July 29, 2021
New York Initiative Reduces Barriers to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Ithaca-based program to evaluate components of its comprehensive service delivery model

The REACH Project Inc. is a licensed treatment provider based in Ithaca, New York, whose name is an acronym for Respectful, Equitable Access to Compassionate Healthcare. The program aims to build health equity in the state’s southern tier by providing access to high-quality, evidence-based, and stigma-free health care to commonly marginalized populations, such as people who use drugs or those experiencing homelessness.

Since opening in 2018, REACH Medical, an independent practice owned and operated by the project, has cared for more than 2,000 patients across 40 counties. More than 1,500 individuals have received medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), with a 75% rate of retention in treatment over six months. Read more here.
NYC Is Sending Social Workers Instead of Police to Some 911 Calls. Here's How It's Going.

Teams of mental health professionals and EMTs responding to 911 calls in a pilot program in Harlem 
have reduced the rate of hospitalizations for people in crisis, data released by New York City shows.

But advocates say more work is needed to eliminate police from mental health emergencies as three quarters of the calls in the pilot were still routed to 

The numbers released last Thursday from the Mayor's Office of Community Mental Health provides the first look into the pilot program that pairs social workers and EMTs — rather than armed police officers — to answer mental health emergency calls. Read more here.
Chancellor Malatras Announces $24 Million in Student Mental Health and Wellness Services—The Largest Single Investment in Mental Health in SUNY History

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced a historic investment in student mental health services today, on the heels of a once-in-a-generation health crisis that is still producing alarming rates of depression, anxiety, and social isolation among students. Leveraging the institutional grants received through the federal American Rescue Plan, Chancellor Malatras has directed all SUNY colleges and universities to utilize five percent of their respective grants—$24 million of approximately $481 million in institutional funding system-wide—to expand and enhance student mental health services. New York State Division of Budget approved the plan. The funding will be used for expanding programs such as training additional student-facing residential staff to aid in identifying warning signs and how to refer students to services; expanding SUNY’s Crisis Text Line, Peer-to-Peer hotlines, and campus student counseling networks; and creating safe spaces for students. Read more here.

Summer Camps Will Be Allowed to Hire Mental Health Professionals

A long-sought bill that will, starting next year, allow summer camps to hire psychologists and other mental health professionals is now law.

The measure, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier in July, fills what operators of New York’s many summer camps have long described as a gap in what they could provide campers, due to a technicality in state law. Read more here.
Unitedhealthcare Doled Out $11.4M to SDOH Programs in 18 States—We Unpack Why it’s Nowhere Near Enough to Propel Social Health Initiatives

The news: UnitedHealthcare (UHC) funneled $11.4 million to expand social determinants of health (SDOH) programs in 18 states to close gaps in health equity.

  • Indiana, New York, Nevada, and Mississippi were awarded the largest amounts ($1 million each).
  • The grants will focus on assisting those with challenges around healthcare access, health literacy, food insecurity, social isolation, and mental health

More on this: The grants are part of UHC’s Empowering Health program, which was first established in 2018 to support community health organizations and expand access to healthcare by addressing SDOH. To date, it’s funneled over $40 million in grants across 29 states.

The bigger picture: Payers have been interested in figuring out how to influence patients’ social health factors since SDOH can drive up to 80% of health outcomes. For payers, addressing members’ SDOH factors can result in massive savings: healthier members = lower costs of care = cheaper-to-insure members. Read more here.

Lawmakers Call for Support Staff for State's Most Vulnerable

State lawmakers are calling on New York state officials should provide incentives for job training for direct support professionals who care for vulnerable people amid a statewide shortage.

Republican Sens. Sue Serino and Mike Martucci in a joint statement called for the issue to be made a priority in the state as direct care providers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in recent weeks have increasingly raised concerns over the depleted workforce as the state emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
Can Clinical Staff Actually Like Technology?

Executives of health and human service provider organizations are navigating choppy waters right now. The “end” of the pandemic and the move to hybrid operations, new competition for contracts, more focus on “whole person” care delivery, new requirements to demonstrate “value”, and workforce management top the list for many of those executives—all factors that have significant impact on long-term organizational success and sustainability.

Better leverage of technologies is a fundamental part of developing a successful strategy for success and sustainability, and to improve performance management, better analytics are key. Organizations should be optimizing use of their current platforms—such as electronic health records (EHR), human resource information systems (HRIS), financial management systems, telehealth platforms, etc.—and integrating new technologies into current operations. These actions are needed to improve administrative and clinical efficiencies, enhance consumer performance and experience, improve workforce effectiveness, allow success with value-based reimbursement, and speed organic growth. Read more here.

July 29, 2:30 - 4, CSG Justice Center

July 29, 3 - 4:30 pm, SAMHSA Homeless & Housing Resource Center

July 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

August 26, 2 - 3 pm, American Association of Suicidology (AAS) & the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

August 31, 1 - 2:15 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing


Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
August 5: 1 - 2:30 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
August 5: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
August 10: 10 - 11:30 am

Executive Committee Meeting
August 11: 8 - 9 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
August 12: 11 am - 12 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting
August 17: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Membership Call
August 18: 9 - 10:30 am

SAVE THE DATE: CLMHD Fall Full Membership Meeting
October 21-22 in Saratoga Springs, NY
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)