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May 3,  2019

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

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor
State Lawmakers Propose Increasing Alcohol Tax to Fund Addiction Treatment

Safety Council to Bring Memorial for Opioid Crisis Victims to Albany, N.Y. - Albany County

Putnam Sheriff's Department Honored For Mental Health Awareness

Orange County Chamber gives Narcan training to local businesses

Urgent Care Focused on Substance Abuse, Mental Health Opens - Orange County

HHS awards $15 million grant to NYU Langone - NYC

New York City Bans Alcohol Ads on City Property - NYC

Syracuse autism clinic in limbo; north country left with limited options - Onondaga County

Despite cuts to mental health education resource, local schools make headway - Oneida County
Court Rules in Favor of Woman Seeking Opioid Meds in Jail

PORTLAND, Maine - A federal appeals court has affirmed a judge's order requiring a jail to provide medication to a woman to keep her opioid addiction in remission.

The Aroostook County Jail in northern Maine appealed to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a Portland-based U.S. district judge granted the preliminary injunction, which requires the jail to provide prescribed medication to Brenda Smith. The appeals court released a brief, unsigned ruling Tuesday saying it found "no abuse of discretion by the district court" in ruling in Smith's favor. Read more here.
NYS OASAS Announces Award of More Than $1.6 Million to Expand Addiction Prevention Program Within Schools

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) this week announced an award of more than $1.6 million in funding to help teachers across the state implement the PAX Good Behavior Game Program, an initiative that will equip students with the skills necessary to reduce risk factors associated with drug use and addiction. The awards are fully funded through the State Opioid Response grant from SAMHSA.  Read more here .
Federal Funding Opportunity: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is accepting applications for the FY 2019 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP). JMHCP grants support cross-system collaboration to improve responses to and outcomes for people with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental illnesses and substance addictions who come into contact with the justice system. Application is open to states, units of local government, and Indian tribes that demonstrate that the project will be administered jointly with a criminal or juvenile justice agency and a mental health agency.

This program supports officer and public safety, violence reduction, and recidivism reduction efforts through social service and other partnerships that aim to enhance and increase law enforcement responses to people in this population. The program facilitates communication, collaboration, and the delivery of support services among justice professionals and treatment and related service providers.

Applications are due by June 25

Register for informational webinar on May 16:  
As Meth Use Surges, First Responders Struggle To Help Those In Crisis

Amelia and her roommate had been awake for two days straight. They decided to spray-paint the bathroom hot pink. After that, they laid into building and rebuilding the pens for the nine pit bull puppies they were raising in their two-bedroom apartment.

Then the itching started. It felt like pinpricks under the skin of her hands. Amelia was convinced she had scabies, skin lice. She spent hours in front of the mirror checking her skin and picking at her face. She even got a health team to come test the apartment. All they found were a few dust mites.

"At first, with meth, I remember thinking, 'What's the big deal?' " says Amelia, who asked that we not reveal her last name to protect her family's privacy. "But when you look at how crazy things got, everything was so out of control. Clearly, it is a big deal."

While public health officials have focused on the opioid epidemic in recent years, another epidemic has been brewing quietly, but vigorously, behind the scenes. Read more here.
Saving the Teeth of Patients With Special Needs

Amid Opioid Crisis, Walgreens Adds Mental Health Training For Pharmacists

Walgreens plans to increase mental health and substance abuse training for hundreds of pharmacists and staff at its drugstores amid the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Walgreens has partnered with the National Council for Behavioral Health and the American Pharmacists Association to make training available to Walgreens pharmacy staffers in 
"mental health first aid,"  which those involved say will help assist patients suffering from mental health conditions or substance abuse. Read more here.

Key Transitions: Supporting the Behavioral Health of Women Veterans
May 7, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Blurred Lines: The Convergence of Gaming and Gambling
May 8, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

Using PSYCKES Recipient Search
May 9, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

National & State Behavioral Health Systems: Changes On The Horizon
May 14, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
May 14, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

Best Practices in Reentry: The Assess, Plan, Identify, Coordinate (APIC) Model
May 22, 12:30 - 2 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Considerations for Service Provision to Young Adults Early in Their Recovery
May 22, 1 - 2 pm, Transitions ACR

Addressing Medication Complexity Through Innovative Community-Based Strategies and Partnerships
May 22, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.

PSYCKES Access and Implementation
May 23, 12 - 1 pm, OMH

Giving Mental Illness A Voice: Patient Perspectives On Self-Disclosure & Stigma
May 23, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
May 29, 10 - 11 am, OMH


MAY 2019

CLMHD BH Portal Webinar: Other Resources - County Health Rankings
May 8: 12 - 12:30 pm, GTM

AOT Coordinators Call
May 10: 10 am, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
May 21: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD BH Portal Webinar: Other Resources - OMH Statistics and Reports (1 of 2)
May 22: 12 - 12:30 pm, GTM

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
May 23: 1 - 3 pm, GTM

CLMHD Offices Closed - Memorial Day
May 27

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
CLMHD Holds Annual Spring Full Membership Meeting in Saratoga

The Conference recently held its Annual Spring Full Membership Meeting on April 29 - 30, 2019. Directors of Community Services (DCSs) from across the state convened in Saratoga Springs to network and exchange ideas and best practices with their colleagues.

On Monday morning, Beth Alter, LCSW, Director of Behavioral Health Diversion Services at Dutchess County Dept of Behavioral and Community Health, provided an update on the county's Stabilization Center, now approaching its third year of operation. The presentation included details about financing, utilization rates and plans for sustainability.  Ann Marie Csorny, LCSW-R, DCS for Suffolk County then presented on the county's new Diagnostic, Assessment and Stabilization Hub, which opened in early March 2019. Members learned the full story of how this program came to be, from conceptualization to implementation, and the challenges and successes experienced along the way.

Ann Marie Csorny, LCSW-R, presents to membership on Suffolk County's new Diagnostic, Assessment and Stabilization Hub (DASH).

Next, m embers heard from DCSs of the five counties which  were awarded grant funding last year  to establish or expand programs that divert adults with a serious mental illness (SMI) or a co-occurring disorder (COD) from the criminal justice system to community-based services prior to arrest and booking. Each DCS  presented the design of their project to address the specific county needs and how the project is integrated into their local resources and builds on the collaborations that already exist in the county. 
Dave Putney, MS CRC LMHC, presents on Monroe County's SMI Diversion Grant project.

On Tuesday, representatives from pharmaceutical manufacturer, Indivior, presented detailed information about SUBLOCADE , a recently approved injectable form of Buprenorphine, a 
medication assisted treatment The day ended
with presentations from representatives of the three state disability agencies.  Many thanks to Sean M. Byrne, Executive Deputy Commissioner,
NYS OASAS; Commissioner Dr. Theodore Kastner, NYS OPWDD; and Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan, NYS OMH, for their participation.

Dr. Theodore Kastner, OPWDD Commissioner, speaks to CLMHD membership.
House Lawmakers Want to Cut DEA Waivers for Buprenorphine Prescriptions

House lawmakers are trying to eliminate a waiver requirement that clinicians must clear before they can prescribe buprenorphine to patients for opioid addiction.

Under current law and regulations, clinicians need to apply for a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to  prescribe the medication-assisted treatment for addiction even though they can readily prescribe it for pain. Several state health departments have asked for federal intervention as they continue to see residents die as a result of the opioid epidemic. Read more here.
Opioid Workforce Bill Reintroduced in Congress

A bipartisan group of House members has reintroduced the Opioid Workforce Act, the Greater New York  Hospital Association said Wednesday.

The bill would fund 1,000 additional residency positions in hospitals with residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry or pain management, the association said.

GNYHA-which supports the bill-has worked with the Association of American Medical Colleges and congressional leaders to craft the legislation. Read more here.
President Signs Minibus Reauthorizing Coordinated Care Programs Important to Counties

On April 18, President Trump signed the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act ( P.L. 116-16), a legislative package containing provisions to improve care coordination in the Medicaid program. The "minibus" collection of bills reauthorizes the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Medicaid demonstration program through September 30, 2019, delivers a $20 million boost to the program and creates a state Medicaid option to provide coordinated care through health homes for children with complex medical conditions. 

Both the MFP demonstration and the new Medicaid health home option help fulfill counties' mission of providing a continuum of care to residents. The MFP program, first authorized in 2005, enhances federal support for state Medicaid programs transitioning nursing home residents back into community-based settings. Since it was first enacted, MFP has enabled 43 states and the District of Columbia to develop the infrastructure to help older adults and people with disabilities live in the settings of their choice, while achieving lower institutional admission rates and cost savings to the Medicaid program.

Meanwhile, the bill's creation of the state Medicaid option for children's health homes is expected to offer a central point for children's health care delivery, including a full range of primary care, behavioral health and outpatient services. Read more here.
HealtheConnections, HealthlinkNY Officially Merge Into Single HIE

Two New York regional health information exchanges (HIEs) have  officially merged to form HealtheConnections, which will connect providers throughout central and northern New York, as well as the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley regions.

Regional health information exchange organizations (RHIOs) HealthlinkNY and HealtheConnections initiated the merger in September 2018 after announcing a strategic partnership. Both entities decided a merger would improve their ability to achieve regional health data exchange goals and better meet the needs of patients and providers across their combined regions. Read more here.
$600 Million Available for Rural Broadband

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced it will begin accepting the first round of applications for the Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program).

Last year, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural parts of the country.

USDA is now making up to $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations and $200 million in low-interest loans available. 

Those who may apply include counties, internet service providers, rural electric co-ops and telecom companies. Applicants can visit to apply.  Read more here.

4 Market Realities Hindering A Telehealth Future

Telehealth and virtual care have great potential to improve the outcomes and the savings for health and human service systems, but adoption is low-approximately 44% of hospital executives say their organizations are not offering services via telemedicine. And, a recent study of Medicare psychiatrists found only five percent are providing telehealth services. On the flip side, consumer utilization is very low. A recent claims analysis of commercial health insurance and Medicare Advantage claims found telehealth visit utilization of 6.57 visits per year per 1,000 members. If you assume two telehealth visits per year per member, this puts consumer utilization at a third of one percent of the insured population.

The number shouldn't be that low. A large part of today's consumer base (read: millennials) say they want telehealth-60% of millennials (or 49 million consumers) support the use of telehealth in place of in-office visits. And, many payers are on board-Medicaid fee-for-service programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia provide coverage and reimbursement for some type of live video telemental health service; Medicare is preparing to cover virtual check ins (brief communication technology-based services), and remote evaluation of "store and forward" recorded videos; and the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) model will now allow participating Medicare Advantage plans to offer telehealth services if an in-person option remains.

Finally, the savings are too large to ignore. The Rural Broadband Association found that the potential savings for telehealth are huge-with $4.3 billion in annual savings for the field as a whole. Telehealth can also save hospitals in rural parts of the country an average of $81,000 annually, while saving consumers $24,000 in travel costs and $17,000 in lost wages. So, why is adoption still so low? 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.