March 24, 2022
Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Expand the Opioid Settlement Board from 19 to 21 Members

Governor Kathy Hochul last Friday, after signing legislation expanding the Opioid Settlement Board from 19 members to 21 members, announced her two appointments to the Board.

"As we make our comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must commit to also mitigating the impact of the opioid pandemic New Yorkers have endured for many years," Governor Hochul said. "That is why I am appointing Anne Constantino and Debra Pantin, two dedicated and qualified public servants to work with me in delivering results to improve prevention, treatment, and recovery for New Yorkers who need our support." Read more here.
Hochul Offers New Public Safety Plan to Lawmakers to Tweak Bail Reform

Gov. Kathy Hochul is taking a stance on the state’s controversial bail reform laws that have become potent political ammunition as the state’s leaders grapple with rising crime across New York City and the state.

Hochul this week sent legislators a confidential 10-point plan, first reported by the New York Post, that outlines public safety proposals she has so far been reluctant to publicly address. Read more here.

Biden Signs Law to Support the Mental Health of Medical Workers

On March 18, President Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, named for a Columbia emergency medicine physician, into law. The act will provide federal funding for mental health education and awareness campaigns aimed at protecting the well-being of health care workers.

The new law—the first to provide such funding—is named for Lorna Breen, MD, an emergency medicine physician and faculty member at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Irving Medical Center who died by suicide in April 2020 at the peak of the first COVID surge. Read more here.
Bill Backs Up New 988 Suicide Prevention Line with Funding

In advance of the rollout of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's new three-digit number, legislators have announced a bill to help fund its implementation.The bill includes federal funding and guidance for states and localities preparing for the July launch, including mental health block grants and $100 million to partner with cities on mobile crisis response teams to help stabilize people in need. It would also increase the amount of federal funding for the Lifeline, which runs a national backup network to receive calls that can't be picked up at the state and local levels, and provide $10 million for an awareness campaign about the new 988 number -- modeled after 911. Read more here.

Governor Hochul Announces Availability of Up to $1 Million to Expand Opioid Treatment Program Services in New York State

Governor Kathy Hochul last Friday announced the availability of up to $1 million in funding for Opioid Treatment Program Providers to establish additional locations outside of their current facilities. This initiative is designed to help bring these services to currently underserved locations, and to address the growing need for OTP services across New York State. Read more here.

Building Effective Partnerships with Continuums of Care to Increase Housing Options for People Leaving Prisons and Jails

As leaders and people impacted by the criminal justice system work to improve outcomes for people leaving prisons and jails, one fact has become clear: access to stable, affordable housing is a critical component of reentry, and it is highly effective at preventing future involvement in the justice system. However, despite the importance of housing in reducing recidivism, the supply of affordable housing continues to be limited nationwide. Additionally, people leaving prisons and jails often face barriers to accessing available housing due to stigma and criminal record restrictions. To offset these issues, reentry coordinators, discharge planners, and other justice system partners must develop partnerships with their local homeless and housing assistance systems—particularly with their community’s Continuum of Care (CoC)—to help connect people in reentry with vital housing options. Here are answers to four frequently asked questions about building effective partnerships with CoCs. Read more here.
There’s a Mental-Health Crisis Among American Children. Why?

Last June, researchers from Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine documented six unusual cases in the journal Movement Disorders. The subjects were teenage girls between 13 and 16 who had started having “abrupt-onset tic-like movements.” The tics were puzzling because Tourette’s syndrome and other tic disorders — characterized by involuntary and repeated movements or sounds — are far more common among boys and tend to first appear in early childhood with small movements; the girls’ movements, though, were large, accompanied by vocalizations and had other unique traits. Among them: The girls all described having watched TikTok videos of tics before their symptoms began, suggesting the potential spread of a social contagion. Read more here.
Suicide Attempts Now 'Huge Problem' Among Preteens

Suicide attempts spurring calls to poison control centers more than quadrupled among US children aged 10–12 years from 2000–2020, according to research published recently in JAMA Pediatrics. For all children older than age 9, the proportion of suicide attempts increased as misuse or abuse of potentially poisonous substances declined. Only very young children (aged 6–9) saw no increase in suicide attempts, the study found. Read more here.

Using Medicaid to Fund More Mental Health Supports for Schools

As a former school counselor, Quarry Williams spent a lot of time getting to know his students when he became coordinator of the Honor Opportunity Purpose Excellence (HOPE) alternative learning program in Edgecombe County Public Schools. He remembers forming a bond with one student in particular.

He needed a school social worker, but the district — like many others across the state — was already short of the nationally recommended ratio. And it lacked the budget for more. Through participation in a strategy-building community cohort, Williams found a solution that the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) believes could be a solution for districts and charter schools across the state. Read more here.

State Innovations in Medicaid Managed Care for Mobile Crisis Services

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) establishes an enhanced 85% federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) opportunity for mobile mental health crisis team services in Medicaid. This match supports states in ongoing efforts to build out mental health crisis systems that align to the core elements of a crisis continuum as outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): regional call centers, mobile response, and crisis stabilization facilities. States may need to review and revise Medicaid state plans or other authorities in order to take full advantage of the enhanced FMAP opportunity. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: Tucson Shares Blueprint for Crisis System Success
Technical Guidance - Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Arrangements for Drug Therapies using Multiple Best Prices

Beginning on July 1, 2022, states will be able to take advantage of certain VBP arrangements for drugs that will be reported to CMS by manufacturers. These arrangements will consist of additional rebates or price concessions that states may be able to earn based on the drug’s clinical outcomes in Medicaid beneficiaries. This new authority was finalized by CMS in a final rule published December 31, 2020, entitled: Medicaid Program; Establishing Minimum Standards in Medicaid State Drug Utilization Review (DUR) and Supporting Value Based Purchasing (VBP) for Drugs Covered in Medicaid, Revising Medicaid Drug Rebate and TPL Requirements. Read more here.
Moving Toward Paying For Better Outcomes In Substance Use Treatment 

Over 93 million Americans have a substance use disorder. 31% of primary care professionals saw a rise in health care consumers with addiction during the pandemic. Deaths from overdoses between April 2020 and April 2021 reached a record high of 100,306, 28.5% above the same period from 2019 to 2020. Nearly one million Medicare beneficiaries were diagnosed with opioid use disorder in 2020. Like the country at large, health plans are grappling with how to meet the substance use treatment needs of their members—and improve their overall health status. Read more here.

BJA Funding Opportunity: Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program 

This program provides grants and technical assistance to enhance the operations of adult drug courts. Courts should integrate evidence-based substance abuse treatment, random drug testing, equitable sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in judicially-supervised court settings with jurisdiction over offenders to reduce recidivism, substance abuse, and prevent overdoses. Read more here.

Over 500K Individuals Are on I/DD Waitlists, Calls for Better Worker Compensation to Close Services Gap

Reimbursement and support for intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) services had long been problematic, and a new report asserts that the pandemic has only made things worse, as more people than ever are on waiting lists for I/DD services.

The ANCOR Foundation – which represents over 1,800 I/DD provider members – and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) collaborated on the two-part report that addressed problems and offered solutions. Read more here.
How Long Should It Take to Grieve? Psychiatry Has Come Up With an Answer.

After more than a decade of argument, psychiatry’s most powerful body in the United States added a new disorder this week to its diagnostic manual: prolonged grief. The decision marks an end to a long debate within the field of mental health, steering researchers and clinicians to view intense grief as a target for medical treatment, at a moment when many Americans are overwhelmed by loss. Read more here.

Policy Opportunities To Expand Home-Based Care For People With Complex Health Needs

Home-based care is an important and undertapped modality for providing care to millions of people in the United States who are unable to access or have difficulty obtaining care. This type of care is especially important for individuals with complex medical conditions requiring more specialized care and management. Interest in providing care in the home setting has accelerated during the COVID-19 public-health emergency (PHE) as policy makers, providers, and payers quickly pivoted to support care outside of facility settings, such as telehealth or in-person care delivered at home. However, the home setting remains unevenly used and underutilized. Read more here.
HHS Announces Dramatic Increase in Funding to Expand Availability of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Across the Nation

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is announcing two Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) funding opportunities to expand and increase access to evidence-based mental health and substance use services for all Americans. This includes providing essential mental health services—such as 24-hour mobile crisis teams, screening, and case management—to vulnerable communities that would otherwise lack access to services. Totaling more than $300 million, these funding opportunities reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitments to addressing the nation’s mental health crisis and overdose epidemic as part of the President’s Unity Agenda. Read more here.


March 24, 3 - 4 pm, Camden Coalition

March 24, 3 - 4:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 29, 12:30 - 3 pm, FDA

March 29, 4 - 5 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 30, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

March 30, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

March 31, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

March 31, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 31, 2 - 3:30 pm, CMS

April 5, 3 - 4:15 pm, CSG Justice Center

April 5-6, April 12-13, Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs

April 7, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

April 7, 1 - 2 pm, NASHP

April 7, 2 - 3:30 pm, CMS

April 12. 10 - 11 am, OMH

April 13, 2 - 3:30 pm, CMS

April 14, 2:30 - 4 pm, Transitions ACR

April 20, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

April 20, 3 - 5 pm, NAADAC

April 28, 11 am - 4 pm, NIH

April 28, 3 - 4 pm, OMH


Quarterly LGU Clinic Billing Staff Call
April 7: 2 - 3 pm

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

Addiction Services and Recovery Committee Meeting
April 14: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
April 14: 3 - 4 pm

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Meeting
April 21-22, Embassy Suites, Saratoga Springs
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)