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October 25 ,  2019

Advancing Public Policies for People with Mental Illness, Chemical Dependency or Developmental Disabilities   

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor
New Recovery Center Opens in Captial Region - Albany

Herkimer students get in touch with their feelings

As NYPD suicides rise, city to provide officers free mental health care - NYC

See inside new RUMC student health center in Staten Island High School - NYC

Mount Sinai Researchers Awarded $3.2 Million NIH Grant to Advance Understanding of Down Syndrome - NYC

Law increases mental health services to Nassau County Police Department

Suffolk Crime Lab gets new tool to fight opioid epidemic

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of $8.1 Million Supportive Housing Project for Young Adults in Ithaca - Tompkins

Free buprenorphine waiver training offered for clinical health care providers - Genesee

People Inc. Welcomes New Buffalo Apartment Complex for Seniors, Adults with Disabilities - Erie

$15.5 million Niagara Falls apartment project proposed - Niagara
Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Creating Mental Illness Public Education Initiative for Military Veterans

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this week signed legislation (S.3200-A/A.2758-A) creating a public education initiative designed to eliminate stigma and misinformation about mental illness and substance use among service members, veterans and their families. The initiative will also provide information about the availability of effective treatments and resources to address these issues and how to access them.  Read more here .
Monroe County Jail Drug Treatment Program Showing Signs of Success

 A drug treatment program within the walls of the Monroe County Jail system is working to reduce opioid use among inmates who are headed back into the community.

They've piloted a Medication-Assisted Treatment program that's been funded by a grant through the University of Baltimore.

"I was involved in opioids, fentanyl, and heroin, cocaine," said Thomas St. John, a former inmate and one of the first people to take part in the program.

St. John's drug use landed him in jail earlier this year. But it was there he learned about the medication-assisted treatment program and said it turned his life around.

"I owe a lot of my credit to my sobriety today to this program. I don't think I would be where I am today. I would have fallen back into old behaviors. All those old routines and behaviors I was doing," said St. John. Click here for video.
Updated 50 State Telehealth Laws & Reimbursement Policies Report FALL 2019

An updated Fall 2019 version of CCHP's " State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies " Report is available today! The Fall 2019 edition offers policymakers, health advocates and other interested health care professionals a detailed compendium of state telehealth laws, regulations and Medicaid policies. The report also includes an executive summary , which summarizes CCHP's findings along with an 'At a Glance' Infographic and Chart that highlights key data points from the report. CCHP's online interactive map tool has also been updated with all of the newest information from this update.

State Medicaid Programs Enhance SUD Benefits, Lower Cost-Sharing

Study reveals barriers to obtaining overdose-reversing drug naloxone in pharmacies, especially for teens

When Early Dropout From Opioid Agonist Therapy Seems Likely, Identifying Problems and Taking Action May Help Keep Patients in Treatment

Maryland Community Features Uncommon Sober Housing Option

American Academy of Pediatrics Provides Guidance on Helping Children With Mental Health Challenges

DNA Tests For Psychiatric Drugs Are Controversial But Some Insurers Are Covering Them

Families fight insurers for life-saving care for loved ones with mental health conditions

Rural Areas Have the Longest Drive Times for Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs)
"In Case You Missed It" - CLMHD 
Recaps Key Information Issued by the State

The Conference has published the September edition of "In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)," a one-stop-shop highlighting key information released by our state partners. ICYMI provides a clear, concise recap of significant state guidance, regulations, and resources from OMH, DOH, OASAS, and OPWDD, as well as links to access documents and materials of importance. 

Click  here to read the September issue.

Addressing Youth Substance Use at the County Level: A Lunchtime Discussion
October 29, 11 - 1:30 pm, National Association of Counties

PSYCKES New Features Training Webinar
October 29, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
October 30, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

A Tale of Two Peer Certifications: CPS and CRPA
November 1, 11:30 am - 1 pm, Academy of Peer Services & OMH

Navigating the Digital Era: Social Media and Mental Health
November 5, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

What Matters Most in Driving Cross-Sector Partnerships for Complex Populations
November 5, 3 - 4 pm, National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs

innovaTel - Telepsychiatry: A Year in Review and Beyond and What's to Come in 2020
November 6, 1 - 1:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

A Framework for Evaluating the Return on Investment of Telehealth
November 6, 1 - 2 pm, Manatt Health

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
November 12, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

PSYCKES New Features Training Webinar
November 13, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

Data Sharing in Human Services to End Homelessness - Challenges and Solutions
November 14, 3 - 4 pm, Corporation for Supportive Housing

Technology and Mental Health: Defining the Current Landscape
November 19, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU



CLMHD Mentoring Session - In Person
October 29: 2 - 5 pm, Albany

State Agencies Meeting - In Person
October 30: 9:30 am - 4 pm,  Albany 


Executive Committee Call
November 6: 8 am, GTM

Office Closed - Veterans Day
November 11

Children & Families Committee Meeting
November 19: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Membership Call
November 20: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
November 21: 1 - 3 pm, GTM

Office Closed - Thanksgiving
November 28 - 29

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
Medicaid On Track For $2.9 Billion Shortfall

New York's Medicaid program is on track for a $2.9 billion shortfall, potentially complicating next year's state budget.

The shortfall is projected as the program has already spent more than 60 percent of its state-funded budget by the end of September, about $13.1 billion, based on a cash report released this week by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration had sought to delay $1.7 billion in Medicaid into the 2019-20 fiscal year - a move that doubled spending in April.

As Bill Hammond of the Empire Center think tank  pointed out on Monday, this move was meant to avoid payment cuts that would have been triggered under the "global cap" for the program.

"This maneuver was not disclosed to the public until May - after the current budget was adopted by lawmakers - and did not become widely known until July," he wrote in a post. Read more here.

Additional article of interest:  Governor Cuomo Plans To Limit Spending

A View from the States: Key Medicaid Policy Changes - Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020

Medicaid covers one in five Americans, accounts for one in six dollars spent on health care in the United States, and makes up more than half of all spending on long-term services and supports.  As states began state fiscal year (FY) 2020, the economy in most states was strong. With fewer budget pressures, many states reported expansions or enhancements to provider rates and benefits.  As several states implemented, adopted, or continued to debate the ACA Medicaid expansion, a number of states also continued to pursue work requirements and other policies promoted by the Trump administration that could restrict eligibility. Other key areas of focus highlighted in the report include Medicaid initiatives to address social determinants of health, control prescription drug spending, improve birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality, and address the opioid epidemic. 

This report provides an in-depth examination of the changes taking place in Medicaid programs across the country. The findings are drawn from the 19th annual budget survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Health Management Associates (HMA), in collaboration with the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD). Read more  here .
City Invests $37M in 'New Chapter' for Mental Health

The city will spend $37 million on services aimed at people with serious mental illnesses as it looks to address gaps in care, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

The largest portion, $23 million, will fund teams of responders who support people in the middle of a mental health crisis and work with them in the weeks that follow.

The city will devote $14 million to services for those who are not engaged in treatment and pose a higher risk of violent behavior. Overall, people with mental health issues, including those receiving treatment, are no more likely to exhibit violent behavior than others and are more likely to be victims of a violent crime, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The de Blasio administration's new initiatives follow criticism that City Hall's $850 million ThriveNYC program did not offer solutions for people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other illnesses. Such critiques escalated recently, after a mentally ill man killed four homeless men in Chinatown.   Read more here .

HHS Awards $319 Million to Support Health Workforce Providers Caring for the Underserved

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $319 million in scholarship and loan repayment awards for clinicians and students through the  National Health Service Corps  

With these providers entering NHSC service, there are now more than 13,000 medical, dental and behavioral health care clinicians providing quality care to more than 13.7 million Americans in rural, urban and tribal communities. There are also almost 1,480 students and medical residents preparing to serve in the Corps.

This year's awards significantly expand the NHSC's efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in areas of greatest need. The investment includes $80 million that will support almost 1,250 clinicians providing substance use disorder treatment in underserved communities, including at more than 2,000 rural sites. These providers commit to three-year loan repayment contracts, ensuring sustained impact and continuity of care for these communities. Read more here.
State to Receive $40M from Suboxone Distributor

Reckitt Benckiser, a British drug distributor, will pay the New York Medicaid program nearly $72 million as part of a $700 million settlement with several states. The deal resolves allegations that the company improperly marketed Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, leading to improper Medicaid payments.

New York will retain $39.9 million of that sum, with the remaining $32 million going to the federal government for its role in financing Medicaid, according to Attorney General Letitia James.

The civil settlement alleges that Reckitt or its subsidiaries promoted Suboxone to doctors who were prescribing the medication without ensuring patients were also receiving counseling or psychosocial support. Suboxone, which is made up of buprenorphine and naloxone, is an opioid itself and can lead to abuse if it's not part of a complete treatment plan. Read more here.

Additional article of interest:  In Opioid Settlements, Suboxone Plays a Leading Role
Is It A Meth Case Or Mental Illness? Police Who Need To Know Often Can't Tell

The dispatch call from the Concord, NH, police department is brief. A woman returning to her truck spotted a man underneath. She confronted him. The man fled. Now the woman wants a police officer to make sure her truck is OK.

"Here we go," mutters Officer Brian Cregg as he steps on the gas. In less than three minutes, he's driving across the back of a Walmart parking lot, looking for a man on the run.

"There he is," says Cregg. The officer pulls to a stop and approaches a man who fits the caller's description. Cregg frisks the man, whose name is Kerry. NPR has agreed to only use Kerry's first name because he may have serious mental health and substance use problems.

"Why were you lying on the ground under a truck?" Cregg demands.

Kerry, head hanging, rocks back and forth, offering quiet one-line answers to Cregg's questions. There's a contest, Kerry says. The prize is a new pick-up truck, and he just has to find the truck with a key hidden underneath. He says he's searched three so far.

"Kerry did you take anything today?" Cregg asks. "You're not acting right."

"No, no," says Kerry, shaking his head forcefully. "I'm just stressed out." Read more here.
Leavitt Partners Releases "Taking Action on Social Determinants of Health" Report

This week, Leavitt Partners released " Taking Action on Social Determinants of Health ,"  a white paper based on research conducted through the firm's Health Intelligence Partners (HIP)*, to learn about what employers and physicians are doing to address social determinants of health (SDOH) in their communities. These surveys were conducted with physicians, employers, and consumers. Although the impact of social determinants on health has received increased attention in recent years, few studies have investigated the extent to which these SDOH are being systematically addressed at the population level. While some physicians and even more employers have implemented programs for SDOH, current efforts are not sufficient to address the magnitude of the problem.
Investing In SDoH Strategies: The Numbers Are In

Data show that 80% of health care spending is driven by personal, social, and environmental factors, not health services. Robert M. Atkins, M.D., MPH, senior medical director of Aetna Medicaid, addressed this issue during the 2019 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat and explained Aetna's strategy for exploring trauma-informed provider organization networks.

And Aetna is in good company. We've reported on Kaiser Permanente's Thrive Local initiative that addresses social needs and Anthem's Care Heroes for consumers who need long-term support services. These are great examples of health plan initiatives to address the social determinants of health.

But where are health plans overall? Our recent survey of health plans notes significant movement to address social determinants of health (SDoH) in a number of areas, including transportation, housing, and food insecurity. Not surprisingly, those initiatives are concentrated in Medicaid health plans. 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.