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March 27, 2020
Advancing Puglic Policies for people with Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorder and/or Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
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Francine Sinkoff, Editor

Behavioral health services still available - Clinton

Anxiety high at foster care and behavioral health facilities as virus spreads - Capital Region

Addiction Treatment Centers Make Adjustments During COVID-19 Pandemic - Capital Region

Saratoga County, Saratoga Hospital host Facebook Live COVID-19 discussion

County works to establish mental health hotline as coronavirus fears affect community - Oneida

Here are some addiction services still available during COVID-19 pandemic - Onondaga

Oswego County Offers Mental Health Services

NY Health Centers Say $5M for Covid-19 Response is 'Insufficient'

New York community health centers will receive $5.2 million in federal funds to  help them respond  to the pandemic in an aid package that several health networks said wasn't commensurate with the role clinics will play in the crisis.

The funding was part of $100 million that the Department of Health and Human Services set aside for health centers in a broader $8.3 billion aid package.
The federally qualified health centers treat poor and uninsured New Yorkers and are seeing patients turn up in their offices with Covid-19.

"The $100 million is so insufficient given clinical, administrative and financial pressure on all community health centers," said James Sinkoff, the chief financial officer of Hudson River Healthcare, a network of health centers with 43 locations in New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley. "New York community health centers are under tremendous strain at this time." Read more here.

NYS Mental Health Groups Launch Campaign to Reach Out to New Yorkers During the Virus Crisis

The Coalition for Behavioral Health and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) announced the launching of the Strive for Five Challenge to encourage all New Yorkers to reach out, connect and comfort each other while we all work our way through the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing.

The challenge is simple: individuals find 5 people in their life who they will check-in during each of the next 30-days.

New Yorkers always step forward in a crisis and there has never been a more critical time, as Governor Cuomo emphasized this morning, to reach out and look after each other's mental health. As movement is increasingly restricted, the importance of virtual check-ins grows more important each day. Read more here.

Planning to Prevent Relapse? A New Tool Can Help

Social Distancing 'Not Possible' For People With Disabilities, Raising Challenges

In an era of quarantine, crisis hotlines face growing - and urgent - demand

Business Booms for Digital Behavioral Health Companies Amid COVID-19

JAMA: Factors Associated With Mental Health Outcomes Among Health Care Workers Exposed to Coronavirus Disease 2019

'Isolation is a big trigger': Feelings of suicide are amplified amid a pandemic

Alcohol use disorder significantly increases suicide risk

Low Socioeconomic Status Precipitates Psychiatric Disorders in Later Life
Funding Opportunity: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
RHIhub logo
Funding for states, tribes, and local governments to plan, implement, or expand a criminal justice and mental health collaboration program. The program supports officer and public safety and violence reduction through social service and other partnerships that will enhance and increase law enforcement responses to people with mental illness and co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse.

Click here to review full RFP.

Integrating Peer Support to Expand the Workforce for Individuals with Behavioral Health Challenges - Part 1
March 30, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Supporting Older Adults Part 1: Honoring their Strengths
March 30, 3 - 4:30 pm, Academy of Peer Services

Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) 101 for Prescribers
March 31, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

What's Next? The Value of Evidence from the Camden Coalition and CareMore Health to Inform Complex Care Program Design
March 31, 1 - 2:30 pm, National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs

Peer Services: Peer Providers Offer Understanding, Respect, Mutual Empowerment, and Support to Others Through Use of Their Personal Experiences
March 31, 1 - 2:30 pm, Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network

Addressing Youth Substance Use at the County Level Through Policy and Practice
March 31, 3 - 4 pm, National Association of Counties

April 7, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

April 7, 1 - 2:30 pm, Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network

Connecting the Continuum: How Prevention & Recovery Models Fit Together
April 8, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

Peer Recovery Support Series, Section II: Hiring, Onboarding, and Integration
April 10, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

A Framework for Performance Measurement in Mental Health Crisis Services Webinar
April 14, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Peer Recovery Support Series, Section III: Understanding the Pathway and the Process
April 15, 3 - 5 pm, NAADAC

Opioids and Child Maltreatment: Neighborhood Factors To Protect Families
April 16, 1 - 2 pm, Child Maltreatment National Peer Learning Team

April 20, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Integrating Peer Support to Expand the Workforce for Individuals with Behavioral Health Challenges - Part 2
April 20, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Fostering Partnerships and Collaborations across the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM)
April 30, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


APRIL 2020

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
April 7: 1 - 3 pm, GTM

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

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
COVID-19 - Links to Guidance and Updates

State agencies have been posting updates to COVID-19 resources quite frequently. To ensure you have access to the most up to date information, below are links to areas on State Agency websites where COVID-19 information and resources are housed. Be sure to check these sites on a regular basis to keep informed.

CMS Announces Relief for Clinicians, Providers, Hospitals and Facilities Participating in Quality Reporting Programs in Response to COVID-19

On Monday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced unprecedented relief for the clinicians, providers, and facilities participating in Medicare quality reporting programs including the 1.2 million clinicians in the Quality Payment Program and on the front lines of America's fight against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Specifically, CMS announced it is granting exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for clinicians and providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs with respect to upcoming measure reporting and data submission for those programs.  The action comes as part of the Trump Administration's response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Read more here.

Mental Health Needs Expected to Rise Due to COVID-19 
Patients wait in line outside an urgent care pharmacy while wearing personal protective equipment in Queens.
News about COVID-19 in New York is bleak. A rising number of cases and deaths, financial havoc, social isolation and uncertainty have made many residents feel understandably anxious during this time.

Soon, that could become a public health crisis of its own. Experts around the country have already begun to see spiking anxiety and other forms of emotional distress and they are bracing for increased mental health problems.

In New York, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, those mental health problems will likely be particularly acute. Read more here.
More Than 6,000 Mental Health Professionals Volunteer For NYS Hotline

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that 40,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state's surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, plus 6,175 mental health professionals who will provide free online mental health services.

"We've talked about the emotional stress that this brings on people and the mental health stress and the mental challenges," Cuomo said. "No one is really talking about this. We are all concerned about the immediate critical need. The life and death of the immediate situation which is right. But don't underestimate the emotional trauma that people are feeling and the emotional health issues."

The mental health professionals agreed to volunteer their time and expertise for the hotline at absolutely no charge to callers. New Yorkers can call the state's hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment. Read more here.
Amid COVID-19, a New Push for Telehealth to Treat Opioid Use Disorder

The medical community has been working to provide accessible treatment for opioid use disorder to those who are in hard to reach areas, particularly in rural America. Telehealth, or the use of videoconferencing, texting and mobile apps are all being used to aid in recovery.

But as COVID-19 sweeps across the U.S., closing businesses and schools and forcing many to stay home, telehealth treatment for substance abuse may now be more critical than ever.

With many  "shelter in place" rules in effect, the nonprofit Hazelden Betty Ford is rushing to make sure its patients still have access to the care they need. The organization, located in Minnesota, is the largest in the U.S. specializing in substance use disorders. Read more here.

Experts Fear Coronavirus Crisis Putting Those Recovering From Addictions at Risk

After 40 years of sobriety, Roy Kearse of Amityville no longer worries about relapsing into the black hole of heroin addiction that once landed him in prison and nearly cost him his life.

But for those still grappling with their recovery - and who rely heavily on the structure of in-person meetings and group sessions - the forced isolation sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is a nightmare scenario that some experts fear could lead to a public health crisis.

"People are afraid," said Kearse, who serves as vice president of recovery at Samaritan Daytop Village, a Queens-based drug treatment center. "During times of crisis we always have to worry about people relapsing ... So will some people fall through the cracks? Probably so. And will some people relapse? Probably so." Read more here.

Additional articles of interest: 

GOVERNING: Coronavirus Response Resources Guide for Government Leaders

The novel coronavirus has tested the durability of federal, state and local governments around the country and the world. This list of resources is meant to connect leaders with useful tools to aid in response efforts.
COVID-19 Regulatory Changes Let Behavioral Providers Remotely Prescribe Meds, Use Tablets for Telehealth

The Trump administration continues to loosen health care regulations in an attempt to better equip providers to deal with COVID-19.

For the behavioral health industry, the newfound flexibilities make it much easier for providers to deliver comprehensive telehealth services. Due to the crisis, the government is looking past certain HIPAA rules, allowing providers to deliver services in new ways, waiving some restrictions on medication administration and giving states more power to add additional flexibilities of their own.

With new rules coming out every day, it's likely providers will see even more regulatory relief down the line. Read more here.

UHS, Acadia, Other Behavioral Providers Share COVID-19 Response Plans

Behavioral health providers around the country are doing their best to meet the need for services while also mitigating the risks surrounding COVID-19.

For some, that means suspending visitation and leaning into telehealth, while for others it means taking things day-by-day and case-by-case.

Here's how the behavioral health industry is responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Universal Health Services
Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS) has suspended visitation at its inpatient behavioral health facilities, ramped up telehealth use, implemented mandatory entry screenings and increased cleaning efforts amid coronavirus concerns.

One of the nation's largest behavioral health providers, UHS has more than 328 inpatient behavioral health facilities and 42 outpatient facilities across the U.S. and the U.K. Read more here.

Care coordination is both a service line opportunity for specialty provider organizations and an essential ingredient for participating in integrated care systems. But payers and health plans aren't looking for the care coordination models of the past. Rather, they are pushing for integrated models that integrate management of health, pharmacy, behavioral health, and social supports.

Leading and/or participating in these integrated care coordination initiatives is a tall order for many specialty provider organizations. There is the need to bring clinical staff up to speed on new clinical domains, and the financial management infrastructure and expertise needed for value-based reimbursement. And, there is the data sharing issue. Interoperability just isn't where it needs to be for most specialty provider organizations to be competitive in care coordination-with many stranded data silos that prevent optimizing care coordination. 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.