January 30, 2021
New York Governor Aims to Shut Down Nearly Empty Youth Prisons

With a looming budget deficit and youth lockups with dozens of empty beds, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration plans to shut two juvenile detention facilities.  

The governor’s 2022 budget briefing book notes that four state youth facilities are “chronically underfilled,” housing a total of 50 young people in places that can hold almost triple that number. Two of the four are secure lockups: the Columbia Girls Secure Center in Columbia County and the Goshen Secure Center in Orange County. They’re part of the state’s network of 10 youth prisons located from the Hudson River in the east to Rochester in the west. 

Overall, the number of kids held in New York’s youth prisons plunged to about half what it was 10 years ago, in part because arrests of those younger than 16 fell 70% from 2010 to 2018. Read more here.
NIMH Launches the Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET): A National Learning Health Care System

Over the past 10 years, there has been rapid growth nationally in the number of clinical programs focused on support for individuals who are experiencing a first episode of psychosis. This growth was stimulated both by the exciting results of the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) studies and the expanded federal funds to support early psychosis program development across the country. A critical addition to this national focus on early psychosis programs is the launch of the Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET) by NIMH.

EPINET is a national learning health care system that links early psychosis clinics through standard clinical
measures, uniform data collection methods, data sharing agreements, and integration of client-level data across service users and clinics. Clients and their families, clinicians, health care administrators, and
scientific experts now have the opportunity to partner within EPINET to improve early psychosis care and
conduct large-scale, practice-based research. Read more here.
Centene CEO: Behavioral Health ‘Has to Be Integrated’

Days after Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) announced its plan to acquire Magellan Health (Nasdaq: MGLN), leadership is doubling down on the insurer’s commitment to behavioral. Those services will play an important role in the company’s future, according to Centene CEO Michael Neidorff, who is also president and chairman of the company.

“It has to be integrated,” Neidorff said. “If I have a newly diagnosed diabetic, I want the case manager … as they leave the endocrinologist’s office to say, ‘I think you should go see a psychologist to help you understand how to deal with this.’ You’re going to end up with a higher quality outcome when you do that, and the highest quality is the lowest cost, shorter and longer term.” Read more here.

February 2, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

February 2, 2:30 - 4 pm, MCTAC/CTAC

February 4: 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

February 4, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

February 4, 2:30 - 4 pm, MCTAC/CTAC

February 4, 4 - 5 pm, National Center for State Courts

February 8, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

February 8, 2 - 3 pm, COSSAP

February 8, 3:30 - 5 pm, MCTAC/CTAC

February 9, 2 - 3 pm, Families Together in NYS, Youth Power!

February 10, 10 - 11 am, OMH

February 10, 2 - 3 pm, COSSAP

February 11, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

February 18, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

February 18, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

February 22, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

February 25, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


Executive Committee Meeting
February 3: 8 am, GTM

AOT Coordinators Meeting
February 5: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

Quarterly LGU Clinic Operators Call
February 9: 10 - 11 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
February 11: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
February 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Membership Call
February 17: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
February 18: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
February 23: 1 - 3 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Five Urgent Public Health Policies To Combat The Mental Health Effects Of COVID-19

The development and dissemination of effective COVID-19 vaccines gives us hope for an end to the pandemic that has upended our lives. But vaccines will not end the mental health crisis that is emerging and likely worsening, particularly during the isolating winter months. The stress of the pandemic is leading to substantial mental health issues across the country. In June 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that four in 10 Americans were struggling with mental health or substance use. Another 11 percent reported having seriously considered suicide in the past month. Coupled with grief and loss from being separated from loved ones, losing people to the virus, high levels of uncertainty, balancing work and caregiving, and loss of opportunities or jobs, this pandemic has created a perfect storm for psychological distress.

Although containment efforts are clearly necessary, the mental health effects of isolation and potentially lowered social support must be addressed. Based on our public mental health experience and research on previous pandemics, we anticipate that this long-lasting storm will widen already massive mental health disparities among marginalized populations. Read more here.
COVID-19 has ‘Exacerbated’ Opioid Crisis in New York: DEA Official

The COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated the opioid crisis” in New York, the Empire State’s drug czar told The Post Tuesday.

The New York Division of the US Drug Enforcement Administration seized a staggering amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl in 2020 – a year marred by the global COVID-19 crisis, the agency said.

There was a 214 percent surge in the amount of methamphetamine seized in New York from 244 kilograms in 2019 to 767 kilograms in 2020, while there was a 59 percent jump in fentanyl seized from 254 kilograms in 2019 to 404 kilograms in 2020, according to the DEA. Read more here.
Biden Administration to Halt Plans to Nix X-Waiver Requirement

A decision made by HHS in the waning days of the Trump presidency to publish new guidelines that include an exemption from certain requirements under the Controlled Substances Act for physicians who are licensed under state law and possess DEA registration to prescribe buprenorphine appears to be poised for reversal under the Biden administration.

HHS on Jan. 14 announced plans to publish new Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder, which would eliminate the X-waiver requirement for DEA-licensed physicians. Late Monday, however, the Washington Post reported the new administration planned to reverse course, with a source telling the Post that the new guidelines “had significant legal and clinical concerns,” namely that HHS potentially lacked the authority to issue such guidelines that allowed for physicians to bypass requirements set by Congress. Read more here.
Biden Administration Adds National Council for Behavioral Health’s Tom Hill to ONDCP

The Biden-Harris administration this week announced the appointment of Tom Hill, MSW, to the position of senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Hill leaves the National Council for Behavioral Health after nearly four years. He served in the Obama administration until January 2017 as a senior advisor on addiction and recovery at the Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), prior to his tenure at the National Council. Read more here.
They Lost Sons To Drug Overdoses: How The Pandemic May Be Fueling Deaths Of Despair

Karen Butcher's son Matthew struggled for years with an addiction to opioids. She's convinced the pandemic made it worse.

The restaurant in Scott County, Ky., where Matthew worked as a bartender closed before the pandemic, and soon other establishments, from restaurants to stores, followed suit as states imposed lockdowns.

"One day you're a bartender and you're serving people and having a great time at it, and then the next day the doors are closed," Butcher recalls. "Then COVID hits. It was the perfect storm."

Butcher says her son was increasingly isolated, just at a time when his unemployment checks were starting to come in. Read more here.
Surge of Student Suicides Pushes Las Vegas Schools to Reopen

The reminders of pandemic-driven suffering among students in Clark County, Nev., have come in droves.

Since schools shut their doors in March, an early-warning system that monitors students’ mental health episodes has sent more than 3,100 alerts to district officials, raising alarms about suicidal thoughts, possible self-harm or cries for care. By December, 18 students had taken their own lives.

The spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation’s fifth largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible. This month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students even as greater Las Vegas continues to post huge numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths. Read more here.

New MDI Publication & Webinar: Optimizing the Psychiatric Workflow Within a Team-based Care Framework

The National Council Medical Director Institute (MDI) has released a new report, “Optimizing the Psychiatric Workflow within a Team-based Care Framework,” which explores team-based care as a means of improving the psychiatric workflow.

This report describes a practice model for providing psychiatric care in CBHCs that can improve treatment quality, patient experience and profitability in psychiatric clinic services. It also:
  • Illustrates how this model can help reduce burnout and improve retention of psychiatric providers working in CBHCs.
  • Explores how this model could enhance patient outcomes and the work experiences of all team members providing care.
  • Provides a detailed workflow to help organizations realize the value the psychiatric provider adds to the clinical enterprise of a behavioral health agency.

Want to learn more? Join us on Monday, February 8, from 2-3 p.m. ET, for a webinar exploring the paper's findings. 
Medicaid Wants More Than Health: Be Prepared For Contract Changes

“What we’re seeing across all of our government programs is an increased focus on whole-person well-being. Gone are the days when state Medicaid agencies pay a managed care organization (MCO) and expect only health care costs to be managed. Medicaid agencies are putting additional pressure on MCOs to impact more than the traditional HEDIS and diabetes measures. And that’s forcing MCOs to think differently about how they engage both medical and behavioral health providers, as well as community-based organizations.”

That was the lay of the land from Amy Kendall, Vice President, Complex Health Solutions, at CareSource. Ms. Kendall, who will be the keynote speaker on February 12 at the 2021 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute, talked to us about the “next normal” for Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs). She sees this shift as one that will affect the roles of specialty provider organizations caring for complex consumers, including those with serious mental illness (SMI) and intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). 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.

Affiliated with the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC)