November 10, 2021
Governor Hochul Announces Administration Nominations and Appointments

Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced new administration nominations and appointments.

Dr. Chinazo O. Cunningham will be nominated as Commissioner, Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). Most recently, she served as the Executive Deputy Commissioner of Mental Hygiene at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She joined the agency from Montefiore Health System and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she is a Professor of Medicine, Family and Social Medicine, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Cunningham has more than 20 years' experience in research, care and program-development that focuses on people who use drugs. She has also partnered with community to develop pioneering programs to promote the health of this population. Dr. Cunningham led one of the first clinics in New York City to integrate buprenorphine into primary care, which subsequently expanded across seven clinics citywide. She also went on to train hundreds of doctors in the treatment of substance use disorders in primary care. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Announces Availability of $4 Million in Federal Funding to Strengthen the State's Mental Health Peer Workforce

Governor Kathy Hochul last Friday announced that the New York State Office of Mental Health has secured $4 million in workforce recruitment and retention funds that will help strengthen the state's mental health system by increasing access to peer services that support individuals and families in a wide array of treatment and service options.

The Federal funding was secured through time-limited expansions of the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant and the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage share of funds for Medicaid programs. Read more here.
New York's Mental Health Sector 'In Trouble' as Providers Call for Radical Change

New York’s mental health providers say they are not OK. At a public hearing held Tuesday by the state Assembly mental health committee, provider after provider laid bare the anger and frustration they feel during year two of the coronavirus pandemic.

The need for mental health services is higher than ever, they said. But nearly a decade of rising costs, low reimbursement rates and bed reductions — coupled with the stress and burnout of working demanding jobs for low pay — has workers leaving in droves, they said. And the impact, providers warned, is life or death. Read more here.
Western New Yorker Appointed to State's Opioid Settlement Board

A local man whose son lost his battle to opioid addiction has been chosen to sit on the state's Opioid Settlement Board.

New York's Attorney General, Letitia James announced Monday the appointment of Avi Israel, founder and president of Save the Michaels of the World.

Israel's son Michael committed suicide ten years ago following an addiction to prescription pain killers. His death led Israel and his wife Julie to found the non-profit who's aim is to raises awareness of prescription and other drug addictions. Read more here.
Discrimination of Any Kind Can Lead to Much Higher Risk of Mental and Behavioral Issues for Young People, Study Finds

Young adults who experience discrimination about their bodies, race, age or sex have a greater risk of dealing with mental health problems than those who do not, a new study has found.

Encountering discrimination -- especially racism -- has long been associated with negative effects on overall well-being, such as higher levels of stress, poor cognitive function, anxiety, depression and substance use, previous studies have found.

Those who faced discrimination frequently -- at least a few times per month -- were around 25% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder and twice as likely to develop severe psychological distress than people who didn't experience discrimination or did less often, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Read more here.
They’re Not Just “Little Adults” ― Value-Based Payment Models that Include Children Must Focus on Their Needs

“Children are not little adults” is an oft-heard phrase in pediatric health care circles. Children have distinct health needs, and this sentiment reflects the need to develop approaches to care that are fundamentally different from adults, given the contrasting needs and areas of focus at different stages in the life course.

As value-based payment (VBP) becomes widespread, including in state Medicaid programs, VBP programs increasingly include children. However, the majority of VBP programs serving children are very similar, if not identical, to models focused on adults ― essentially treating them like “little adults.” Since children and adults have fundamentally different health care needs, it is important for stakeholders to consider how to best leverage VBP models to improve quality of care for children, as models designed primarily with adult health needs in mind may miss critical opportunities to improve pediatric care and advance healthy child development trajectories. Read more here.

Telehealth and SUD: Lessons From the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic drove significant expansion in state and federal telehealth policies, playing a critical role in ensuring access to substance use disorder (SUD) services, even during quarantine. In a recent webinar, the American Medical Association (AMA) and Manatt examined changes in telehealth policies, how those changes are impacting SUD treatment, and which new policies should be extended long term to maximize continued access to SUD services. The program also analyzed key lessons providers learned during the pandemic about using telehealth to serve those with SUDs—and how to carry those important learnings forward.

There were so many excellent questions asked during the program that we didn’t have time to cover them all. Below are six compelling questions that viewers posed, along with the responses from our panel of thought leaders.

Additional article of interest: All Is New In Addiction Treatment
New York Kids in Foster Care Could Almost Fill Times Union Center

If all the children in New York’s foster care program at the end of June were put in the Times Union Center, it wouldn’t leave much room. It would be like going to a packed show there and being surrounded by more than three out of four individuals in foster care, a little more than 84% of everyone in attendance.

The Times Union Center can hold up to 17,500 people, according to its website. As of June 30, 2021, there were 14,749 kids in foster care, the majority of them 5-years-old or younger based on the four age groups represented in the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) Children in Care and Custody of Local Departments of Social Services second-quarter report.
Read more here.
The Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Veteran Suicide: A Collaborative Effort in New York State

On November 2nd and 3rd, the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) hosted a virtual conference with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Veterans and their Families Technical Assistance Center, and the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services on veteran suicide prevention efforts and the impact of The Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Veteran Suicide in New York State.

Our nation has been in the midst of a suicide epidemic—one that has been growing in size for more than 20 years—and the veteran community has been one of the hardest hit. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) teamed up with SAMHSA to create The Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Veteran Suicide, an initiative that combines federal efforts with those of local leaders. The Governor’s Challenge is underway in 35 states—including New York—and has sought to apply a public health approach to developing and implementing a strategy for preventing veteran suicide. Read more here.
HHS Announces $100M for State Loan Repayment Programs

HHS recently announced that it will give $100 million to the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), within the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), to help remedy the nation’s health care workforce shortage. The funding is derived from the American Rescue Plan and is a five-fold increase compared to previous years, representing a renewed investment in primary care. Specifically, the NHSC provides loan repayments and financial assistance to providers who commit to working in provider shortage areas. States can apply for the grants until April 2022, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that it will distribute up to 50 awards, reaching up to $1 million per year over four years. Mental health professionals and substance use disorder counselors both qualify as eligible disciplines within the SLRP.

November 16, 10 - 11 am, OMH

November 16, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 16, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 16, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 16, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA, HHS Office of Minority Health

November 17, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

November 17, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

November 18, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Association of Counties

November 18, Putnam County

November 19, 11 am - 12 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 30, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

November 30, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition

December 1, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

December 1, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

December 9, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

December 14, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

December 15, 10 - 11 am, OMH


Children & Families Committee Meeting
November 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm

November 25 - 26


Executive Committee Call
December 1: 8 am

LGU Billing Staff Call
December 2: 2 - 3 pm

Addictions Services & Recovery Meeting
December 9: 11 am - 12 pm

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

CLMHD Membership Call
December 15: 9 - 10:30 am

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
December 16: 1 - 3 pm

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