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September 18, 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

Four overdoses reported in Jefferson County in 24 hours

Despite Covid-19's Emotional Traumas, Student Mental Health Services Dry Up - NYC

St. John's Episcopal Hospital to unveil sprawling emergency department expansion - NYC

Ithaca High School given highest recognition by Special Olympics for inclusivity - Tompkins

Binghamton Police Department to receive mental health crisis response training - Broome

Mental health experts predict emotional challenges as Central NY schools reopen

New methadone clinic opens in Utica - Oneida

Town Hall: Crisis Services helping Western New Yorkers
Rochester Establishes New Crisis Intervention Unit Following Daniel Prude's Death

In another change following the death of Daniel Prude last March, the City of Rochester says it is moving its Family and Victims Services Office from the Rochester Police Department.

The city says the office will fall under the operations of the Department of Recreation and Youth Services and the newly-created Crisis Intervention Services Unit.

"Today, we take a major step toward implementing much-needed change and revamping the way we will respond to non-violent crisis situations," said Recreation and Youth Services Commissioner Daniele Lyman-Torres. "The goal of the new crisis intervention services unit is to create a non-law enforcement, comprehensive community response to all homicides, as well as to all calls involving mental health, domestic violence and other related crises."

The plan is to have paid social workers collaborate with Monroe County's Forensic Intervention Team (FIT) and Pathways to Peace. Read more here.

PODCAST: Into Reimagining Mental Health & Policing 
A crisis response team in Eugene, Oregon has spent 31 years responding to 911 calls as an alternative to police. Here's what other cities can learn from them. Click here to listen to the podcast.
A new generation is trying to destigmatize mental health and therapy

Studies Show Video Therapy And Telepsychiatry Work

Growing Number of Psychiatric PAs Could Ease Psychiatrist Shortage

MTV's '16 and Recovering' is stark look at young addiction

Virtual reality trains public to reverse opioid overdoses

Scientists Say A Mind-Bending Rhythm In The Brain Can Act Like Ketamine

'Deaths of despair' have increased along demographic, geographic lines

Psychosis Relapse Common During Assured Antipsychotic Treatment
Now Available: SAMHSA's 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Report Data Findings

Last week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The annual survey is the nation's primary resource for data on mental health and substance use among Americans.
As the NSDUH demonstrates, substance misuse and mental illness continue to be major problems for Americans. These issues demand continued attention and focus across all American communities. The data also reflect impressive progress on the nation's opioid crisis. Click here to view the report.

Caring for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
September 23, 12 - 1 pm, HANYS

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

How State-Led Housing Initiatives Can Break the Cycle of Criminal Justice Involvement
September 23, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

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

September 23, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Lifeline Webinar: Tools, Training and Tips for Call Center Success
September 24, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Integrated Care Programs for Dually Eligible Individuals in the Era of COVID-19: Response Efforts and Policy Recommendations
September 24, 2 - 3:30 pm, Center for Healthcare Strategies, Inc.

Advancing Prosecutor-Led Behavioral Health Diversion
September 25, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

September 29, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Turning One-Off Programs into Systems-Wide Behavioral Health Diversion
September 29, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

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

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

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 

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

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

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



CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting
October 7: 8 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
October 8: 11 am - 12 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 
New York State Given Federal Go-ahead to Collect $200 Million Tax to Combat Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Under the Opioid Stewardship Act, signed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2018, New York State was owed $200 million from back taxes. This was the first time such a law was imposed by any state, and the tax is meant to cover the costs of the epidemic caused by opioid addiction in the state.

Recently the law was struck down by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the federal appeals court ruled on Monday that the court lacked the authority to strike down the annual requirement imposed on the companies to pay $100 million collectively. Companies will contribute toward the tax according to their share of the market. Read more here.
HHS Invests Nearly $115 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis in Rural Communities 

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded approximately $25 million to 80 award recipients across 36 states and two territories as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). RCORP is a multi-year HRSA initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) in high-risk rural communities. Monday's announcement builds upon HRSA's RCORP awards made this August, reflecting a total fiscal year 2020 investment of nearly $115 million.

HRSA's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) awarded nearly $15 million to 30 award recipients through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (RCORP-NAS). Each recipient will receive up to $500,000 over three-years to reduce the incidence and impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural communities by improving systems of care, family supports, and social determinants of health. Read more here.
COVID Left Access to Addiction Services in Shambles: Assembly Hearing

Assembly members expressed concerns in a Tuesday hearing that Covid-19 left patients with substance-abuse disorders isolated from treatment programs and a constrained budget would continue to restrict access.

Panelists recounted information of opioid-overdose spikes and increased rates of drug and alcohol relapses during the pandemic, which were exacerbated by clinics operating at reduced capacity.

The Office of Addiction Services and Supports attempted to provide community-based providers and local addiction centers with supplies, including personal protective equipment, recognizing their importance as patients avoided emergency departments for fear of contracting Covid-19, said Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, the office's commissioner.

However, lawmakers noted accounts from clinics in their districts that did not have adequate protective supplies and spoke of constituents who couldn't access addiction services during the pandemic. Read more here.
Is Inpatient Behavioral Health Care Gone for Good in Ulster County?
Of all the underlying conditions the pandemic has revealed, the state of Americans' mental health has perhaps the most worrying longterm implications. We're more anxious, stressed, isolated, depressed, and suicidal than at any point in recent history. The virus has only made things worse, and left us fewer ways to cope.

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in late June, 40 percent of US adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse, with young adults, BIPOC, and essential workers disproportionately affected. In Ulster County alone, opioid overdoses in the first five months of the year nearly doubled compared to the same period last year. The number of overdose deaths tripled. 

So why was the only mental health and detox/rehab inpatient hospital unit in Ulster County shut down indefinitely in April? And why do nurses, healthcare advocates, and local officials now fear it will never reopen? 
Read more here.
These Key Telehealth Policy Changes Would Improve Buprenorphine Access While Advancing Health Equity

Suspected opioid overdose deaths are surging during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing by more than 40 percent in May and continuing to rise. Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD)-specifically methadone and buprenorphine-cut mortality in half; however, only a minority of the two million people living with opioid use disorder (OUD) in the US receive MOUD. After the Affordable Care Act was implemented, treatment engagement expanded modestly. Yet, racial, income, and geographic inequities persist. Approximately 40 percent of counties do not have a buprenorphine prescriber, and Black patients are significantly less likely to have access to a buprenorphine provider compared to White patients. The economic, social, psychiatric, and emotional havoc of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already worsening opioid crisis and highlighted the need for lower threshold access to evidence-based, life-saving OUD treatment. Moreover, the pandemic has disrupted traditional health care delivery methods, further limiting access to buprenorphine through established care settings.

Buprenorphine Telehealth Policy Changes During COVID-19
Recognizing the dire consequences of worsening access to buprenorphine treatment, the federal government took unprecedented and swift action to permit initiation of buprenorphine through video telemedicine visits. Read more here.

CMS Report Details Barriers and Potential Solutions for Using SUD Telehealth Services for Pediatric Populations

In mid-May, a report titled "Reducing Barriers To Furnishing Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Services Using Telehealth And Remote Patient Monitoring For Pediatric Populations Under Medicaid" was provided to Congress by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). 

The study details how SUD is a national public health concern among pediatric populations and identifies best practices, barriers, and potential solutions for using SUD services delivered via telehealth among those populations. Overall, the report emphasizes how overcoming barriers to the use of telehealth is vital to increasing access to SUD services for pediatric 
populations. Click here to view the report.
CMS Issues New Roadmap for States to Accelerate Adoption of Value-Based Care to Improve Quality of Care for Medicaid Beneficiaries

On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to state Medicaid directors designed to advance the adoption of value-based care strategies across their healthcare systems and align provider incentives across payers. Under value-based care, providers are reimbursed based on their ability to improve quality of care in a cost-effective manner or lower costs while maintaining standards of care, rather than the volume of care they provide. Value-based care arrangements may also permit providers to address social determinants of health, as well as disparities across the healthcare system. Moving toward a more value-driven healthcare system allows states to provide Medicaid beneficiaries with efficient, high quality care, while improving health outcomes. Value-based care may also help ensure that the nation's healthcare system is better prepared and equipped to handle unexpected challenges, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

This guidance includes an assessment of key lessons learned from early state and federal experiences in implementing value-based care reforms, as well as a comprehensive toolkit of available federal authorities for states to adopt innovative payment reform efforts within their individual programs. It stresses the importance of multi-payer alignment in value-based care to drive care transformation, and supports state efforts to align new payment models in Medicaid with Medicare and other private payers. Read more here.

More Young People are Dying by Suicide, and Experts Aren't Sure Why

The rate of suicide among those aged 10 to 24 increased nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rise occurred in most states, with 42 experiencing significant increases.

The suicide rate increased from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2007 to 10.7 in 2018. The report compared three-year averages of suicide rates for 2007-2009 and 2016-2018 and found:
  • The 2016-2018 suicide rate among persons aged 10-24 was highest for Alaska (31.4 per 100,000). 
  • States with the highest suicide rates for that period include South Dakota (23.6), Montana (23.2), Wyoming (20.5) and New Mexico (19.6). 
  • States in the Northeast were among those with the lowest suicide rates: New Jersey (5.7), Rhode Island (5.9), New York (5.9), Connecticut (6.3), and Massachusetts (6.4).
  • Even states with the lowest rates experienced significant increases: New Jersey had an increase of 39%, New York about 44%, and Massachusetts about 64%. 

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.