September 30, 2021
Governor Hochul Provides Update on Health Care Staffing Following First-in-Nation Vaccine Mandate Implementation

Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday provided an update on staffing in hospitals and other health care facilities, following the implementation of the State's vaccination mandate. Zero health care facilities across the State have been reported closed since the mandate went into effect.

The Governor has directed a 24/7 Operations Center, led by the Department of Health, to constantly monitor staffing operations and trends statewide, provide guidance to health care facilities and help troubleshoot situations with providers as necessary. 

Since the mandate went into effect, Operations Center subject matter experts have worked with impacted facilities to troubleshoot and identify solutions. Read more here.

State Hikes Minimum Wage for Upstate New York

Upstate minimum wage workers will see an income boost starting Jan. 1. The state Department of Labor announced Monday that the minimum wage north of Westchester will rise to $13.20 an hour, up 70 cents from $12.50 an hour. The state will also push the minimum wage for workers in Westchester and Long Island from $14 an hour to $15 an hour as part of a scheduled increase. Read more here.

In Foster Care, NY Caregivers Fill Gap but Many Say Complaints, Cases Are Left to Linger

Leona Bench was left with discharge papers from a Westchester hospital and a note from her incarcerated niece saying the newborn baby girl should be in her care. To her disappointment, Bench wouldn’t get much more from county social workers at the hospital, after making the hours-long trek from her Syracuse home in Onondaga County to pick up the child in White Plains, she said. Instead, Bench would leave the hospital with a child born a month early of which she didn't have legal authority.

Bench says she was incorrectly told by caseworkers at the hospital that the Article 10, a section of the Family Court Act that gives her temporary custody, no longer existed, essentially diverting her from the foster care system, its benefits, or legal authority over the child.
Read more here.
As Schools Reopen, Trauma-Informed Teaching Might Be More Important Than Ever

Over the course of the 2018-19 school year, seven parents of students at McGee's Crossroads Elementary School, which straddles farms and suburbs near Raleigh, N.C., died. Students were struggling with the trauma of losing a parent, in several cases violently. Their classmates didn't always know how to support them, and in some cases taunted them over these experiences. The principal overheard one say, "I'm glad your dad died."

During the next school year, the school took a new approach to help kids who might be acting out because of stress and trauma in their own lives. Armed with so-called trauma-informed techniques, school staff focused more on building relationships with students and understanding why they misbehaved. No longer did teachers ask, “What is wrong with you?” when kids acted out, but “What happened to you?” to determine what to do next. Suspensions dropped 52%.
Read more here.

Amid Rising Overdose Deaths, Hochul Urged to End Two-Tiered Addiction Treatment System in New York

In the aftermath of the highest number of overdose deaths recorded in New York State in a single year, advocates and substance use treatment providers are calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign what they call a crucial piece of legislation to reverse the trend. Without the new governor’s signature, they say, the state’s recently-established two-tiered substance use treatment system, with greater barriers to access for lower-income New Yorkers, will continue and cause more harm.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a proven tool for helping people who suffer from substance use disorders. It prevents overdoses, emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and ultimately saves lives. But, until recently, New York State required that insurers provide prior authorization to doctors before they can prescribe MAT drugs, like buprenorphine and methadone, to patients. Read more here.
An Interview with the New York State OASAS, OMH, and OPWDD Commissioners to Address Critical Healthcare Issues

In a rare opportunity, Mental Health News Education, publisher of Behavioral Health News and Autism Spectrum News, has brought together the Commissioners of the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), The NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), and The NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to address critical healthcare issues currently affecting the New York State community. Topics addressed in this interview-style article include: COVID-19 and vaccinations; the workforce crisis; federal funding; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the collaboration between the three state offices. We are delighted to present to you the following responses from OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez, LMSW, OMH Commissioner Ann Sullivan, MD, and OPWDD Commissioner Theodore Kastner, MD. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Announces Completion of $43 Million Affordable Housing Development in Yonkers

Governor Kathy Hochul last week announced the completion of the Dayspring Campus, a $43 million development with 63 affordable and supportive apartments and a newly renovated community center in Southwest Yonkers. Financed with more than $20.6 million in assistance from state Homes and Community Renewal, the development includes 37 apartments reserved for homeless families, including young adult parents with children, and families with special needs.
Read more here.

Governor Hochul Appoints Dr. Mary T. Bassett as Commissioner of the Department of Health

Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, has been appointed Commissioner of the Department of Health. With more than 30 years of experience devoted to promoting health equity and social justice, both in the United States and abroad, Dr. Bassett's career has spanned academia, government, and not-for-profit work. Her appointment is effective December 1. Read more here.
D.E.A. Warns of ‘Alarming’ Increase in Fentanyl-Laced Fake Pills

Pointing to an “alarming” increase in fatal overdoses, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned on Monday that a record number of the 9.5 million fake prescription pills it had seized in the United States this year contained lethal amounts of fentanyl.

For the first time in six years, the agency took the step of issuing a public safety alert, this one on the dangers of the fake pills. The agency said many of the pills have also been laced with methamphetamine. Read more here.
Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $36 Million in Federal Funding for Mental Health Treatment and Research Centers Across Upstate New York

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced in federal funding for mental health treatment and research centers throughout New York state through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The senators heralded the news of the funding, saying it comes at a critical time for New Yorkers during the COVID pandemic, which has exacerbated the national mental health crisis.

The funding announced on Monday comes from the Community Mental Health Block Grant and will help provide necessary mental health resources for communities by supporting mental health research and fortifying mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Read more here.


September 30, 2 - 3 pm, HANYS

October 1, 2 - 3:30 pm, Center for Connected Health Policy

October 5, 12 - 1:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

October 5, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

October 7, 2 - 3 pm, HANYS

October 7, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

October 8, 2 - 3:30 pm, Center for Connected Health Policy

October 12, 10 - 11 am, OMH

October 20, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

October 20 - 21, 12 - 5:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

October 27, 12 - 1:30 pm, Suicide Prevention Center of NYS

October 31 - November 1, HANYS


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)