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August 7, 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
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Francine Sinkoff, Editor
Cuts to Mental Health Services a Concern - Montgomery

Virtual Naloxone (NarcanĀ®) Training First Wednesday of Each Month @ 7:00pm - Hudson Valley

Ulster opioid deaths this year already past all from 2019

Integrated family health clinic opens in Queens - NYC

Preliminary Data Shows Black, Hispanic Erie County Residents Disproportionately Impacted by Opioid Overdoses

Governor Cuomo Announces Start of Construction On New Affordable Housing Development On Buffalo's East Side - Erie
NYS Regional Planning Consortium (RPC) Releases Second Quarter Update
The Regional Planning Consortium (RPC) is proud to share its second "Quarterly Update Report," which highlights activities conducted by the rest-of-state RPC by region during April 1 - June 30, 2020. We would like to thank our more than 800 statewide stakeholders and various State Office partners for their continued participation in and commitment to the RPC.
The RPC is a network of 11 regional boards, community stakeholders, and Managed Care Organizations that work closely with State partners to guide behavioral health policy in the regions to problem-solve and develop lasting solutions to service delivery challenges. Visit for more information.
New Emergency Mental Health and Addiction Clinic Provides Alternative to ECMC
Right before the pandemic began, Spectrum Health opened the Urgent Health Addictions Care Clinic on Main Street. Spectrum is also a certified community behavioral health center. As Associate CEO of Spectrum Health and Human Services Cindy Voelker explains, that allows them to do integrated services. 

"So it's physical health, mental health and substance use, as well as in the community work and office work. And it reimburses us at a rate that we can afford to do that," Voelker said. "That's very different than our old traditional services. So that's something that we've been a part of, and in that model, that's how we came to build out the urgent mental health clinic."

That integrated model is something that has been discussed in the New York State Assembly the past year as something they could use in other parts of the state. It's the first of its kind in Erie County. Read more here.

NY Law Journal: Defining Chronic Substance Abuse in the Context of Terminating Parental Rights

Major depressive episodes far more common than previously believed, new study finds

Some Alternative Payment Models Are Improving Behavioral Health

Alternative payment models (APMs) are taking steps to improve behavioral health, but the models need more to make large strides, according to a study from the University of Washington and Harvard Medical School.

The study from published in JAMA Network Open last week detailed the findings of a literature review on 17 APM implementations in mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) care.

The review found that APMs, which ranged from simple infrastructure payments to capitated reimbursements, were associated with improvements in process-of-care outcomes, reductions in mental health and SUD utilization, and decreases in spending.

However, information on whether the alternative payment models were effective at improving mental health and SUD clinical outcomes was largely missing from studies and other evaluations of the models. Read more here.

Psychiatry Perspectives On COVID-19: Impact On Health Care Providers & First Responders And A Path Forward (Part 1 Of 2-Part Series)
August 11, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

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 12, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
August 12, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

August 13, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

PSYCKES Access and Implementation
August 18, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

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

Addressing Justice System Inequities Head-On
August 18, 2 - 3:30 pm, Stepping Up Initiative

National Practice Guidelines for Peer Specialists and Supervisors 
August 25, 2 - 3 pm, Doors to Wellbeing

Using PSYCKES Recipient Search
August 27, 10 - 11 am, OMH

CIT ECHO: Sustained Mental Health Training and Consultation to Law Enforcement, First Responders and Behavioral Health Partners
August 27, 3 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Implementing a Peer Mentor Program: Strategies for Engaging Peer Recovery Support Specialists in Adult Treatment Courts
August 31, 12:30 - 2 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Enable Access to Client-Level Data in PSYCKES
September 1, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

Creating a 'Connections Plan' to Reduce Social Isolation and Reduce Suicide Risk
September 2, 12 - 1 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy 

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
September 10, 2:30 - 4 pm, OMH

Understanding and Addressing Criminal Thinking
September 11, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

PSYCKES Mobile App for iPhones & iPads
September 15, 10 - 11 am, OMH

The Intersection of Farming Culture and Suicide Prevention
September 16, 12 - 1 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy

September 23, 12 - 1 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
September 23, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

Breaking Through to the Other Side: A Survivor's Story
September 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy



Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
August 13: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
August 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM


CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting
September 2: 8 am

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
September 3: 1 - 2:30 pm

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
September 13: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
September 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
CLMHD Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training to be Held Virtually in 2020 - Deadline for Applications Extended
Image result for ymhfa
Due to the ongoing pandemic and mandated government restrictions, the Conference has made the decision to move this year's in-person Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) Instructor Training program to a VIRTUAL platform. Upon completion of this training, individuals will be certified to provide the 6-hour YMHFA training to their communities both in-person and virtually!
Interested parties may access the YMHFA training application by visiting the CLMHD website here. Once completed, the application should be sent to the county's Director of Community Services (DCS) to sign and complete the DCS Attestation, and then the application should be submitted via email to by Friday, August 28, 2020.  
This year, 32 applicants will be accepted to our program and we have scheduled two 3-day VIRTUAL training sessions***, with each session accommodating up to 16 trainees:
  • Session 1: Monday, October 26 - Wednesday, October 28
  • Session 2: Wednesday, November 4 - Friday, November 6
***Please be sure to indicate your availability for each session in the application - sessions will be assigned according to slot availability***

Candidates will be notified of their acceptance to the training by September 17, and will be sent a link to complete an official registration with the National Council. Additionally, trainees will be given a week to complete 8 hours of pre-course work prior to the 3-day session. For more information, click here.
How DASH Helps Stabilize Addiction Crises on Long Island

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone had a message during a recent news briefing for residents feeling overwhelmed by substance use, mental illness, and/or other life stressors.

DASH, the New York Metro area's first crisis stabilization center, is there to ensure that anyone in need of addiction treatment has immediate access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The $4.7 million New York State-funded Diagnostic, Assessment and Stabilization Hub in Hauppauge will provide assessment and referral services at any time - including counseling and medication-assisted-treatment for opioid withdrawal. This saves unnecessary hospitalization and emergency department visits, provides jail diversion services, and manages treatment of coexisting mental health and substance use disorders.

The program features a mobile response team of licensed professionals who come to you, will develop a safety plan, and if necessary, recommend outpatient services or a higher level of care. Read more here.
HHS Awards Over $101 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health and Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded over $101 million to combat substance use disorders (SUD) and opioid use disorders (OUD). The awards support 116 organizations in 42 states and the District of Columbia, with many targeting high-risk rural communities.

HRSA's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy awarded $89 million to 89 rural organizations across 38 states as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation (RCORP-Implementation). Each RCORP-Implementation grant recipient will use the funding to enhance and expand service delivery for SUD and OUD in rural communities. Awardees will work with rural communities to implement a set of core SUD and OUD prevention, treatment and recovery activities grounded in evidence-based or promising practice models which can be tailored to communities' unique needs. Read more here.
CMS Announces a Temporary Policy for Premium Reductions

Today, as part of the agency's efforts to facilitate the nation's response to the coronavirus disease 2019 ("COVID-19") public health emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a policy that will allow issuers to offer temporary premium reductions for individuals with 2020 coverage in the individual and small group markets. CMS is providing this additional flexibility to help ensure that consumers struggling to pay their premiums can continue to be covered and receive the care they may need during this time. 

In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Trump Administration is temporarily exercising enforcement discretion to allow issuers, when consistent with state law, to offer premium reductions for one or more months for 2020 coverage.  This temporary policy will be in effect until the end of 2020.  Issuers are generally prohibited under current federal requirements from changing premiums for health insurance coverage offered in the individual and small group markets after the start of the benefit year. Read more here.
Nasal Spray Approved for Treating Suicidal People

Johnson & Johnson's Spravato has been approved as the first antidepressant for actively suicidal people, as doctors are becoming increasingly concerned about COVID-19's effect on the mental health of Americans.

The Food and Drug Administration approval means the quick-acting nasal spray will be available to people with suicidal thoughts and a plan to put them into action, said Michelle Kramer, vice president of J&J's U.S. neuroscience medical affairs unit. That constitutes 11% to 12% of as many as 17 million Americans who have major depressive disorder.

Spravato has been used by about 6,000 people for treatment-resistant depression since its approval in March 2019, Kramer said. J&J's decision to study it in depressed people actively contemplating suicide bucks a trend among drugmakers who routinely exclude such patients from trials.

Additional articles of interest: Treating Suicidal Patients during COVID-19

Google Searches During Pandemic May Hint at More Suicides to Come
Using Telemedicine to Treat Opioid Addiction
Maxwell Atkinson, a case manager at Prevention Point in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, using a telemedicine interface to discuss a patient with another doctor.
Covid-19 has made life much harder for people with opioid addiction. But the response to the virus has also revealed a way forward that could radically expand effective treatment and reduce overdose deaths.

Until now, getting effective treatment depended on where you lived. Forty percent of American counties - much of Appalachia, for example - have no providers licensed to prescribe buprenorphine, the most successful treatment so far.

But the pandemic has made it possible to see a licensed provider from home, and that could make buprenorphine treatment available anywhere.

Michelle (she asked me to not use her family name) is 57, lives near Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and works from home as a customer service representative. Her computer allows her to live a good life - after eight years on heroin that followed many years on other drugs. Read more here.
Many Psychiatric Units Went Offline During The Pandemic. Healthcare Workers Wonder If They'll Ever Return
Numerous ambulances wait outside Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn
In preparation for a surge of coronavirus patients in late March and early April, many New York hospitals repurposed their beds, reassigned personnel from different units, and put most of their other medical services on pause.

Meeting the demands of the pandemic was an all-hands-on-deck effort, so Irving Campbell, a nurse who usually treats psychiatric patients at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, said he understood when the hospital opted to temporarily convert its two 25-bed psychiatric units into intensive care units.

But with coronavirus cases down this summer and hospitals starting to reactivate other services, Campbell and his colleagues are still helping out on other units, rather than treating their usual patients. Read more here.
BlueCross BlueShield of WNY: Transforming Treatment for Behavioral Health During a Pandemic
Transforming treatment for behavioral health during a pandemic - Buffalo  Business First
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it. Stress levels are unprecedented as people adapt to ongoing uncertainty, job loss, working remotely, homeschooling, distancing from social support networks, plus the concerns of getting sick or getting others sick. The impact of these stressors is becoming more and more apparent. Calls to the federal mental health crisis hotline have increased 900% compared to this same time last year.

"The Covid-19 pandemic is a stressful time for everyone due to the fear and uncertainty that it brings, leading people to cope in different ways," said Dr. Vincent Nelson, vice president of medical affairs for the BlueCross BlueShield Association. "It is vital that Americans continue to seek out the care they need from the telehealth options available to them to ensure they can get and stay healthy."

Telehealth, remote visits with a health care provider through technology, has transformed across the country from an emerging industry trend to best practice. In 2018, only 18% of doctors were using telehealth. Now that number is 48%. Despite its benefits, telehealth historically has only accounted for a small fraction of total outpatient behavioral health visits here in Western New York. 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.