cover image 4  
October 9, 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

St. Peter's, Ellis hospital systems agree to merger proposal - Capital Region

'Operation Red Dawn' takes down alleged massive Capital Region drug ring

Ulster officials concerned about rise in suicides

Ulster executive 'outraged' at HealthAlliance plan to permanently move behavioral health services out of county

START Treatment & Recovery Centers Collaborates with NYC DOHMH

Upstate opens new unit for teens facing mental health challenges but don't need the ER - Onondaga

Auburn neighborhood group discusses heroin issue - Cayuga

C.A.R.E. Rochester Aims to Cleanup Syringes, Tackle Addiction on North Clinton - Monroe
PODCAST: Suicide Rate Was Climbing, Even Before the Coronavirus Pandemic Began - Interview with Margaret Morse, Seneca County DCS

Suicide among teens and young adults is rising. But a new report shows that it was happening even before the Coronavirus Pandemic arrived.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a dramatic increase in the rate of suicide across the U.S. However, previous reports on this matter, like the Vital Signs edition from 2016, stopped short of evaluating the three year period including 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Between 2007 and 2017 the National Center for Health Statistics found that the suicide death rate among people ages 10-24 increased 57.4%. The newest report by the CDC extended that data-set another year. As a state, New York saw an increase of 43.9%, which left it in the middle of the pack - as far as the state-by-state breakdown was concerned.

For more answers, we caught up with Margaret Morse. She's the Director of Community Services in Seneca County. Read more here.
Citing a nationwide uptick in mental health and wellness needs among college students due to the impact of COVID-19, State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras on Sunday unveiled a plan to expand access to mental health services at SUNY's 64 campuses.

SUNY is partnering with Thriving Campus to provide every student from SUNY's colleges and universities with access to a network of more than 6,000 licensed mental health service providers, according to the announcement made with SUNY Chairman Merryl H. Tisch, and SUNY Trustees Marcos Crespo and Camille Joseph Varlack.

The mobile-friendly app, which is already utilized at two SUNY campuses, breaks down a number of crucial and often overlooked barriers that students frequently encounter in the process of reaching out for help. Read more here.

Collaborative Care Model Enhances Psychiatric Training in Rural Primary Care

How Often Do Cops Seek Mental Health Services?

COVID-19 disrupting mental health services in most countries, WHO survey

Autism shares brain structure changes with other psychiatric conditions

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

Outcomes-based Care Coordination for Justice-involved Individuals
October 15, 1 - 2:30 pm, OPEN MINDS

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

Consent, Emergency, Quality Flag: PSYCKES Levels of Access
October 20, 10 - 11 am, OMH

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

Should Police Respond to Mental Health Emergencies?
October 21, 12 - 1 pm, CCSI

Covid-19 Impact on Addiction Treatment: Survey Findings & Implications
October 22, 11 am - 12 pm, NAATP

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

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



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 
NYS Office Of Addiction Services and Supports and Office of Mental Health Announce Integration Listening Sessions

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced a series of public listening sessions on the potential creation of a new single integrated behavioral health agency.

Although OASAS and OMH have always collaborated well to serve New Yorkers, the creation of a unified behavioral health agency is being explored as a way to increase coordination of services and support people with both substance use disorders and mental illnesses. An integrated behavioral health agency could also help streamline service delivery and increase efficiency.

Stakeholders, including service recipients, healthcare providers and members of the public are invited to provide testimony that will be reviewed and utilized by the two agencies during future integration discussions. Four listening sessions have been scheduled. Read more here.
Governor Cuomo Announces Second Round of Funding to Expand Telepractice Capacity Across New York State

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced a second round of awards of more than $423,000 for the purchase and installation of equipment to deliver addiction telehealth services statewide. Expanded telepractice capacity ensures access to critical addiction services for individuals and families who may not otherwise seek out treatment. Funding for this initiative was provided through the federal State Opioid Response Grant and administered by OASAS via the Requests for Proposals process. More than $460,000 was awarded in the first round of this funding, bringing the total amount awarded to more than $883,000.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, telepractice services are being utilized as a safe means of keeping individuals and families engaged in addiction services and supports. OASAS has temporarily waived certain regulatory requirements for providing telepractice during the pandemic. Over 600 program sites across the state are authorized to deliver telepractice services through the use of telephone and video technology. Five hundred of these programs were rapidly approved via the emergency telepractice waiver and attestation process. Read more here.

A Unique IPA Centers on Social Determinants of Health

The Alliance for Better Health has an IPA of community-based organizations to address social determinants of health
More and more healthcare providers and payers are teaming up with ride-sharing companies, food pantries, and other community-based organizations to address one of the largest drivers of patient outcomes - social determinants of health.

Where a patient lives, what food she can afford, her education level, if she drives, and a host of other socioeconomic, behavioral, and environmental factors drive health outcomes, whereas, purely clinical care contributes to just 10 to 20 percent, according to commonly cited statistics.

As healthcare providers strive to reduce costs while improving quality of care, especially under risk-sharing contracts, they have realized the value of addressing these social determinants of health.

But developing, implementing, and notably, generating ROI on programs that target social determinants of health has been a major 
challenge for both providers and payers, leaving many to wonder if the programs will last long enough to improve care for patients.

"There are little pockets of these things happening, but they're happening in silos," explained Jacob Reider, MD, CEO of Alliance for Better Health, a regional network of organizations that provide social services to marginalized communities in New York. Read more here.

*The Conference is excited to host Dr. Jacob Reider for a special event for DCSs on November 12th!*
A New Film Looks at an Orchestra for People With Mental Illness

Ronald Braunstein was destined for a sterling career as a classical music conductor when it was abruptly derailed by mental illness. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Mr. Braunstein had made his debut at Lincoln Center at age 20 and three years later became the first American to win the prestigious Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition, the so-called Olympics of conducting.

The prize led to invitations to conduct major orchestras, and at first everything he did "turned to gold," he said. But it all came crashing to a halt when his emotional life crumbled.

As he recalls in "Orchestrating Change," an inspiring new documentary about his work with musicians living with mental illness, he realized as a young boy that something inside him was not right. "I would get very excited and then very, very sad," he said. But not until age 30, when a crippling emotional crisis led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, did he know what his problem was. Read more here.
Design Your Disaster Plan to Sustain Standards Amid COVID-19
The global impact of COVID-19 has required behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment center executives around the US to adapt quickly and recognize the importance of a robust disaster plan. These plans, when intelligently designed and implemented at a facility, provide the tools necessary to empower employees and management to navigate a multi-dimensional disaster response. This functionality, coupled with the enumerated requirements by state and local statutes and regulations and accreditation standards, create a complete picture of preparedness in the new COVID world. This article will address the regulatory and compliance issues addiction professionals face in modifying and adapting their disaster plans to deal with COVID-19 within these standard frameworks of both compliance and preparedness.

Designing a functional disaster plan
Statutory, regulatory and accreditation frameworks such as CARF and CMS are all designed with a single goal in mind: ensuring facilities have a functional disaster plan installed and maintained. The health and safety of staff and patients are a paramount priority, and facilities are going to be expected in the "new normal" of COVID-19 to actively sustain standards. Read more here.
The Telehealth 3.0 Era

We appear to be entering the third phase of telehealth adoption. There was Telehealth 1.0, the pre-pandemic use of telehealth, with less than 0.01% of total visits delivered virtually. Then, there was Telehealth 2.0-the past six months-where Medicare telehealth claims rose from 13,000 to 1.4 million claims per week from March to April 2020. In the 2.0 era, 80% percent of behavioral health visits were virtual, compared to 30% of primary care visits.

And now we are slowly pivoting to the post-pandemic era, Telehealth 3.0. Surprise (or not), telehealth visits in all of health care are now on the decline. Data from MDLive found that telehealth comprised 69% of all visits in April but dropped to just 21% in July.  And starting October 1, both UnitedHealthcare and Anthem will stop waiving the cost of copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for virtual visits not related to COVID-19. Other special policies for telehealth set to expire on December 31 include Cigna, Humana, and Aetna.

As the market shifts, the strategic questions are not specific to telehealth, but involve telehealth. First, as the landscape shifts, how do executive teams shift their service lines to the "next normal?" Second, what role will digital health technologies-telehealth, remote monitoring, and more-play in evolving service lines? And, third, how do executives plan to leverage the power of the virtual in their "next normal" strategies? 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.