May 6, 2021
Arc of Genesee Orleans and Livingston-Wyoming Eyeing Merger

The Genesee Orleans and Livingston-Wyoming Arc chapters may merge, Arc officials said last Friday.

The announcement came following several months of meeting, negotiating, and work with The Arc New York. Conditional approval for a merger has been granted, Arc said. Officials said the result will be a four-county-wide organization. The new agency will use consolidated resources to ensure quality services to all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families from the GLOW region, Arc said. Read more here.
Jefferson County Slapped with Unexpected $244,000 Bill, Highlights Problems with State Competency Restoration Program

Last month, Jefferson County received a surprise bill from New York state for $244,000, nearly a quarter of the county’s emergency contingency fund.

The bill, from the state Office of Mental Health, was for competency restoration services. It’s a New York state program for criminal defendants who are determined unable to understand the court proceedings against them because of mental disease or defect, that restores their competency through medical treatment at state-run mental health care centers.

Jefferson County is currently responsible for two people undergoing competency restoration treatment. Timothy J. Ruetten, Director of Jefferson County Community Services, said those two cases are costing, on average, $1,200 a day. Read more here.
HANYS Looks to Call Attention to Complex Patients Stuck in Hospitals
The Healthcare Association of New York State published a white paper last week to raise awareness of complex case discharge delays. These concern patients with complex conditions admitted into hospitals who are unable to be discharged due to a lack of safe or appropriate facilities to receive them for continued care.

Such delays are not new, said Bea Grause, president of HANYS. "It has been an issue for as long as I've been a nurse, which is over 40 years," she said. However, the time to elevate awareness is now, Grause said. Read more here. Read more here.
Schumer Says Funding on the Way for Child Care Services as Part of American Rescue Plan

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer was in Cortland on Monday, where he announced that more than $1.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan will be going to child care providers and employers to meet ongoing needs. Schumer said that COVID-19 increased demands for child care, and the funding will help many local families.

Schumer said that Central New York is slated to get a sizable portion of the $1.8 billion and that eligible parents will receive child care subsidies, including essential workers. Local facilities will be able to use the funding to reimburse for expenses of the past year. Read more here.
Morgan Stanley Announces Inaugural Alliance for Children’s Mental Health Innovation Awards

Morgan Stanley recently announced the launch of its inaugural Alliance for Children’s Mental Health Innovation Awards, a nationwide call for nonprofits to submit transformative mental health solutions that will help improve the lives of children and young people. Through this initiative, the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health – composed of key leaders in the space – will award a total of $500,000 in grants and provide consulting and capital showcasing opportunities to selected U.S.-based 501(c)3 public charities that are actively working to address adverse mental health outcomes such as stress, anxiety, depression and disruptive behaviors in innovative ways.
Taking the Call: A National Conference Exploring Innovative Community Responder Models

Communities across the U.S. are launching new responses to emergency calls. They are redefining who answers calls for service involving mental health or substance use crises, homelessness, “quality-of-life” issues, and other low-level situations.

Taking the Call will bring people together from across the U.S. to explore how jurisdictions are serving as laboratories for innovation to ensure that emergency calls receive the appropriate response. The conference will explore the opportunities and challenges of these community responder models and whether or how the approach may improve community health, lessen the burden on law enforcement, and reduce unnecessary justice system contact.

The virtual event on May 20, 2021 will feature a panel discussion. Taking the Call will also include a national conference, presented virtually, on October 20-21, 2021. Read more here.
Request for State Participation: 2021 Direct Service Workforce Learning Collaborative

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invites states to participate in a learning collaborative that will facilitate the development, implementation, and expansion of innovative strategies for strengthening the direct service workforce (DSW) and addressing specific challenges related to the DSW.

The learning collaborative will consist of eight virtual peer-to-peer learning sessions between May and December 2021. The duration of each event is not expected to exceed 90 minutes. Participants will actively engage and share among their peers, identify best practices, and support the implementation of promising practices in their state. Each event will have a pre-identified topic with accompanying resources for states to reference at a later time, including a summary of each event. Read more here.

May 7, 11 am - 12 pm, CCHCP

May 7, 1 - 2 pm, CSG Justice Center

May 7, 1 - 2:30 pm, CSH

May 7, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, The Council of State Governments Justice Center

May 10, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, CMS

May 11, 2:30 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 11, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 12, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 13, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

May 13, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 13, 2 - 3:30 pm, NASMHPD

May 13, 2 - 3:30 pm, The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and the MacArthur Foundation

May 17, 12:30 - 2 pm, CHCS

May 17, 3 - 4 pm, CMS

May 17, 3:30 - 5 pm, NASMHPD

May 18, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 19, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

May 19, 11 am - 12:30 pm, MHTTC

May 19, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

May 19, 4 - 5 pm, NAMI-NY

May 20, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 26, 10 - 11 am, OMH

May 26, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 26, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 27, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


LGU Clinic Operators Call
May 11: 10 - 11:30 am

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Business Meeting
May 11: 2 - 5 pm

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
May 13: 11 am - 12 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting
May 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Webinar: 911 Diversion: Blueprint for Supporting Individuals in Mental Health Crisis
May 20: 10 - 11:30 am

Webinar: CLMHD Criminal Justice Interactive Data Matching Tool 
May 27, 1 - 2:30 pm

CLMHD Offices Closed - Memorial Day
May 31
CLMHD Chair, Kathy Coons, Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
On Tuesday, Kathy Coons, Commissioner of the Rensselaer County Department of Mental Health, was honored with OMH's What's Great In Our State Lifetime Achievement Award.
This annual event celebrates Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and promotes children’s mental health with highlights on the great work being done throughout the state of New York.

Kathy, who serves as CLMHD Chair, was recognized for her career-long dedication to direct care, advocacy, and the oversight of programs for youth struggling with mental health issues. Her passion for helping children and families in New York State has helped influence policy, programing, and funding for children's mental health. Congrats, Kathy, on this well-deserved honor.
Mental Health Services Wane as Insurers Appear to Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic

Therapists and other behavioral health care providers cut hours, reduced staffs and turned away patients during the pandemic as more Americans experienced depression symptoms and drug overdoses, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The report on patient access to behavioral health care during the covid-19 crisis also casts doubt on whether insurers are abiding by federal law requiring parity in insurance coverage, which forbids health plans from passing along more of the bill for mental health care to patients than they would for medical or surgical care.

The GAO’s findings are “the tip of the iceberg” in how Americans with mental, emotional and substance use disorders are treated differently than those with physical conditions, said JoAnn Volk, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms who studies mental health coverage. Read more here.

Why a Gun Store Manager Says People Like Him can be a Missing Link to Stop Suicide

Joe Liuni felt a little strange in a room full of mental health professionals in New York state.

As a gun owner, general manager of a gun store and shooting range, and president of a federation overseeing local hunting, fishing and shooting clubs, he often finds himself on the opposite side to those declaring firearms a public health issue and calling for more control.

Yet, he quickly felt more comfortable after learning four of the mental health professionals at his table, all women, had handgun permits. The meeting, organized by the Ulster County Mental Health Department, a Hudson Valley community two hours north of New York City, was focused on suicide prevention -- a goal they all shared. Read more here.

Teachers’ Mental Health Has Suffered in the Pandemic. Here’s How Districts Can Help

Teachers’ stress and anxiety have soared and their morale has plummeted during the pandemic, a flammable combination that could burn them out and lead them to leave their jobs. It’s more important than ever, experts say, for districts to support their teachers by looking after their mental health.

Even before the pandemic, districts were paying more attention to teachers’ mental and emotional wellness, offering sessions on mindfulness, yoga, exercise, and healthy eating. But COVID-19 has created wildfires of mental and emotional suffering across all job sectors, including teaching.

The consulting group McKinsey & Co. surveyed 1,000 employers, and 90 percent reported that the pandemic was affecting the behavioral health of their employees. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that rates of anxiety and depression have quadrupled during COVID-19. Read more here.
Data Science & Healthcare: Why Health Plans Must Do Better with Data

After a year deep in the pandemic, healthcare is ready for an age of digital transformation, and health plans have a significant opportunity to lead that transformation.

Healthcare technology is the ultimate driver for lowering costs and improving the immediacy of clinical and non-clinical actions, and it's the payer's opportunity to effectively utilize health IT solutions and realize these technologies' full potential.

One such area is data science — a term that saturates the market, yet many payers today still struggle to translate from a concept into an actionable tool. Read more here.
Should Nurses Take a 30% Pay Cut When Their Patient Turns 23?

For the most fragile New Yorkers and those who care for them, turning 23 brings enormous consequences.

With one ear on the sound monitor linked to his daughter’s room, Joe Trimarchi sat at his dining room table in the Rosebank section of Staten Island. He was stuffing dozens of envelopes, hoping that one of them would land on the desk of a politician who might care. Mr. Trimarchi, 55, is a cashier in the billing department of Staten Island University Hospital, but what animates him is advocating for his daughter Alexia.

Since she was born 20 years ago with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, and hydrocephalus, he has been pestering government agencies and state senators. The Trimarchis have endured two decades of anxiety, hospitalizations and middle-of-the-night scares. But now, the family is facing a full-blown crisis.

When Alexia turns 23, the New York State Department of Health will change her classification from “medically fragile child” to “medically fragile adult.” That distinction, which may seem minor, has enormous consequences. For one thing, Alexia’s caregivers will no longer receive the same hourly rate to which they’ve become accustomed. Read more here.
2021 Integrative Supportive Housing (ISH) Application Materials Now Available

Application instructions with the required cover sheet and materials are now available for the Integrative Supportive Housing (ISH) Program 2021 Round.

This application should be completed by provider agencies that are interested in pursuing any OPWDD funding associated with new Integrated Supportive Housing projects, including capital dollars, rent subsidies and/or service funding. The application is required for any supportive housing project that includes a request for preferential tenancy units (“set-aside units”) for persons with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) regardless of whether the project is seeking capital funding. Read more here.
FCC Now Accepting Applications for Round 2 of COVID-19 Telehealth Program

The Federal Communications Commission last week announced the application window for Round 2 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program is now open.

Applications will be accepted through Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 12:00 PM ET. Round 2 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program is a $249.95 million federal initiative that builds on the $200 million program established as part of the CARES Act. Applications can be submitted online here.
FDA Approves Higher Dosage of Naloxone Nasal Spray to Treat Opioid Overdose

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the approval of a higher dose naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray product to treat opioid overdose. The newly approved product delivers 8 milligrams (mg) of naloxone into the nasal cavity. The FDA had previously approved 2 mg and 4 mg naloxone nasal spray products.

Naloxone is a medicine that can be administered by individuals with or without medical training to help reduce opioid overdose deaths. If naloxone is administered quickly, it can counter the opioid overdose effects, usually within minutes. A higher dose of naloxone provides an additional option in the treatment of opioid overdoses. Read more here.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: How Vermont Integrated its Community Treatment Standards into its State Prisons
The opioid epidemic has resulted in the incarceration of individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) for drug-related crimes. When incarcerated without access to treatment, people with OUD undergo forced abstinence from substance use, which reduces tolerance and increases their risk of overdose death following release. Recognizing these challenges, Vermont extended its statewide Hub and Spoke treatment model into its corrections system to provide best OUD treatment practices, which includes medication-assisted treatment. Read more here.

New mHealth Study Takes on Health Outcomes Among the Homeless

A new study being launched out of the University of Texas aims to see whether mHealth can improve healthcare access and outcomes for homeless people.

Funded by a grant from the Health and Human Services Department’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the five-year program will put smartphones in the hands of 60 people in and around Austin who are homeless and have multiple chronic conditions and medications. The goal is to see whether an mHealth platform can be used to improve care management for this population through targeted text messages, medication management, healthcare appointment scheduling and access to social services. Read more here.
Best Practices for Integrating SDOH Data into the EHR

Identifying and implementing social determinants of health (SDOH) data into the EHR is critical to finding answers to a state’s most significant issues.

Once identified, SDOH data helps healthcare providers make social services referrals, but the process for doing so using technology is challenging.

“It's not that physicians have totally ignored social determinants of health, but impactful information—such as the fact that the patient had to take time off from a low-paying job and ride two buses to get to the doctor's office—isn't typically collected in electronic medical records,” said Brian Dixon, PhD, director of public health at the Regenstrief Institute.

Health systems across the country are attempting to implement SDOH data into EHRs and health information exchanges (HIEs). However, most health systems face significant issues, such as interoperability, when implementing SDOH into the EHR. 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)