August 5, 2021
Please note: this newsletter will not be published the week of August 9th
Governor Cuomo Announces $35 Million Available to Fund Operating Costs of at Least 1,400 Supportive Housing Units

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced the sixth funding round of his Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, which will provide up to $35 million in service and operating funds for at least 1,400 supportive housing units. Since its creation in 2016, ESSHI has provided operating funds for more than 5,400 units of supportive housing. It is just one component of the Governor's historic $20 billion housing plan, which has already created or preserved more than 7,900 units of supportive housing. The goal is now to create 20,000 units over 15 years, and the Budget includes additional capital funding to continue this historic progress. Read more here.
Words Matter: Language Can Reduce Mental Health and Addiction Stigma, NIH Leaders Say

In a perspective published in Neuro-psychopharmacology, leaders from the National Institutes of Health address how using appropriate language to describe mental illness and addiction can help to reduce stigma and improve how people with these conditions are treated in health care settings and throughout society. The authors define stigma as negative attitudes toward people that are based on certain distinguishing characteristics. More than a decade of research has shown that stigma contributes significantly to negative health outcomes and can pose a barrier to seeking treatment for mental illness or substance use disorders. Read more here.
SAMHSA Awards $250 Million to 100 Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers to Improve Community Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Treatment Services

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded 100 grants to increase access to facilities throughout the nation that provide community-based support for Americans in need of substance use disorder and mental health treatment services. Totaling $250 million, including $77 million from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the grants support the Biden-Harris Administration's priority of addressing the behavioral health needs of Americans—particularly those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 100 grants comprise $115 million in COVID relief funds, $77 million in American Rescue Plan funds and $58 million in annual appropriations. View recipients of the CCBHC Expansion Grants, and read more about the grant program here.
Behavioral Healthcare Executive Podcast

Take a listen to the July 30 episode of the BHE Podcast, which features ways to improve communication between staff members and between clinicians and patients, as well as what to look for when evaluating EHR platforms.

Special Guest: Health Information Management Systems CEO Khalid Al-Maskari

The BHE Podcast features interviews with C-level executives on M&A activity, staffing, payment models, healthcare legislation, and more.
Overdose Data, Often Scattered and Siloed, Pose Challenges for Researchers Racing to Predict Risk

As fatal overdoses once again rise — accounting for 92,183 deaths in 2020, a 30% increase from the year before — public health researchers are racing to develop better tools to prevent them.

Some see promise in models that pull in data and spit out predictions about who is at highest risk of developing opioid use disorder or overdosing, giving health officials and physicians an idea of where to target strained prevention resources. But experts say that a scattered and siloed system to collect data on overdoses and outcomes is hamstringing efforts to further develop and deploy those models. Read more here.

SUD Stakeholders Cautiously Optimistic About MAT Prescribing Flexibilities — But Are They Enough?

In late April, the Biden Administration announced new flexibilities to make it easier for eligible clinicians to prescribe the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) drug buprenorphine.

The changes allow doctors and certain clinicians registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to automatically administer buprenorphine to up to 30 patients at a time. Previously, clinicians had to complete extra hours of training and receive a special certification called an X-waiver before they were allowed to administer the MAT drug.

The rule change applies to eligible doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives. Read more here.

5 Ways Payers Have Tackled Mental, Behavioral Healthcare in 2021

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, payers have focused on improving and implementing mental and behavioral healthcare programs.

From January to June 2019, 11% of US adults reported experiencing anxiety or depression, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief. By January 2021, the share of adults who experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression had quadrupled.

In June 2020, nearly three months into the pandemic, 13% of all adults reported increased substance use or starting substance use during the pandemic. Among young adults, the impact was even higher: a quarter of all young people started or increased their substance use. Read more here.
Mental Health Advocates Seek Crisis Hotline Expansion Resources

Advocates are citing growing mental health concerns during the pandemic and the implementation of a 2020 law for a new national suicide hotline as reasons to attach suicide prevention resources to an infrastructure or appropriations bill.

A bipartisan 2020 law designated the three-digit phone number 9-8-8 as the new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24/7 crisis hotline that will connect callers with immediate counseling or referrals for local mental health services.

The new number is set to take effect on July 16, 2022, but advocates want to build crisis care infrastructure and add resources before then, including funds for specialized services for high-risk populations. Read more here.
Where Are We Now? Trends in Telehealth Utilization

Many forces have been driving the growth of telehealth over the past decade, including value-based reimbursement models, population health management trends, and technology advancements. As we have discussed in previous blog posts, the COVID-19 pandemic was the jet fuel that propelled telemedicine utilization into the stratosphere. This growth was, in large part, due to the necessity of limiting in-person contact to avoid widespread COVID-19 transmission. In fact, as COVID-19 began to spread across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) advised health care providers to offer care via telemedicine technologies wherever appropriate. However, not all of this growth in the telehealth space can be attributed to the necessity of social distancing during the pandemic; even as transmission of COVID-19 has slowed in many areas, providers continue to offer telehealth for patient care, and patients continue to utilize it. Read more here.

Building New Bridges – Behavioral Health & Law Enforcement

Across the United States, at least 20% of police calls for service involve a mental health or substance use crisis (see Building Mental Health Into Emergency Responses). But in some communities, that number can be far higher. Frederick Harran, Director of Public Safety for Bensalem Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, estimates that at least 80% of the crime his police department deals with is drug-related. Now more than ever, police departments are looking for expertise outside their wheelhouse and seeking meaningful partnerships with behavioral health provider organizations to address the crises they have to grapple with on a daily basis. Read more here.


August 17, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

August 18, 12 - 1 pm, CCSI

August 18, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

August 24, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

August 25, 12 - 1 pm, National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

August 26, 2 - 3 pm, American Association of Suicidology (AAS) & the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

August 30, 12:30 - 2 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

August 31, 1 - 2:15 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing


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

Executive Committee Meeting
August 11: 8 - 9 am

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

Membership Call
August 18: 9 - 10:30 am


Executive Committee Meeting
September 1: 8 am

LGU Billing Staff Call
September 2: 2 - 3 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
September 2: 3 - 4 pm

CLMHD Office Closed - Labor Day
September 6

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
September 8: 1 - 3 pm

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
September 9: 11 am - 12 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
September 14: 10 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
September 21: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Membership Call
September 22: 9 - 10:30 am

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
September 30: 1 - 2:30 pm

SAVE THE DATE: CLMHD Fall Full Membership Meeting
October 21-22 in Saratoga Springs, NY
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)