Cover image 3
July 2, 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
Connect With Us:
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn
Francine Sinkoff, Editor

Molina buys small New York Medicaid plan, executing on its strategy

Capital Region's "safety net" hospitals to share millions in federal funds

CDPHP, Valera Health Expand Tele-Mental Health Services to Support Members in Need - Capital Region

EmblemHealth Telehealth Study Reveals Technology Disparities Correlate with Health Disparities - NYC, Mid-Hudson

New York City plans to end solitary confinement in jails

Nurses and patient advocates hold speak out and press conference to Save NY Psych Services - Mid-Hudson, Long Island, NYC

ACR Health to limit services, furlough staff througout CNY

Addiction has been winning during lockdown - Niagara

A new baseball league is coming to Western New York
'Not Alone': Mental Health Experts Help Patients Cope  After COVID-19
Lisa Penziner runs a Zoom videoconferencing support group
Mental health experts are exploring the use of virtual support groups and other resources to help recovering COVID-19 patients who are grappling with anxiety and depression as a result of their illness.

Many of those patients are feeling stressed and isolated as they deal with lingering physical effects of the disease, such as fatigue and shortness of breath.

"Some people have been removed from the ability to meet their common human needs - socialization, meaningful work, getting together with family," said Dr. William Sanderson, a psychologist and director of the Anxiety & Depression Clinic at Hofstra University, which offers a two-session consultation for people suffering from pandemic-related psychological distress. "Every time you block people meeting their needs, it results in emotional distress." Read more here.
Purdue Pharma To Fund Harm Reduction Therapeutics' Development Of OTC Opioid Overdose Reversal Medication

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Pear, Shatterproof join forces on new addiction focused DTx coalition

White House veteran suicide prevention task force releases new roadmap with focus on intergovernmental, community partnerships

When Covid-19 hits the brain, it can cause strokes, psychosis and a dementia-like syndrome, new survey shows

Therapy May Beat Meds for Some Young People with Early Psychosis

New Analysis of fMRI Data May Hone Schizophrenia Treatment

The Abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Center: A Visual Journey After Deinstitutionalization
Court Case Processing Learning Collaborative: Improving Caseflow Management for Defendants with Behavioral Health Needs

The Council of State Governments Justice Center, along with the National Center for State Courts, is hosting a virtual learning collaborative consisting of three sessions about how to improve criminal case processing for defendants with behavioral health needs. The sessions will focus on how COVID-19 affects caseflow processing, innovations for processing cases involving defendants with behavioral health needs during the pandemic, and strategies for "building back better" as jurisdictions are beginning to resume full court operations and address backlogs. The sessions are designed to be interactive and collaborative and provide an opportunity for peer learning. This learning collaborative is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The virtual learning collaborative will include teams from jurisdictions throughout the country. To be eligible for participation, each team must include at least one of each of the following participants:
  • Judge
  • Court administrator
  • Jail/corrections staff member
  • Prosecutor
  • Defense attorney
  • Behavioral health provider representative
Please apply by July 15, 2020, for the opportunity to participate in this learning collaborative. More information can be found here.

Connecting People Who Have Serious Mental Illnesses to Care: Telehealth and Other Strategies
July 7, 2 - 3:30 pm, Stepping Up Initiative

Using PSYCKES from Home
July 8, 1 - 2 pm, OMH 

July 8, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC 

July 9, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Law Enforcement Responses to People with Opioid Use Disorders
July 9, 3 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

From Hardship to Hope: A Peer Support Group for Financial Wellness
July 9 - August 13, 4:15 - 6:15 pm, Academy for Peer Services

Advocacy Series, Session II: Updates on Federal SUD FundingJuly 10, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

July 14, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Using PSYCKES Recipient Search
July 15, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

Social Class Bias and the Negative Impact on Treatment Outcomes
July 15, 3 - 5 pm, NAADAC

Integrated Mental Health and Physical Health Mobile Crisis Response
July 22, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 22, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

Enable Access to Client-Level Data in PSYCKES
July 23, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

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

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

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 18, 1 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


JULY 2020
CLMHD Office Closed - Independence Day
July 3

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
July 9: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
July 9: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
July 14: 1 - 3 pm, GTM

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

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Greene County Sheriff Announces New Opioid Program
Sheriff says there will be overdose followups
The Greene County Sheriff's Office announced it is launching a new overdose response program.

"The Greene County Sheriff's Office is proud to announce a new program we have developed in partnership with several other community based agencies," according to the announcement.

The program, called the Impacted Citizen's Program, was created in collaboration with several other community organizations such as the Greene County Mobile Crisis Assessment Team, the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties and the Columbia-Greene Addiction Coalition.

"A Greene County Sheriff's Office member will be following up on all overdoses in the county within 24-48 hours and offering to be a conduit to support services such as mental health, rehabilitation or counseling for both the subject that overdosed as well as affected family and friends," according to the announcement. Read more here.
Iso: The New Synthetic Opioid That Is Causing Overdose Deaths

An addictive drug that - like  fentanyl  - is much more powerful than morphine is causing an increasing amount of overdose deaths across the United States.

Isotonitazene, commonly referred to as "iso," is a synthetic version of etonitazene, an opioid that's been around since 1957.

One  report says the drug is causing about 40 to 50 deaths a month in the United States. That's up from about six per month last summer.

"Etonitazene is 1,000 times more powerful than morphine,"  Dr. Yili Huang, the director of the pain management center at Northwell Health's Phelps Hospital in New York, told Healthline. "Although isotonitazene is less potent than etonitazene that it's derived from, it's still more potent than fentanyl." Read more here.
Strengthening Access to Care for Opioid Use Disorder Patients During the COVID-19 National Public Health Emergency: Recovery Support Services

The Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts provides grants to support projects designed to strengthen access to evidence-based opioid use disorder recovery services for vulnerable and high-risk populations during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Applicants may apply for a small grant of up to $25,000, or a larger grant of up to $75,000.  The project period is 1 year and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Funding will target projects that can provide recovery support services in the context of social distancing and infection control, including promotion of remote, digital, and virtual forms of recovery support to reach vulnerable and broader populations.

Click here for more details about this funding opportunity.
With COVID-19 Pandemic Making Access to Addiction Treatment Services More Challenging, New Free Online Addiction Treatment Needs Assessment Available

Shatterproof, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and OpenBeds, an Appriss Health company, announced the launch of a new online Addiction Treatment Needs Assessment. The online resource features a set of consumer-friendly, expert-developed questions to assess the needs of a person with addiction and produce guidance on the type of treatment that is most appropriate for them. The free resource is available nationwide and comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated an already fragmented addiction treatment system in the U.S.

The thirteen-question assessment will be available on, an OpenBeds solution, and for individuals or their loved ones to complete. It will be embedded within ATLAS, a new addiction treatment locator, analysis and standards website that will be available later this year. It is embedded at the OpenBeds Treatment Connection locator, a free portal which enables those seeking behavioral health treatment for themselves or others, to anonymously search for nearby providers, evaluate the type of care needed, and submit confidential online referral inquiries to appropriate treatment providers vetted by the state. Read more here.
This Minority Mental Health Month, NAMI is Raising Awareness About Mental Health in Underrepresented Communities

NAMI , the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has the goal of raising awareness about mental health care in underrepresented communities. Our culture, beliefs, sexual identity, values, race and language all affect how we perceive and experience mental health conditions. In fact, cultural differences can influence what treatments, coping mechanisms and supports work for us. It is essential for culture and identity to be a part of the conversation about mental health care.

 In 2008, July was designated as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by the U.S. House of Representatives in honor of the leading African American novelist and journalist, who sought to eliminate stigma among diverse communities.
In the wake of both the pandemic and racial violence, there's the potential for an increase in the number of people impacted by mental health conditions. NAMI's Statement on Racism emphasizes that the effect of racism and racial trauma on mental health is real. While anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background, facing racial discrimination can significantly worsen symptoms.  Additionally, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. Racism is a public health crisis, and we stand with all the families, friends and communities who have lost loved ones and experienced trauma. Read more here.
New UHF Framework Addresses Health and Housing Partnerships in New York City

United Hospital Fund last week released a framework for developing community-wide partnerships between health care, housing, homeless services providers, and policymakers to help address New York City's housing and homelessness crisis and its impact on health outcomes.

The work described in the report was completed before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only added to the urgency of the existing housing crisis. Like the pandemic, the housing crisis is most burdensome for people of color, individuals who are living in crowded housing, and the homeless.

Even before the pandemic, a record-setting 132,660 people used the city's homeless shelter system in 2019, according to the Coalition for the Homeless, and more than a quarter of city residents face a severe rent burden. Since 2009, the city's population grew by 500,000, but only 100,000 new housing units came to market. Read more here.
HMA Summarizes GAO 50-State Medicaid Survey on Federal Policy Challenges

This week HMA summarizes the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Medicaid report, State Views on Program Administration Challenges, released earlier this year. GAO conducted interviews with Medicaid officials from 50 states and the District of Columbia to identify challenges related to federal Medicaid policies.

The areas posing the most challenges were coverage exclusions and care coordination; covered benefits and eligibility; Medicare-Medicaid alignment; and payment methods. HMA acknowledges that since the report was published on April 30, 2020, it does not reflect current COVID-19 policies. Read more here.
4 Ways Payers Can Invest In Mental and Behavioral Healthcare

Recent  investments  from WellCare of New Jersey, a Centene subsidiary, demonstrate four ways that payers can dedicate resources toward mental and behavioral healthcare, including investing in provider and public training programs, call centers, and hotlines.

First, WellCare of New Jersey is funding trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy training programs. The program will inform cohorts of providers-in New Jersey and across the nation-how best to support frontline workers and those emotionally affected by the pandemic. Allegheny Health Network and the CARES Institute at Rowan University have partnered with WellCare of New Jersey to offer this training.

Warmlines-as opposed to hotlines-are another form of emotional support for those who are in the early stages of a mental health crisis or are believed to be at risk. These call lines tend to be staffed by peers who have experience with mental health conditions. Read more here.

What To Say When You Want More
For provider organization executives looking at recovery planning, "top of the list" is different relationships with payers. In most of my discussions, higher rates, less administrative costs, standardized performance measurement, and sharing in savings are the key talking points. The question-how do you get to that new kind of relationship? The health plan executives at The 2020 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute had an answer-  reach out to health plan managers and let them know both what you can do and what you want.

Alexsis Desrochers, vice president of value-based programs at Magellan Complete Care; and Neha Patel, director of care delivery transformation, southeast region at Anthem, Inc., provided some very useful perspectives on what health plans are looking for, and how they evaluate provider organization partnerships. Magellan Complete Care is focused on whole person care (physical, behavioral, and social needs), and is present in six markets-Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and Wisconsin. They have a range of value-based reimbursement (VBR) arrangements with their network provider organizations on the physical health side, and their behavioral health-centered VBR programs are still in negotiation. 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.