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August 28, 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
Glens Falls Hospital and aptihealth Announce Partnership to Deliver Virtual Behavioral Healthcare - Warren

City of Poughkeepsie police add mental health professional to respond to community needs - Dutchess

New Community Support Program in East NY, Brownsville Helping Residents in Need - NYC

Nurses Urge New York Presbyterian To Reopen Psych Unit at Inwood Hospital - NYC

How A Bronx Supportive-Housing Network Is Keeping Tenants Safe from Coronavirus (So Far) - NYC

Lovejoy Neighborhood Creates a Recovery Community to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic - Erie

Same mission, new direction for Mental Health Advocates of WNY
Children's Home- and Community-Based Services Exempted from Looming Medicaid Cuts

The state has exempted children's home- and community-based services from 1.5% across-the-board Medicaid cuts scheduled to take effect September 1.

The decision is a win for behavioral health advocates, who have urged against reductions to children's services, saying they would be especially detrimental this year as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

"We are very appreciative of this decision on the exemption," said Alice Bufkin, director of policy for child and adolescent health at the Citizens' Committee for Children, which co-leads the advocacy coalition Campaign for Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids. "We do hope it's coming from a recognition of how important these services are." Read more here.
National Accreditation Awarded to Mobile Crisis Assessment Team

The Neighborhood Center has recently acquired a national accreditation with the American Association of Suicidology.

"The accreditation speaks to our evidence-based practices and standardized approach to provide the best care possible to our clients," said Kristin Sauerbier, program director of the Mobile Crisis Assessment Team.

To obtain accreditation, The Neighborhood Center passed a strenuous "desk" audit in which policy, procedures, staff training, protocols and workflows were all reviewed to ensure best practices. MCAT is available to anyone seeking crisis intervention services in Oneida, Herkimer, Schoharie, Otsego, Delaware and Chenango counties. Read more here.
Harckham's Good Samaritan Bill for Administering Overdose Drug Signed into Law

New York State Senator Pete Harckham applauded today Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's signing into law a bill allowing "good Samaritans" to administer opioid overdose drugs like naloxone in retail stores, restaurants, hotels and other public accommodation venues without fear of legal liability.

The new law, which Harckham introduced and sponsored in the Senate, expands the entities that are authorized to possess, distribute and administer an opioid antagonist or "overdose reversal" drug to include retail bars, shopping malls, barber shops, beauty parlors, theaters, sporting or event center, inns and motels.

"Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature deserve thanks for helping me make opioid overdose reversal medications more readily available in public gathering places, which will save countless lives each year," said Harckham. "And by authorizing the use of these reversal drugs without fear of liability, this new law will also provide peace of mind to residents and business owners around the state who are inclined to help those in desperate need of medical assistance." Read more here.

Improving Hospice Access for Patients with Serious Mental Illness

Young Adults' Drinking Language Suggests 4 Types of Drinkers

Lifetime Risk: A New Way to Understand Deaths from Firearms and Drug Overdoses

The Extra Stigma of Mental Illness for African-Americans

Upsurge In Depression And Suicide Among American Workers During The Pandemic And What Needs To Be Done
NPR: 'As Pandemic Persists, Health Care Heroes Beginning To Crack Under The Strain'
After five months working shifts at an emergency department in Oakland, Douglas Frey says he's mentally and physically spent. Most days the tall, athletic-looking 47-year-old nurse ends his shift depleted by what he calls an undercurrent of tension.

Every day, Frey worries he'll make a mistake - picking up a contaminated mask, perhaps - and bring the virus home to his two boys and wife, who is immunocompromised. He's worried about his hospital's ability to source enough masks and protective gear for him to do his job safely. Frey is not alone among medical staff when it comes to pandemic burnout. Read more here.

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 

September 2, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

September 9, 3 - 5 pm, NAADAC

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

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

CLMHD Membership Call
September 16: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
September 17: 1 - 2:30 pm

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 Investments to Expand Telepractice Addiction Services Across New York State
Governor Cuomo Announces Investments to Expand Telepractice Addiction  Services Across New York State | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last Friday announced the award of funding for the purchase and installation of equipment to enhance telepractice addiction services statewide. Expanded telepractice capacity ensures access to critical addiction services for individuals and families who may not otherwise seek out treatment. Funding for this initiative was provided through the federal State Opioid Response Grant and administered by Office of Addiction Services and Supports via the Requests for Proposals process.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, telepractice services are being utilized as a safe means of keeping individuals and families engaged in addiction services and supports. OASAS has temporarily waived certain regulatory requirements for providing telepractice during the pandemic. Over 600 program sites across the state are authorized to deliver telepractice services through the use of telephone and video technology. 500 of these programs were rapidly approved via the emergency telepractice waiver and attestation process. 

Funding was awarded to 33 providers in all Regional Economic Development Zones across New York State. Funding can be used to purchase: PCs, software, monitors, speakers, laptops, keyboards, or webcams. Read more here.
New Report: Framework For General Health Integration in Behavioral Health Clinics

People with mental illness and substance use disorders have high rates of medical morbidity and mortality, largely due to significant disparities in access to high quality primary and preventive health care. To address this persistent problem, this report, "Advancing Integration of General Health in Behavioral Health Settings: A Continuum-based Framework," was developed to enable behavioral health clinics (mental health and substance use) to plan and implement integration to improve patient outcomes. We use the term "general health" to encompass the types of care usually provided by primary care or general medical practitioners and have designed this framework as a roadmap for clinics with a diverse range of resources. 

The framework describes a series of concrete implementation steps that behavioral health organizations can employ to advance evidence-based integration practices. New York State stakeholders in practice, policy, advocacy, regulatory and payment arenas provided significant input in its development. Grant support was provided by The New York Community Trust. The framework is an example of strategic grant-making that builds on The Trust's focus areas and program activities, including ongoing efforts to promote an equitable, patient-focused, and cost-effective health and behavioral health care delivery system and ensuring sustainable integrated behavioral health care for all New Yorkers.

The 2020 OPEN MINDS Management Best Practices Institute opend with an informative keynote address by MaryAnne Lindeblad, state Medicaid director of the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA), "The Path From Behavioral Health Carve-Out To Integration." My takeaway from the keynote? The effort required to move to a new integrated service delivery system model is vastly under appreciated. Although integrated systems can reach their potential eventually-planning around design, procurement, engagement, and monitoring is key. And, Washington State is proof of success. To date, findings from the Southwest Washington region showed nine out of 17 clinical indicators noted statistically significant improvements (including substance abuse treatment penetration, emergency department follow up after substance use disorder dependence, and follow up after emergency department visit for mental illness within seven days to name a few). Satisfaction among clinical staff has improved, and the state has been able to achieve a small savings over the four-year period.

In 2016, Washington State began its move from a nine-region system with county-centered behavioral health care authorities to a system of managed care organizations with integrated physical and behavioral health for all Medicaid consumers. Starting the transition with just one region in 2016, as of January 2020, all ten regions are now live with a fully integrated managed care model.

But what goes in to managing an integrated system of care? Ms. Lindeblad's "behind-the-scenes" review of their process gave us more insight into the key requirements-navigating design and procurement issues, stakeholder engagement, health plan accountability, and provider system transition. Read more here.
HHS Releases Healthy People 2030 with National Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Objectives for the Next Decade 
Healthy People 2030: HHS Prioritizes Socioeconomic Disparities, Overall  Well-Being | MedPage Today
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released 
Healthy People 2030, the nation's 10-year plan for addressing our most critical public health priorities and challenges. Since 1980, HHS's Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has set measurable objectives and targets to improve the health and well-being of the nation.

This decade, Healthy People 2030 features 355 core - or measurable - objectives with 10-year targets, new objectives related to opioid use disorder and youth e-cigarette use, and resources for adapting Healthy People 2030 to emerging public health threats like COVID-19. For the first time, Healthy People 2030 also sets 10-year targets for objectives related to social determinants of health.

"Healthy People was the first national effort to lay out a set of data-driven priorities for health improvement," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "Healthy People 2030 adopts a more focused set of objectives and more rigorous data standards to help the federal government and all of our partners deliver results on these important goals over the next decade." Read more here.
CDC Releases New National Data on Increase in Symptoms of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders

The CDC released new national data on the increase in symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders. These data were collected over a 90-day period and break-down their findings by state. Here is a link to the findings: 
HHS Releases $1.5 Billion to States, Tribes to Combat Opioid Crisis

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is distributing the first-year funds of its two-year State Opioid Response (SOR) and Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) grant programs. The two programs ultimately will award nearly $3 billion over two years to help states and tribes provide community-level resources for people in need of prevention, treatment and recovery support services.

Through SOR, states across the country are funded to develop tailored approaches to prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid use disorders and/or stimulant use disorders. The program provides access to lifesaving, evidence-based medication to treat opioid use disorders, along with psychosocial services and community supports. The TOR program enables the development of these same comprehensive approaches among tribal communities. Read more here.
The Power of School-Behavioral Health Partnerships
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In many ways, COVID-19 has forced us to adjust our approach to how we live our lives, go to work and teach our children. While its essential that all students with behavioral health needs receive high-quality care and education, it can get complicated within the scope of an enduring pandemic. Partnerships between schools and behavioral health systems can help.

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health, 1 in 6 U.S. youth - aged 6-17 -experience a mental health disorder each year, and an average of 40.9% of those children did not receive treatment from a mental health professional. Given this high prevalence and the impact that poor mental health has on learning, schools and behavioral health organizations are increasingly seeking to build partnerships with each other.

Before COVID-19, most children could be found in their community's schools, spending up to six hours a day learning. As such, schools are well-positioned to implement these partnerships. What's more, teachers, counselors, social workers, special education staff and administrators who work with the students and know them are readily available in the school setting. Bringing in behavioral health is a wise use of everyone's time and resources.

But what do these partnerships look like? 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.