September 16, 2021
Governor Hochul Announces Series of Universal Mask Requirements to Protect New Yorkers amid Rise of Delta Variant

Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced a series of universal mask requirements designed to protect New Yorkers against the highly contagious Delta variant and the recent surge in COVID-19 infections statewide.

The requirement applies to New York State Office of Children and Family Services-licensed and -registered child care centers, home-based group family and family child care programs, after-school child care programs and enrolled legally exempt group programs during operational hours. Implementing the mask regulation in child care programs will provide consistency between child care program children and school children, many of whom often share the same buildings.

New masking requirements will also apply to congregate programs and facilities licensed, registered, operated, certified or approved by the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Read more here.
Funds to Aid Mental Health Program in Clinton County
A local official hopes state funding will help connect people who struggle with behavioral health issues to the supports and services they need sooner rather than later.

During a recent meeting of the Clinton County Legislature's Health Committee, County Director of Community Services Richelle Gregory shared that the state had identified the county as a community with a higher incarceration rate of those with serious mental illness than the rest of the state.

As a result, the state Office of Mental Health could provide up to $300,000 to support law enforcement diversion, a process through which officers help refer those they come in contact with to services.

Gregory, who leads the Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services department, has submitted a proposal and is awaiting word on if the county will be awarded funding, how much and when. Read more here.
Tele-Psychiatry a Resounding Success in 5-year trial

John Nolan served in the United States. Army and Marines and later worked in law enforcement and as a correctional officer. A career spent dealing with traumatic events led to post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia. He felt like his life was spinning out of control.

Nolan was greatly helped by telepsychiatry services in his town, 125 miles from Little Rock, Ark. He was invited to chair the community advisory board for the largest trial of telepsychiatry to date.

The five-year study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that telepsychiatry in rural, federally qualified health centers was a resounding success for patients who had screened positive for bipolar disorder and/or post traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD. Read more here.
Disability Service Providers Shuttering In Many States

Half of states are reporting that Medicaid home and community-based services providers have closed since the start of the pandemic, with many seeing multiple types of services shut their doors.

In a survey of Medicaid home and community-based services programs in 41 states that was conducted through mid-July, 25 reported that at least one provider had permanently closed. The findings come in a report released recently from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read more here.

Data on Justice-Involved Populations Targets SDOH, Cuts Recidivism

Clocking in at around $150,000 in a single state annually, recidivism is a costly problem for the American taxpayer, and yet one of the most poignant examples of where concerted care coordination and social determinants of health work can help.

Figures show recently jailed people experience a slate of health problems at a higher rate than individuals with no criminal justice involvement. They’re about three times more likely to have HIV/AIDS, are seven times more likely to have Hepatitis C, and they are at higher risk for all-cause morbidity and mortality.

What’s more, justice-involved populations see high rates of behavioral and mental health issues. Between 15 and 25% of incarcerated people in the US have some form of mental illness, while just 5% of the general population do. Read more here.
Report: CCBHCs and the Justice Systems
At the request of the National Center for State Courts, National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness (Task Force), the National Council created a report discussing how states and localities utilize the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model to partner with various divisions of the justice systems, with recommendations for states as more policymakers begin to implement the model through legislative and executive actions. The Task Force seeks to identify a new model that creates a team to “triage” a case once filed in court, much like a patient within an emergency department.
Managing The 5%

There is a lot of investment money going into the mental health field—in fact, $14.7 billion in the first half of this year. Much of that investment is focused on digital behavioral health systems and tools for both professional and self-care.

However, these new platforms and tools are not the perfect fit for every consumer with a mental illness. For the approximately 5% of the population—those with multiple chronic conditions and complex support needs—that use a majority of the health care resources, a different approach is needed to assure good consumer outcomes and prevent inappropriate use of resources. Read more here.
Medicaid and Health-Related Social Needs: Four Insights over Four Years

People struggling to secure food and housing also struggle to stay healthy. This reality is glaringly obvious, and painfully urgent for so many. But what can Medicaid do?

Over my four years with the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), I’ve helped state Medicaid agencies, health plans, and community-based organizations think through issues regarding health-related social needs (HRSN) and social care integration. Much of my work has involved partnering with states on primary care innovation efforts, specifically, and how to better identify and address unmet HRSN in the context of those efforts. This blog post outlines four lessons from the last few years for supporting health care stakeholders to meaningfully address unmet HRSN, with a focus on state activities relating to advanced primary care and Medicaid managed care. Read more here.
Black Opioid Deaths Increase Faster Than Whites, Spurring Calls For Treatment Equity

A study published last Thursday reveals a growing racial disparity in opioid overdose death rates. Deaths among African Americans are growing faster than among whites across the country. The study authors call for an "antiracist public health approach" to address the crisis in Black communities.

The study, conducted in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, analyzed overdose data and death certificates from four states: Kentucky, Ohio, Massachusetts and New York. It found that the rate of opioid deaths among Black people increased by 38% from 2018 to 2019, while rates for other racial and ethnic groups did not rise. Read more here.

New York State Intensifies Court Oversight of Group Care for Foster Youth

Child welfare experts have long known how critical it is for kids to be raised in a family home. Children raised in institutions and group facilities struggle to be seen and heard, and face more difficulty later in life.

But in the past, there was little in federal law compelling local governments to scale back their reliance on group homes and residential treatment centers for foster children — settings that all too often have become placements of convenience.

Beginning next month, there will be new incentives in New York state: The federal government will chip in far less funding for “congregate care” placements, and the courts will require far greater justification for why a child cannot be placed with a family. Read more here.
NYS OASAS Announces the Launch of Kinship Care Toolkit for People who are Caring for Children who have Parents that Can't

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (NYS OASAS) last week announced the launch of the Kinship Care Toolkit to support relatives and family friends who are caring full-time for children whose parents can no longer take care of them due to substance use or addiction, incarceration, death, or other circumstances. The toolkit was developed in partnership with the NYS Kinship Navigator. Read more here.
SAMHSA Awards $123 Million in Grants for Multifront Approach to Combat the Nation’s Overdose Epidemic

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is awarding more than $123 million in funding through six grant programs to provide multifaceted support to communities and health care providers as the Nation continues to combat the overdose epidemic.

These SAMHSA grant programs reflect the agency’s and Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing mission to connect people who have substance use disorders (SUD) to culturally appropriate, evidence-based treatments and supports. Read more here.
SAMHSA Awards $17.8 Million for Mental Health Awareness Training for People Who Interact with Those Experiencing Mental Health Disorders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released 145 grant awards totaling $17.8 million to help communities increase mental health awareness among individuals who interact with people who are experiencing or exhibiting symptoms of a mental health disorder and refer them to appropriate services. Each grant recipient will receive up to $125,000 for the first year of this five-year grant program. Read more here.

September 17, 2 - 3 pm, Center for Connected Health Policy

September 21, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition

September 22, 2 - 3 pm, National Association for Mental Wellbeing

September 22, 2 - 3 pm, National Association for Mental Wellbeing

September 23, 1 - 2:15 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

September 28, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition

September 28, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

September 28, 29, 30, OMH/Suicide Prevention Center of NY

September 29, 11:30 am - 1 pm, FOR-NY

September 29, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

September 29, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition

September 29, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

September 29, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, Center for Healthcare Strategies

September 30, 10 am - 6 pm, American Association of Suicidology

September 30, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

September 30, 1 - 4:10 pm, City & State NY


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


LGU Billing Staff Call
October 7: 2 - 3 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
October 7: 3 - 4 pm

October 11

LGU Clinic Operators Call
October 12: 10 - 11:30 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
October 14; 11 am - 12 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting
October 19: 11:30 am - 1 pm

CLMHD Fall Full Membership Meeting
October 21-22 in Saratoga Springs, NY

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee
October 27: 1 - 3 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)