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October 2, 2020
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Advancing Public Policies for people with Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorder and/or Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
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Francine Sinkoff, Editor

St. Lawrence County legislators hear proposals for methadone clinic

Lt. Gov. Tours New Supportive Housing Development In Albany

Beth Israel opioid program to shutter after audit as concern grows over fate of others - NYC

Trauma Therapy Center To Open In Harlem Amid Violence Uptick - NYC

NYC homeless services cops will be pulled from 40 single adult shelters in money-saving move

Ulster exec hopes to rally support to keep mental-health treatment in Kingston

County Executive Adam Bello Announces Monroe County's First Ever Addiction Services Director

Monroe Co. sees slight drop in overdose deaths in 2019

Task force, meetings to focus on police reform - Niagara
New Study Aims to Reduce Overdoses in Cortland County (RADIO INTERVIEW)

An in-depth discussion about the HEALing Communities Study (HCS), a new federally-funded program aimed at reducing opioid overdose deaths in the nation's most highly affected communities. The ultimate goal is to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by 40% over the course of three years. Cortland County is one of just 16 in NY and 64 across four states (Ohio, Massachusetts and Kentucky) to be selected for the study.

Featured in a recent radio segment were four individuals representing various area organizations.
  • Sara Watrous is the project director for the study and also serves with the Cortland Area Communities That Care (CACTC).
  • Dean O'Gorman lost his son to an overdose in 2017, leading him to establish a local parent grief support.
  • Teresa Van Heusen is clinical program director at the mental health department and has worked in the county for the past 21 years in the human service field.
  • Alex Mikowski is the project director for the Center of Treatment Innovation (COTI) program.
Launched by the National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the study is being done in two waves. The first began in January 2020 and the second - which Cortland is in - will begin in January 2022.

Click here to listen to last Saturday's Meet Cortland County segment.

Why OTPs Need To Stay In The Mix: The Shatterproof Yelp-like Pilot

When Shatterproof launched its new ATLAS (Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform) project, funded largely by insurance companies, as a pilot in six states, opioid treatment programs (OTPs) of New York State said yes, they want to participate.
The reason is not because OTPs are interested in having disgruntled patients post complaints in a public site, identifying programs by name, but rather because participating is an opportunity for programs to be included with the full continuum of what is traditionally considered "mainstream" addiction treatment. 

In other words, not participating would be a lost opportunity. 

Allegra Schorr, President of the Coalition of Medication Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates (COMPA), said that the goal of the ATLAS project, which includes all substance use treatment providers interested in participating, is to create an online platform that is accessible to consumers. For prospective patients, the project means they can put their insurance information and other parameters into the website and find out which projects work best for them. Schorr is on the advisory board of Shatterproof for New York State, and was invited to present on the program at the American Society for Addiction Medicine conference which was to have been held last spring in Colorado (but was held virtually due to the pandemic). Read more here.
Military suicides up as much as 20% in COVID era

Studies Illustrate Rise in Alcohol, Illicit Substance Use During Pandemic

Patients With Psych Disorders at Elevated Risk of COVID-19 Death

Poor Mental Health For Executives Isn't Just A Work-Life Balance Issue

McGraw Hill Teams with The Jed Foundation to Support Student Mental Health and Wellbeing

Reentry for Citizens Needing Substance Use Disorder Treatment
October 7, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Using the PSYCKES Clinical Summary
October 8, 11 - 12:30 pm, OMH

Integration Of Behavioral Health Care & Primary Health Care: The Past, The Present & The Future
October 8, 3 - 4 pm, PsychU

Consent, Emergency, Quality Flag: PSYCKES Levels of Access
October 10, 10 - 11 am, OMH

Understanding and Preventing Suicides: An Application of the Self Preservation Theory of Human Behavior
October 14, 12 - 1 pm, The 2020 Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy 

Rise of Methamphetamine: New Risks, Current Treatments
October 14, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

PSYCKES for Health Homes and Care Management Agencies (New!)
October 15, 9:30 - 11 am, OMH

Telehealth Considerations and Strategies for Special and Vulnerable Populations
October 15, 2 - 3 pm, Corporation for Supportive Housing

PSYCKES for BHCCs and other Networks (New!)
October 21, 12 - 1 pm, OMH

Introduction to PSYCKES
October 28, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

Understanding Social Determinants of Health
November 5, 2 - 3 pm, Corporation for Supportive Housing



CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting
October 7: 8 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
October 8: 1:30 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
October 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Fall Full Membership Business Meeting
October 20: 1:30 - 4:30 pm, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
October 29: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Rensselaer County Wins National Award for Innovative 'ER Anywhere' Program
From L: Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin and NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) last week honored Rensselaer County for its recent national award for the "ER Anywhere" program they launched last year. The competitive 2020 County Achievement Award honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. It is awarded each year by the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The ER Anywhere program, launched in early October of 2019 by Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, is a public-private partnership designed to harness the benefits of telehealth to improve the quality and accessibility of health care for Medicaid patients in Rensselaer County while reducing unnecessary emergency room visits. Read more here.
$20 Billion in New Phase 3 Provider Relief Funding Announced

On Thursday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments.

Providers can begin applying for funds on Monday, October 5, 2020. Read more here.
Young Gangs of Poughkeepsie: How Trauma is Leading to More Violence

Just after 6 pm on a Monday, a 15-year-old was shot in the head while walking his bike along a sidewalk. It's unclear why the Poughkeepsie High School student was killed, just as it was unknown why a 16-year-old was shot and killed late one Saturday night in June after his 16-year-old companion was stabbed in the back.

The attacks were not random. The victims in recent shootings, city police say, were targeted. Regardless, such violence is inevitably traumatic. And trauma, experts say, begets trauma.

"This violent act," Karmen Smallwood, Dutchess County's assistant commissioner for youth services, said of 15-year-old Jalani Jones' killing last week, "is going to face us for generations to come if we don't nip it in the bud."

A year ago, city police said violent crime was on the rise among school-aged offenders in response to a "vacuum" that was created when more than 30 gang members were taken off the street in a sweeping indictment. In the 12 months since, the city has seen a rash of violence involving victims or suspects who are, in some cases, too young to legally smoke. This, experts say, has become a trend across the country in recent years, as teens and preteens, especially those who feel alone or under stress, often look for a group with which to identify. Read more here.

In Sept. ­­­­24, 2020 the Westchester County Department of Correction (WCDOC) opened a newly designed special housing unit to support residents suffering from significant psychiatric impairment, who require intensive evaluation and treatment within a specialized mental health setting. The purpose of the new Acute Mental Health Unit (A.M.H.U.) is to help inmates with mental health concerns and co-occurring disorders begin a path towards recovery using a range of clinical supports and services. Some residents require intensive supports to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the corrections personnel in the facility, and the A.M.H.U. will promote both safety and recovery.
In recent years, working closely with their resident health care provider, Wellpath, the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) and other strategic partners, WCDOC has launched many new initiatives to treat residents suffering from serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders. In 2017, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care recognized their groundbreaking mental health reentry program as its National Mental Health Program of the year. Read more here.
New SAMHSA App Will Help People Who Have Serious Mental Illness to Develop a Crisis Plan

On Thursday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a new mobile app, My Mental Health Crisis Plan, which allows individuals who have serious mental illness (SMI) to create a plan to guide their treatment during a mental health crisis. The app was developed through SMI Adviser, a project funded by SAMHSA and administered by the American Psychiatric Association. 

The app provides an easy, step-by-step process for individuals to create and share a psychiatric advance directive (PAD). A PAD is a legal document that includes a list of instructions and preferences that the individual wishes to be followed in case of a mental health crisis, should they not be able to make their own decisions. Read more here.
The Drug Became His Friend': Pandemic Drives Hike in Opioid Overdoses
Family and friends mourned Jefrey Scott Cameron, who died of an accidental overdose earlier this year, in Barre, Vt.
On the first Friday in June, Jefrey Cameron, 29, left his home around midnight to buy heroin. He had been struggling with addiction for seven years but had seemingly turned a corner, holding down a job that he loved at Basil's Pizzeria, driving his teenage sister to the mall to go shopping and sharing a home with his grandmother. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

When he returned home that night and tried the product, it was so potent that he fell and hit his head in the bathroom. Mr. Cameron texted a friend soon after, saying that he had messed up and would go to a 12-step meeting with a friend that weekend.

"I promise I'm good and I can't get in any more trouble tonight," he wrote. "Sweet dreams, if you wake up before you hear from me definitely call me. The sooner I get up and into town the better." When Mr. Cameron woke up, he used the rest of the powder - largely fentanyl, not heroin, his family would later learn - from a small bag with a bunny stamped on it. Less than five hours after he sent the text, his grandmother found him dead. Read more here.
Stepping Up Announces Set, Measure, Achieve: A Nationwide Call to Action for Counties to Reduce Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System

The Stepping Up initiative this week announced Set, Measure, Achieve, a national call to action for counties to publicly commit to goals that demonstrate reduced prevalence of mental illness in local justice systems. Stepping Up is asking participating counties to set tangible targets, measure their progress, and achieve results.

To participate in Set, Measure, Achieve, counties that have successfully established baseline data are encouraged to identify and publicly commit to one or more of the following minimum prevalence reduction targets for their jail population with SMI:
  • 5 percent annual reduction in average daily jail population
  • 10 percent annual reduction in jail bookings
  • 5 percent annual reduction in average length of jail stay
  • 10 percent annual increase in post-release connections to care
  • 5 percent annual reduction in recidivism
Read more here.
What Metrics Matter? The Ones That Drive Decisions

I've spent the past week in meetings with management teams talking about how much data they have-to the point my eyes have glazed over. But having lots of data is very different than having the right data-and acting on it. And, executive teams that are not using data to make decisions will see their path to sustainability start to narrow. Recent developments illustrate the payer move to metrics.

On September 16, 2020, the National Quality Forum released four updated core measure sets in the Core Quality Measures Collaborative (CQMC)-for gastroenterology, HIV and Hepatitis C, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics (see CQMC Core Sets). In coming months, the CQMC will release additional core measures updates, as well as two new core sets covering behavioral health and neurology. The Core Measures are an attempt by the Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), commercial health plans, physician groups, and other stakeholders to simplify and standardize the reporting of quality measures used to determine value-based payments by CMS. The measures encourage payers to look at quality performance on childhood immunizations, preventive care screenings for clinical depression, asthma medication ratios, and other metrics. 
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.