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May 15, 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

Children's Home of Jefferson County Expanding to Grow Mission

Opioid OD deaths jumped in Ulster County after stay-at-home directive

Group Home Residents Navigate a New World During COVID-19 - Westchester

Ulster, Orange Counties Offering Free Narcan Virtual Training

Homeless nonprofit seeks to mitigate new risks for drug users - NYC

'This is a no brainer': Direct support provider quarantines with those he serves - Long Island'

Drug Rehabs Help Battle Coronavirus Pandemic While Still Facing The Opioid Crisis

PROS Clinic helps residents with mental illness - Madison

Telemental Health Services Expand to Rural, Native Communities in WNY
Cortland County Mental Health Director - Radio Interview with  WXHC 
Sharon MacDougall has been director of the Cortland County Mental Health Department for several months now,  after arriving to the community around the same time as the "new normal" brought on by COVID-19.

Prior to that, MacDougall spent several decades working in the field across New York State, including the past four years as deputy of the Tompkins County Mental Health Department.

She spoke with WXHC about some of the adjustments she's now overseen since taking the job in Cortland County.

"Very rapidly we were able to transition our staff to working from home, but still able to offer important services to the community through telehealth visits," MacDougall said. "Not only did we avoid losing a lot of scheduled visits, but less appointments have been cancelled due to the convenience of being able to see your clinician from home."

Click here to listen to the interview.
"In Case You Missed It" - CLMHD 
Recaps Key Information Issued by the State

The Conference has published the April 2020 edition of "In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)," a one-stop-shop highlighting key information released by our state partners. This publication provides a clear, concise recap of significant state guidance, regulations, and resources from OMH, DOH, OASAS, and OPWDD, as well as links to access documents and materials of importance. 

Click  here to read the April 2020 issue.
Nonprofits Won't Survive Unless the Federal Government Helps More Medium-Size Groups

Commonwealth Fund: Ensuring People Have the Medicaid Coverage They Need During the Economic Crisis

Remote cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety on par with face-to-face treatment

Psychiatrists 'pleasantly surprised' with transition to telemedicine

We Need to Rethink Involuntary Hospitalization during This Pandemic

Fear, Isolation, Depression: The Mental Health Fallout of a Worldwide Pandemic

How COVID-19 May Affect People at Risk for Psychosis

MHM: Maternal Mental Health During COVID-19

Esports team Cloud9 teams with Kaiser Permanente to improve mental health

Vaping Reversing Years of Success Against Youth Nicotine Exposure

CDC Researchers: Over 5 Million US Adults Have Autism

May 19, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

May 19, 1 - 2 pm, National Center for Complex Health & Social Needs

May 20, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 20, 12 - 1 pm, Coordinated Care Services, Inc. 
NYC Peer Workforce Series Session 1: Getting the Conversation Started
May 20, 12 - 1:30 pm, Academy of Peer Services

May 20, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

Re-entry and Recovery From a CISM Perspective: A Conversation with Barb Ertl
May 21, 10 - 11 am, Coordinated Care Services, Inc. 

May 24, 10 - 11 am, OMH

May 26, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

NYC Peer Workforce Series Session 2: Building a Plan
May 27, 12 - 1:30 pm, Academy of Peer Services

May 27, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

Exploring Stages of Disruption: Service Shifts and Responses to COVID-19, Including Innovations Beyond the Pandemic
May 27, 4 - 5 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Using PSYCKES Recipient Search
May 28, 10 - 11 am, OMH

Social Determinants Of Health And Peer Support: Playing A Role In Mental Health Treatment And Recovery During The COVID-19 Pandemic
May 28, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

New York's Other Crisis During Coronavirus Pandemic: Mental Health
June 2, 2 - 3 pm, City & State New York
Enable Access to Client-Level Data in PSYCKES
June 3, 10 - 11 am, OMH
NYC Peer Workforce Series Session 3: Keeping the Action Active
June 3, 12 - 1:30 pm, Academy of Peer Services

June 10, 12 - 1:30 pm, Academy of Peer Services

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
June 11, 2:30 - 4 pm, OMH

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
June 17, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

Data Sharing Among Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Partners-Addressing Data Sharing Agreements and Confidentiality Concerns
June 24, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 24, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

Navigating System Cultures across the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM)
June 26, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


MAY 2020

Children & Families Committee Meeting
May 19: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Full Membership Call
May 20: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM

CLMHD Office Closed - Memorial Day
May 25

JUNE 2020

Executive Committee Meeting
June 3: 8 am, GTM

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

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
What to Expect in the State's First Round of Spending Cuts

Regular viewers of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's daily coronavirus press briefings have heard the governor say time and again that New York state is broke. Revenue projections are way down and the state is facing a budget deficit that is set to grow even wider as the economic fallout of the pandemic is realized. Cuomo has repeatedly made appeals to the federal government to provide unrestricted aid to the state, lest he be forced to make deep spending cuts to schools and other programs.

The first round of those cuts are expected to be announced in the coming days based on data from the first month of the fiscal year. The Cuomo administration has said it plans to cut  $8.2 billion in aid to localities. That could include decreases in education and Medicaid funding. Even with federal aid, cuts will likely be unavoidable because the budget gap is only expected to grow in the coming years. While details are scant, the state has ways that it can reduce the impact of the budget cuts on the state's most vulnerable people. Read more here.

New York's $2.75 Billion Medicaid COVID-19 Ask: 
An Overview

Quietly but with a bang, New York State's Medicaid program submitted a  $2.75 billion request to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)  today, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, proposing to repurpose the  infrastructure built under the state's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment  (DSRIP) program and support rapidly "pivoting and reconfiguring aspects of the  State's health care delivery system."

What does this significant ask mean for New York's health ecosystem?
  • $2.75B in new federal funding for the period March 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021. (Funding would expire either on the state's proposed end date of March 31, 2021, or 60 days after the currently declared public health emergency ends.)
  • Preserving the Safety Net: Emergency Capacity Assurance ($1.2B): Investments to support essential community providers and institutions involved in COVID-19 response, serving Medicaid and uninsured individuals, and facing sustainability challenges. Read more here.
SAMHSA: Guidance for Law Enforcement and First Responders Administering Naloxone

As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout our country, SAMHSA has received reports that some first responders and law enforcement officers have been more reluctant to administer naloxone due to fear of potentially contracting the coronavirus. SAMHSA recognizes the concerns about COVID-19 exposure and recommends the following to promote first responder safety. Read more here.
Covid-19 Has Streamlined Addiction Medicine. Will the Changes Stick?

Nicole Godinez's monthly visit to an addiction clinic typically takes several hours: To start, there's the 35-minute drive to a Nashville suburb, the waiting room, and the paperwork. Then the repetitive questioning from a drug counselor, then the drug test. Finally, there's the in-person visit with a doctor who refills her 28-day prescription for Subutex, a common but highly controlled medication used to treat opioid dependence.

But in March, Godinez was sure she'd miss the appointment. She'd just delivered twins by C-section, and couldn't drive. One of her 3-week-old boys was still in intensive care, and she refused to leave his side. And then, of course, there was the pandemic. In the previous two weeks, health officials across Tennessee had reported 4,500 new coronavirus cases. Godinez thought she'd be forced to make an impossible choice: Her own care, or potentially exposing herself and her twins to Covid-19.

Instead, since their birth, Godinez has had an easier time than ever accessing addiction care, thanks to aggressive government reforms in response to the pandemic. Read more here.

Columbia County is Hiring: Director of Community Services

Columbia County is searching for a highly skilled individual responsible for the oversight of the Columbia County Department of Human Services, its services and the provision of a comprehensive mental hygiene system of services. In addition, the Director will serve on the Community Services Board and its' three (3) subcommittees: Mental Health, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. The Director works under the general supervision of the Community Services Board and the County Board of Supervisors' Health and Medical Committee. 

Click  here for the full job description.
More Kids Go to ED With Mental Health Problems
A depressed looking male teen laying down with his arm across his head in an ER examination room
Rates of pediatric emergency room visits among children with mental health disorders soared from 2007 to 2016, researchers found.

During those years, pediatric emergency department visits increased somewhat, from 273.5 to 305.5 cases per 10,000 (11.7% increase, P=0.06), but visits among children with mental health disorders spiked 60%, from 15.9 to 25.4 cases per 10,000 (P<0.001), reported Charmaine Lo, PhD, MPH, of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues.

Visits for deliberate self-harm quadrupled across the study period, from 1.1 to 4.6 cases per 10,000, and visits from children with substance use disorder rose by 159%, from 1.5 to 4.0 cases per 10,000, the team wrote in  Pediatrics. Read more here.

Act Now To Get Ahead Of A Mental Health Crisis, Specialists Advise U.S.

Mental health specialists are working now to bolster the resilience of Americans who are suffering from feelings of despair - in hopes of preventing increases in suicides among people who are under increased pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Time is of the essence, public health researchers say. Experience with past natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, shows that a rise in suicide often happens in the months after the immediate physical dangers of the disaster have passed.

report jointly published last week by two foundations that support mental health issues estimates that, unless steps are taken now, the increase in "deaths of despair" from alcohol, drugs and suicide could increase by 75,000 as a result of COVID-19. Read more here.

Additional article of interest:  The Coronavirus Mental Health Crisis Hits Home
NYS Justice Center: Surrogate Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) RFP

The NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (Justice Center) invites proposals from not-for-profit providers for the operation of the Surrogate Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) program throughout six regions of New York State as identified in the Request for Proposals (RFP).
The SDMC program is an alternative to the court system and provides services to individuals who lack the capacity to provide informed consent, do not have a legally authorized decision-maker to act on their behalf, and need non-emergency Major Medical Treatment or End of Life decision-making.
The Justice Center will establish contracts in each of the six regions identified in RFP, that will cover a five-year period commencing November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2025.
The link to the RFP can be found  here.

Federal and state agencies and health care systems are well into the emergency response phase for COVID-19. Many health systems across the nation are working at or above capacity to provide care for those afflicted with the virus, while others are experiencing significant declines in revenue. As the roll-out of guidance prioritizes ways to support acute care needs, managed care organizations (MCOs) are quickly translating these opportunities to address the strain on their health care delivery systems for specific Medicaid populations. Within this rapidly evolving environment, MCOs are identifying a range of important issues requiring immediate attention from state Medicaid agencies to support their plans and providers.

We recently spoke with Jennifer McGuigan Babcock, senior vice president of Medicaid policy, and Enrique Martinez-Vidal, vice president of quality and operations at the  Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), to discuss key considerations for state Medicaid agencies in meeting the needs of beneficiaries in the current pandemic environment. Read more here.
A Challenge For Management Teams: Moving From Shutdown To Reopening
We are soon coming up on two months since the first statewide shutdown due to the pandemic-though it does seem like a very long time ago. And many states are starting to allow selected business operations to 'reopen'-including health care services. As of May 8, 28 states have announced at least a partial reopening-with four states (Ohio, Rhode Island, Nevada, and New Hampshire potentially 'reopening soon')-and 20 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) continue to have shutdowns in place. And while some states have postponed elective surgeries-either until further notice or through the duration of their respective state emergency orders-as of May 4, 26 states have either "allowed or announced plans to" resume elective surgeries.

But if you're running an organization, there is a big gulf between being allowed to resume services and the operational processes to make that happen. What is permitted and what will make consumers and staff feel confident in their safety are two different issues. The shortage of testing and of personal protective equipment (PPE) make this transition difficult for managers. And, there is disagreement about best practices. 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.