughly 20 percent of the funds agencies expected to receive this month, continuing to build on the state's efforts to close the budget deficit created by the pandemic's impact on the economy and delays in personal income tax filings and sales tax receipts. Read more here.

NY Providers Say Pandemic is Fueling Opioid Use, Affecting Services, According to Siena Poll
A view of how health professionals and other stakeholders responded to a Siena College Research Institute survey about opioid use as part of the Prescription for Progress, a community effort to fight the opioid epidemic.
New Yorkers who work on the front lines of the opioid epidemic say the COVID-19 pandemic is driving increased use of opioids and relapses for people who struggle with addiction, while diminishing their ability to deliver services, a Siena College Research Institute poll has found.

Survey responses from 201 people who work in the fields of addiction, health, mental health and social services reveal that 92 percent believe opioid use has increased either "a lot" or "somewhat" since coronavirus hit. Even more, 96 percent, say people with an existing opioid use disorder have been impacted - 58 percent say they have been impacted "a lot" and 38 percent say they have been impacted "somewhat."

Complicating matters is that 86 percent say the pandemic has also now made it harder for them to provide prevention services, with 45 percent saying it's "a lot" harder and 41 percent saying it's "somewhat" harder.  "Those answers just jumped off the page," said Don Levy, director of the Institute. Read more here.

Expanded Access toTreatment in Prisons can Reduce Overdose Deaths by more than 31%, Study Finds

The epidemic of opioid-related overdose death persists across the United States, and people released from jails and prisons are at particular risk.

While the benefits of life-saving medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD)-such as methadone, buprenorphine and extended-release (XR) naltrexone-has been documented across hospitals and treatment centers, its uptake has been extremely limited in U.S. prisons and jail settings.

In a new study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy on July 22, researchers from the Brown University School of Public Health led by Alexandria Macmadu, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology, found that expanding access to all three MOUD in prisons and jails can reduce overdose
deaths by 31.6% in certain circumstances. Read more here.
New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Announces New Public Awareness "Prevent Overdose" Campaign to Help Save Lives

Office of Addiction Services and Supports | Office of Addiction ...
The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) today announced the launch of a new fentanyl campaign designed to prevent overdose deaths and empower the public with information needed to help save lives. The statewide "Prevent Overdose" Campaign will run for four weeks and is designed to raise awareness about the perilous dangers of mixing fentanyl with illicit drugs such as counterfeit prescription pills, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine (both powder and crack), ecstasy and others. Campaign components include social media with and video streaming messages with a new  webpage to provide a wealth of resources including a schedule of naloxone trainings. A new episode of "New Hope, New Life with OASAS", produced in  English and  Spanish, will also include information about reports of increases in overdose deaths which may be related to fentanyl being laced in drugs.  Read more here .
As U.S. Overdoses Rise, Shatterproof Launches Free, First-of-its-Kind Tool To Help Those In Need Find Trusted And High-Quality Addiction Treatment
As the stress and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic contribute to rising overdose deaths  - up by as much as 42 percent in May compared with last year -  Shatterproof, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the United States, announced a free, first-of-its-kind tool to connect those in need with high-quality and appropriate addiction treatment.  ATLAS™, an Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform, launching today in six states on, evaluates addiction treatment facilities' use of evidence-based best practices, allows patients to see and provide feedback on their experience, and offers an easy-to-use online interface to allow those in need and their loved ones to search for and compare facilities using criteria such as location, services offered and insurance provider so they can connect with appropriate treatment.

ATLAS is currently available in Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and West Virginia. The platform lists all of the state's addiction treatment facilities for any substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder, with more than half voluntarily providing information on services and practices they utilize. Read more here.
Community & Police Partnership Can Help Kids Who Witness Parental Violence

An innovative police and community-based partnership, called the Child Trauma Response Team, was shown to be successful at screening and treating children for post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD) immediately after witnessing intimate partner violence, according to a new study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

"Families that experience poverty, social disadvantage and structural racism are at a higher risk for severe intimate partner violence, but those same factors are also barriers to accessing the post-trauma support offered by community-based organizations," said Amanda Stylianou, an expert on domestic violence and health outcomes at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

More than 7 million children in the U.S. are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, which can impact their development, mental health, physical health and functioning as adults, Stylianou said.

To better understand how to improve PTSD screening and treatment of children and their caregivers after witnessing these incidents, Stylianou and her research team looked at 244 families with 352 children in Harlem being served by Safe Horizon, the nation's largest crime victim organization, through the New York City Child Trauma Response Team (CTRT) over the initial one-year pilot. Read more here.
The Present & The Future May Be Virtual-But What Are The Rules?

There is a lot of telehealth going on. Medicare has temporarily increased access through the Medicare 1135 waiver, which covers all office visits provided via telehealth in any setting throughout the country, for any physical or mental health service; has suspended enforcement of the "established-relationship" requirement; and added 85 more physician procedure codes. All provider organizations that are eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services can now deliver telehealth.

In Medicaid, most state regulations have been relaxed to provide more telehealth services for beneficiaries, including: the health care professional's home can serve as a distance site; new consumers (i.e., those not previously receiving telehealth) are able to receive telehealth services; new HIPAA procedures for smart phones and previously non-compliant applications are allowed for telehealth services; verbal consent can be given in lieu of written consent; and telephone-only encounters. In total, 44 states have modified their Medicaid state plans to authorize the coverage of telehealth services for Medicaid beneficiaries.

In a new survey, we looked at what has been happening in health plans. What did we find? Approximately 95% of health plans report waiving cost-sharing requirements for beneficiaries. Forty-two percent of health plans have contracted with out-of-state or out-of-network provider organizations to deliver telehealth services. OPEN MINDS also identified that approximately 22% of health plans are reimbursing provider organizations for telehealth services at the same rate as face-to-face interactions, and 45% of health plans have modified their benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak, including eliminating co-pays, reimbursing the same as in-person, and making treatment related to COVID-19 free. 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.