cover image 4
March 6, 2020

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

Connect With Us:
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn
Francine Sinkoff, Editor

'Child with autism' signs approved by New York State

Capital Region teens talk mental health, suicide prevention in PSA

Helio Health in Utica helping with substance use treatment - Oneida

Stony Brook Medicine Fights Substance Abuse On Multiple Levels - Suffolk

CIT improves police response to mental health crises - Yates

An Orchard Park church's bold move to normalize opioid overdose drug - Erie

Erie County Health Commissioner warns of spike in suspected overdose deaths
Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Releases First Round of Grants to Improve Health and Human Services Across New York State

The  Mother Cabrini Health Foundation announced this week it has awarded nearly  $150 million in grants across  New York State.

The grants are helping to fund more than 500 activities, programs, and initiatives in 2020 focused on improving the health and quality of life for low-income and underserved communities. Click here to review the first round of grant awardees.

"We are honored to support such a wide range of organizations doing critically important work to improve the lives of  New York's most vulnerable communities," said  Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board. Read more here.
USDA, Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grants 

The DLT program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. Grant funds support the use of telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment and related advanced technologies by students, teachers, medical professionals and rural residents. These grants are intended to increase rural access to education, training and health care resources that are otherwise unavailable or limited in scope. 
  • Eligibility: Private and public institutions of higher education, city, township, tribal and state governments, for profit organizations, nonprofits, small businesses and independent school districts 
  • Funding: $71.7 million for approximately 200 awards of $50,000 to $1 million.
  • Deadline: April 10, 2020
  • Contact: Shawn Arner Phone: 202-720-0800 Email: 
Click here to learn more.

Integrated Care, Workgroups Top Addiction Advocates' List for Medicaid Redesign

Inside a Preschool That Treats the Youngest Victims of the Opioid Crisis

FDA Takes Rare Step to Ban Electrical Stimulation Devices for Self-Injurious or Aggressive Behavior

Via referral tech, HIE reaches 15% reduction in ER utilization among high-risk pop

How Health Information Exchange (HIE) can improve mental healthcare in prison

A Third Of Pediatricians Still Don't Do Developmental Screenings

New Documentary Shows How Deinstitutionalization Shaped Today's Mental Health System
Navigating the Behavioral Health Impacts of the Coronavirus
Featured image of the post
There is no avoiding the concern over the outbreak of the  coronavirus disease (COVID-19), or the extent to which it could impact the physical health of our communities, families and ourselves. As the disease spreads and confusion over this public health crisis grows, we must acknowledge that it also can have implications on our behavioral health. As such, it is vital that we make self-care a top priority.

"The coronavirus outbreak has created growing concern among practitioners and the general public. While there are still many unknowns, it's important to remember what we do know," National Council for Behavioral Health president and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. "Secondary trauma is a very real concern, so we all must take precautions to address our mental health. Practicing self-care to treat symptoms - including anxiety, depression or sleep deprivation - to maintain our mental health is as vital as taking practical steps to ensure our physical health and wellness." Read more here.
Save the Date: 5th Annual New York State
Suicide Prevention Conference

Click here for more information.

Sleep Disturbances and Depression: Understanding the Relationship to Improve Patient Outcomes
March 11, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Division of Long-Term Services & Supports Training Series: Preadmission Screening and Resident Review Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
March 11, 2 - 3 pm, Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services

Using PSYCKES for Clinicians
March 11, 2:30 - 4 pm, OMH

NextGen Healthcare: Better Together-How One Organization Improves Patient Outcomes with Integrated Care
March 11, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Increasing Access to Behavioral Health Resources for Military and Veteran Children and Families
March 12, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA

PSYCKES Mobile App for iPhones & iPads
March 17, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

From ACEs to Assets: A Community Approach to Growing Resilience
March 18, 12 - 1 pm, CCSI

Business Best Practices and Management Webinar Series: Finance / Billing
March 18, 1 - 2 pm, CTAC/MCTAC

Reducing Access Disparities in Mental Health Treatment with Technology
March 23, 12 - 1 pm, CTAC/MCTAC

Community-Based Organizations: Partnership Opportunities to Address SDOH
March 24, 12:30 - 2 pm, Manatt Health
Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
March 26, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

School Safety and Collaboration: Building a Behavioral Health and Justice Response
March 26, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

WHAM: Newest Research and Updated Curriculum for Peer Support for Whole Health
March 26, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Peer Recovery Support Series, Section I: Building a Successful Culture in Your Organization
March 27, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

Justice Center Code of Conduct Training
Various locations, Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs

Opioids and Child Maltreatment: Neighborhood Factors To Protect Families
April 16, 1 - 2 pm, Child Maltreatment National Peer Learning Team


MARCH 2020

Children & Families Committee Meeting
March 17: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
March 19: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

APRIL 2020

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
April 7: 1 - 3 pm, GTM & In-Person (OASAS)

Children & Families Committee Meeting
April 21: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Mentoring Workshop
April 27: 2 - 5 pm, Embassy Suites, Saratoga Springs

CLMHD Full Membership Meeting
April 28 - 29, Embassy Suites, Saratoga Springs

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
BlueCross BlueShield Starts Region's First Value-Based Payment Model
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York recently announced the region's first behavioral health value-based payment agreement with Value Network - a behavioral health care collaborative with more than 100 area providers, including BestSelf Behavioral Health, Endeavor Health Services, Horizon Health Services, and Spectrum Health and Human Services.

A value-based payment model focuses on quality of care, rewards health care providers for complete care management of their patients' health, and allows them to manage patients with more flexibility.

BlueCross BlueShield is the first local health plan that will follow this approach, rewarding behavioral health providers for delivering quality mental health and substance use disorder treatment to its members. This follows the health plan's rollout of Best Practice, a value-based approach for compensating primary care doctors in January 2017. Read more here.
Lyft Partners with Unite Us to Coordinate Rides to Job Interviews, Food Pantries
A car window with a Lyft sticker
Lyft is partnering with Unite Us to coordinate rides to job interviews, food pantries and mental health services.
The collaboration will enable Unite Us, a social determinants of health technology company, to provide ride-enabled social service referrals through its platform.

The New York-based, venture-backed company  builds coordinated care networks to connect health and social care providers. Coordinators and service providers who use Unite Us to make social care referrals can now order or schedule a Lyft ride on demand for patients.
For the ride-hailing company, it's the next logical next step in a strategy to address more insecurities related to transportation.

Transportation is a barrier for people to access social care. Getting a ride to a job interview, a community center, a food pantry or other community-based organization is one step toward an individual meeting goals. Read more here.
ThriveNYC Looks to Turn Corner with New Outcome-Focused Data
first lady deputy mayors comm
First Lady Chirlane McCray's signature mental health initiative ThriveNYC has faced withering criticism for spending hundreds of millions of dollars with few concrete results to show for it. But amid increasing scrutiny the de Blasio administration is seeking to put those concerns to rest as the Office of ThriveNYC for the first time releases detailed data tracking the outcomes of dozens of programs that have been launched under the Thrive banner.

It's part of a reclamation project for McCray and her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have heralded ThriveNYC as a one-of-its-kind roadmap and national model, but struggled to show evidence of its effectiveness, particularly whether it was helping New Yorkers with serious mental illnesses. The mayor and first lady brought Susan Herman from the NYPD to the mayor's office to establish better benchmarks, data-tracking, and standing for the program, and Herman is now showing the initial results of her work as executive director of ThriveNYC. Read more here.

Anthem Furthers 'Whole Person' Play By Adding Beacon's Mental Health Services
Anthem  has purchased Beacon Health Options, adding a national network of behavioral health services in the health insurer's effort to manage care of the "whole person."

Beacon manages mental health, substance abuse and other behavioral health services for more than 36 million people across the U.S. Anthem, which owns Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states, didn't disclose a price it is paying Bain Capital Private Equity and Diamond Castle Holdings for Beacon Health, which is privately held.

Anthem's  completion of the deal announced Monday is significant as health insurers move beyond managing just medical care to make sure patients are getting the right care, in the right place and at the right time. Read more here.
Joint Commission Releases New Enhanced Substance Use Disorders Standards for Behavioral Health 

Starting July 1, eight standards with 14 new and revised elements of performance (EPs) will be applicable to Joint Commission-accredited behavioral health care organizations that treat substance use disorders. These 
enhanced requirements - in the Care, Treatment, and Services (CTS) and Leadership (LD) chapters of the accreditation manual - are designed to improve quality and safety of care for patients being treated for substance use disorders.
During the development process, The Joint Commission evaluated literature and national guidelines, and engaged stakeholders to determine how enhancing the standards would help improve the quality and safety of care. The Joint Commission concluded that enhancing standards applicable to addiction treatment providers was needed in the areas of:
  • Treating individuals at the appropriate level of care.
  • Transitions of care and follow up.
  • Proper use of urine drug testing to ensure the standards reflect best practices.
  A new R3 Report was developed to explain the rationale and research behind the new and revised requirements.
Read the R3 Report.
More Addiction Treatment Docs Needed for Opioid Crisis, House Panel Told

The opioid crisis and growing addiction to methamphetamine and other stimulants won't be abated until the country trains more addiction medicine physicians, witnesses said at a House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing.

"One of the things the opioid epidemic has laid bare is the lack of trained professionals we have to provide treatment, so we can put out all the funding dollars we want" but it won't do any good without a trained workforce, said Michael Botticelli, executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center. "I think it's really important for us to ensure that while we're doing other activities such as integrating addiction treatment into residency training, that having a trained workforce of addiction medicine and addiction psychiatrists is critical."

Botticelli was discussing H.R. 3414, the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019, one of 14 bills the subcommittee was considering at a hearing on Tuesday. The act, sponsored by Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-Ill.) and cosponsored by subcommittee members Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), would add 1,000 residency positions in addiction or pain medicine programs over a 5-year period; the positions would be eligible for graduate medical education payments under Medicare. Read more here.

Additional article of interest:  House Subcommittee Examines Slate of SUD Legislation
State Health Official (SHO) Letter: Access to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services for Children and Pregnant Women in the Children's Health Insurance Program

On Monday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a State Health Official (SHO) letter that provides guidance to states on a new congressionally-mandated behavioral health coverage benefit for separate Children Health Insurance Programs (CHIPs). This SHO provides guidance to states with separate CHIPs on the actions necessary to implement the requirements of section 5022 of the SUPPORT Act (effective October 24, 2019). The majority of states have elected to provide some behavioral health coverage to their separate CHIP populations; however, states will need to review their behavioral health benefit array in the context of this new requirement. 

States will now be required to:
  • Provide coverage of all the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)/Bright Futures recommended behavioral health screenings and all U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) behavioral health recommendations with a Grade of A or B.
  • Provide an array of behavioral health benefits that is sufficient to treat a broad range of behavioral health conditions. 
  • Cover Medication Assistance Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders (OUDs) and tobacco cessation. 
  • Identify a strategy to facilitate the use of validated age-appropriate screening tools. These tools are used to detect a particular concern or condition.
  • Identify a strategy to facilitate the use of validated clinical assessment tools.  These tools are used to determine a diagnosis, evaluate the current level of functioning and develop treatment recommendations.
  • Submit a title XXI CHIP SPA to demonstrate compliance with Section 5022 of the SUPPORT Act. 

It is not uncommon, when our team asks managers of provider organizations to describe the value of their services, to hear the refrain, "We serve the sickest patients." Usually that statement is "metrics free" as there are few (or no) metrics to back it up.

But by the end of the payer townhall session,  The Payer Perspective: An OPEN MINDS Forum On The Performance Management Metrics That Health Plans Are Looking For From Providers, at The 2020 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute, it was clear that response (and the lack of measures) is not enough. The faculty-Lori Fertall, Director of Value-Based Programs, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization; Cathy Lipton, M.D., National Medical Director, Institutional Programs, Optum; Susanna Kramer, Director of Performance Evaluation, Community Behavioral Health; and Melissa Nichols, Network Performance & Planning, Beacon Health Options-all spoke to their organizations' perceptions of "value," their move into pay-for-performance contracting, and its role in their future strategy.

Their perspectives? Community Care Behavioral Health Organization and Optum are looking to use value-based purchasing to fund innovation; Beacon Health Options is hoping to become recognized for network innovation in both reimbursement and services; and Community Behavioral Health is looking for value-based contracting models that allow small provider organizations to pool downside financial risk. 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.