December 18, 2020
Rural Health Network Honors Oswego County DCS, Nicole Kolmsee

In celebration of National Rural Health Day, the Rural Health Network (RHN) of Oswego County recognized two community members for their exceptional leadership and their work as advocates for Oswego County health providers and residents.

Charge Nurse Crystal Arnold, RN, CASAC, with Farnham Family Services, and Nicole Kolmsee, MS, Director of Community Services with the Oswego County Division of Mental Hygiene were honored with the Rural Health Network’s Rural Health Champion Award for their dedication to improving services within the county.

Kolmsee has served as the Director of Community Services for the Oswego County Division of Mental Hygiene since 2006 and was recognized for her dedication to the Department of Social Services and her willingness to support community providers in the development of programming. Read more here.
OPWDD to Open New Mental Health Extended Treatment Unit in Queens

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) today announced the opening of a new specialty mental health extended treatment unit (ETU) on the grounds of the former Bernard Fineson Developmental Center in Queens. The ETU will support adults over 18 from the five boroughs of New York City who have both an intellectual and developmental disability and a mental health diagnosis and are ready to leave inpatient treatment.

The new 12-bed unit opened its doors on December 14 and will be a "step down" unit, meaning that while the people being cared for still require a high level of care and observation, it is not to the degree required in an inpatient psychiatric hospital setting. People being treated in the unit will come directly from inpatient psychiatric treatment. Read more here.
New York State Launches 24-Hour Hotline for People Using Drugs Alone

New Yorkers who are using drugs alone, and who would like someone to stay on the phone with them and call emergency services if they become unresponsive, can now call the state’s new Never Use Alone hotline at 1-800-997-2280. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The New York hotline is a collaboration between Truth Pharm, a Binghamton-based harm reduction nonprofit, and the national Never Use Alone hotline. The operators are all volunteers, although anyone who’s also a Certified Recovery Peer Advocates can have their hours volunteered for the hotline count toward their required CRPA service hours. So far, 25 volunteers across New York State have been trained to take calls and another 20 have signed up. Read more here.
As COVID-19 Surges, AMA Sounds Alarm on Nation’s Overdose Epidemic

The U.S. is seeing its worst COVID-19 surge of the year. Yet as the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths all rise, the country continues to deal with a concurrent epidemic affecting Americans: A drug overdose epidemic driven by illicit fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine.

AMA Immediate Past President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, recently joined the National Association of Attorneys General to discuss the overdose epidemic as part of the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute webinar, “COVID-19 and Its Impacts on Substance Abuse.” Read more here.

SAMHSA Releases Report on Behavioral Health Workforce Needs

SAMHSA has released the “Behavioral Health Workforce Report,” which documents effective mental and substance use disorder treatment models and pertinent staffing needs – as part of the agency’s goal to increase access to evidence-based mental and substance use disorder care.


CLMHD Office Closed - Christmas
December 25


CLMHD Office Closed - New Year's Day
January 1

Executive Committee Meeting
January 6: 8 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
January 14: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

CLMHD Office Closed - MLK Jr. Day
January 18

Children & Families Committee Meeting
January 19: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Membership Call
January 20: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Cuomo: Free Vaccines For New Yorkers; NY Advancing $1.5B For Orgs

Insurers will be ordered to cover the costs of all coronavirus vaccinations in New York, and the second phase of vaccination — which includes essential workers and high-risk members of the general public — is expected to begin in late January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. Additionally, the state will advance $1.5 billion in funding to cash-strapped organizations amid a looming $15 billion statewide budget shortfall, he said.

Cuomo announced a new "one-stop" shop for coronavirus vaccination information that he said will help inform residents about when they can get inoculated. In doing so, he said no one in the state will "pay a penny" to be vaccinated.

To do this, state finance officials will direct health insurers to fully cover any COVID-19 vaccination administration costs.

The state is also establishing regional vaccination hubs led by local hospital systems to coordinate the allocation of doses. Each hub will create a medical plan for its region for Phase Two and submit that plan the first week in January, Cuomo said. Read more here.

Congress Passes Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act

Following bipartisan and bicameral negotiation, on Wednesday, Congress passed the Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act. This legislation is designed to provide aid and resources to care coordination efforts between community mental health and addiction treatment centers and local law enforcement agencies. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. Read more here.
Peer Recovery Programs are an Integral Part of Addiction Treatment, Recovery

I still remember the charge nurse looking at me when I walked into the hospital four years ago for my first assignment as a peer recovery specialist.

“Hey,” she said. “Are you the overdose guy?”
I nodded.

She pointed me toward the far corner of the emergency department, where a man lay in a hospital bed. “He’s a real winner,” she said wryly.

I glanced over at him, paused, and replied, “Once upon a time, I was that winner. The only difference between him and me was that I was also handcuffed to the bed.”

When I think back on that night, I realize how much progress we’ve made in increasing access to addiction treatment and support services. I also think about how much more work we have ahead of us in combating the opioid epidemic, which has been overshadowed but made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

CMS Announces New Model for Medicaid Managed Care Organizations Serving Beneficiaries Dually Eligible for Medicare and Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation is announcing a new opportunity to enable Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to better serve enrollees who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. This new Model opportunity is the first CMS initiative designed to harness the power of Medicaid MCOs to coordinate Medicare and Medicaid services and improve health outcomes for the population of dually eligible beneficiaries who are in both Medicaid managed care and Medicare fee-for-service (FFS).  

Currently, Medicaid MCOs do not have an incentive to coordinate care in a way that reduces Medicare FFS costs for dually eligible beneficiaries. Read more here.
New Rules Open Up Value-Based Care, Partnership Opportunities for Behavioral Providers

Two new final rules from the federal government could help behavioral health organizations pursue value-based care agreements and partner with hospitals and health systems down the line.

The rules in question modernize the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the Physician Self-Referral Law, also known as Stark Law. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the rules on November 20, 2020.

Among other things, they’re intended to reduce barriers to value-based reimbursement (VBR) and care coordination, accelerating health care’s transformation from a volume- to value-based model.

For the most part, the rules take effect January 19, 2021. Behavioral health providers will start to see some of the rules’ impacts right away. Read more here.
For Telehealth to Keep Growing, Tech Access, Reimbursement Issues Need to be Ironed Out

The pandemic has overwhelmingly converted health care providers to offering telemedicine, and that trend is expected to continue next year and beyond, according to a new report from PwC that was published this week. However, existing challenges need to be addressed to ensure the equitable and successful growth of telehealth programs.

As telehealth services become more sophisticated, there is the risk of alienating lower-income communities that lack access to technology, according to the PwC Health Research Institute's Top Health Industries Issues report. Read more here.

New SAMHSA Guide: Treatment for Suicidal Ideation, Self-harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth

The goal of this guide is to provide interventions to treat for suicidal ideation, self-harm, and suicide attempts among youth. It provides research on implementation and examples of the ways that these recommendations can be implemented. View the Guide.
Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics for Schizophrenia: Why They Deserve Another Look

Despite the efficacy and safety of second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) long-acting injectables (LAIs) in treating schizophrenia, psychiatrists have not considered these agents as first-line therapy. To fully understand the hesitancy to adopt these injectables, a half-century retrospective is necessary. Originally designed to eliminate poor adherence in patients with schizophrenia, the first antipsychotic injectables were viewed with suspicion and coercion. This negative perception was due to delayed disappearance of side effects after discontinuation, patient reluctance to accept injections, and the patient’s feeling of being controlled. Because clinicians prescribed LAIs when patients were nonadherent to treatment or perceived as a danger to others, they were primarily viewed as second- or third-line agents.

“Previously, patients thought to be eligible for LAIs — also reflected in past guidelines — were chronically ill patients, those with multiple relapses, established nonadherence, or patients already on LAIs or asking for them,” explained Christoph U. Correll, MD, professor of psychiatry and molecular medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/ Northwell, in Hempstead, New York. 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)