February 24, 2022
NYS OASAS Announces Availability of Funding to Improve Transportation Services for Individuals Affected by Addiction

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) on Wednesday announced the availability of up to $500,000 to establish transportation demonstration projects aimed at testing regional solutions to improve transportation services for people who are in need of supportive services for substance use disorder, including treatment and recovery services. Two awards of up to $250,000 each will be made in upstate New York, one in a rural county and one in an urban county. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Announces Major Investments to Improve Psychiatric Support for Those in Crisis

Governor Kathy Hochul last Friday, at an event with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, announced major investments to help improve access to acute mental health care and hospital psychiatric beds across New York State. The initiatives are part of a plan to provide the necessary support and services for people with serious mental illness experiencing homelessness, as well as others in crisis. The investments include $27.5 million annually to increase funding for inpatient psychiatric beds; $9 million annually to recruit psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners; and $12.5 million annually for 500 additional supportive housing beds to house people experiencing homelessness in their communities. Read more here.
Adams and Hochul Have a New Plan to Reduce Homelessness on NYC Subways

Gov. Kathy Hochul focused on subway homelessness the morning after getting the official backing of the Democratic Party in the gubernatorial primary.

Public safety has increasingly become a political liability for Democrats, but a new plan unveiled Friday by the governor and New York City Mayor Eric Adams could provide some relief while helping hundreds of people with mental illnesses access social services in the process. A lot comes down to how much Hochul and Adams might succeed where others have failed when it comes to dealing with the decades-long challenge of homelessness on city subways. Read more here.

Governor Hochul Announces Availability of Up to $1.5 Million to Expand Telehealth Services for Addiction Treatment

Governor Kathy Hochul last Friday announced the availability of up to $1.5 million in federal funding under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) to allow providers to expand telehealth services for addiction treatment. Providers will be able to use this funding to expand and upgrade their telehealth infrastructure through new telehealth equipment, as well as new software, tablets, and phones. This funding is being administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.
Read more here.

AMA/Manatt Health Report Envisions Broad Behavioral Health Integration

Could the adoption of digital health tools—among them, telehealth—dramatically improve the integration of behavioral healthcare into the rest of the healthcare delivery system? That’s what a new report, sponsored by the Chicago-based American Medical Association (AMA) and the Manatt Health Strategies division of the Los Angeles-based Manatt consulting firm concludes.

As a press release posted to the AMA’s website on Monday, Feb. 21 stated, “With the nation’s decades-long behavioral health crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, a collaboration between the American Medical Association (AMA), Manatt Health Strategies and a group of health care experts has identified solutions to increase access to behavioral health services through the adoption of digital technologies. Released today in a new report, the stakeholder-specific solutions promote the incorporation of technology, such as telehealth and other digital tools, that can enhance the patient-physician relationship and increase the overall effectiveness of behavioral health integration (BHI)." Read more here.
The Retailization of Mental Health in Urgent Care Has Begun

The creation of urgent mental health care in retail locations isn’t coming, it’s already underway.

Huge players in the retail and health care space have already built a foundation for themselves to make mental health care more accessible. Over the last 20 years or so, urgent care blazed a new retail-like trail for physical health care access — and these same players have mental health in their sights. Read more here.
State By State, Here's How Well Schools are Doing at Supporting Kids' Mental Health

There's a growing consensus that the pandemic has taken a big emotional toll on young people. Among other troubling signs, children's hospitals across the country have seen more kids showing up in their emergency rooms for mental health reasons, seeking care for everything from severe anxiety and eating disorders to suicide attempts.

The vast majority of Americans – 87% – are concerned about the wellbeing of the next generation, according to a new poll.

In response to the crisis, a group of 17 national mental health organizations are calling for a new investment in school-based mental health support for kids. The group published a new report this week rating states based on how well they are addressing the crisis through programs and services in schools. Read more here.
Grant Announcement: First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Support Services Act Grant

Application Due Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The purpose of this program is to provide resources to first responders and members of other key community sectors at the state, tribal, and other government levels to train, carry and administer Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) approved drugs and devices for emergency reversal of known or suspected opioid overdose.

Recipients will be expected to establish processes, protocols, and mechanisms for:
  • Referral to appropriate treatment and recovery support services support services; and
  • Safety around fentanyl, carfentanil, and other dangerous licit and illicit drugs

SAMHSA plans to issue 21 awards of up to $250,000 – $800,000 per year for up to 4 years. Read more here.

Lifesaving Addiction Treatment Out of Reach for Many Americans

A state-by-state look at care provided by opioid treatment programs, a critical facility

Drug overdose deaths skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic: Provisional data covering a 12-month period shows that overdose deaths reached the record-setting number of more than 100,000 fatalities as of June 2021. Opioid treatment programs (OTPs)—the only health care facilities that can offer patients all three forms of medication for opioid use disorder (OUD): methadone, buprenorphine, and injectable extended-release naltrexone—are critical to reducing overdose deaths and providing life-saving addiction treatment. But they do so only if patients are able to access services.

Results from a new study by The Pew Charitable Trusts show that geography and health insurance coverage, rather than medical need, often determine whether patients can access effective treatment for OUD. Read more here.

Psychosis Risk Rises When People Abuse 'Speed'

Amphetamines can pull people into a vicious cycle of addiction, but new research now shows that people who abuse these stimulants are also five times more likely to develop psychosis than non-users.

The effect of "speed" on neurotransmitter signaling in the brain often causes psychosis symptoms such as paranoia, voices and hallucinations. These typically resolve after a few days, but may persist for years in up to 15% of users. Read more here.
Medicaid To Cover Therapy, Counseling

Chapter amendments to legislation passed in 2021 have been passed by the state Legislature changing mental health practitioners to mental health counselors and adding marriage and family therapists to the list of providers covered by Medicaid. Additionally, the chapter amendment removes creative art therapists and psychoanalysts from Medicaid coverage. The chapter amendment passed the Assembly 110-34 and the Senate 61-1. Read more here.
Behavioral Health Industry Sees Expansion of Services and Value-Based Care as Top Opportunities for 2022

As behavioral health demand continues to rise, the industry sees adding new service lines and embracing value-based care as critical opportunities for growth, according to new data from Behavioral Health Business.

According to BHB’s 2022 Industry Outlook report, which surveyed 84 provider executives in the space, more than a third of respondents said that expanding service offerings was the greatest opportunity for behavioral health providers in 2022. Read more here.
Bill Named in Memory of Lorna Breen, Doctor Who Died by Suicide on Frontline of Pandemic, Passes Congress

Almost two years since Lorna Breen died by suicide after becoming overwhelmed working on the front lines of the pandemic, a bill named in her memory to boost mental health resources for health-care workers is headed to the president’s desk.

Breen’s family in Virginia had spent months advocating for strengthening federal resources to fight burnout, prevent suicide and raise awareness about depression and other mental health issues among overburdened health-care workers who have had little relief during wave after wave of the pandemic. On Thursday night, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act — championed by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) — passed the Senate on a voice vote. Read more here.
Legislation Provides Incentives to Address Nursing Shortage in NYS

New York State has been hard hit by a nursing shortage which has swept across the nation and was exacerbated by COVID-19. Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed opting New York into the interstate licensure compact for nurses, which allows for the hiring of out-of-state nurses, working at a premium, to step in to help alleviate the shortages. State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and Assembly Member Aileen Gunther – who is the chair of the Assembly's Mental Health Committee and a former nurse – have co-sponsored legislation that also attempts to address the state’s nursing shortage, with incentives for New Yorkers to pursue nursing careers that includes loan forgiveness, and more stringent guidelines for the hiring and certification of out-of-state nurses. Read more here.
Local 988 Policy Success Depends on the Inclusion of People With Lived Expertise

Tonja Myles has been in substance use recovery for over three decades, giving her a unique lens to provide Louisiana legislators feedback on impending bills and existing policy. She’s used her expertise to give voice to people who’ve faced chronic barriers and have been marginalized by the very systems designed to provide them care. “I love policy,” she says. “I’m more likely to read a policy book than a novel.” She frequently drills down into legislation, examining what changes are needed in behavioral health to eliminate impediments to care. Myles, who is a Certified Peer Support Specialist and trauma expert, says this is where having lived expertise is a tremendous asset. Read more here.
AHIP: Next Steps Toward Primary, Behavioral Healthcare Integration

AHIP called on providers and policymakers to join payers in their efforts to integrate behavioral healthcare and physical healthcare in an issue brief on the subject.

The payer organization laid out three critical strategies for integrating behavioral healthcare.

The collaborative care model (CoCM) uses care management to facilitate patient-centered care, and many of its services are recognized and reimbursed by CMS.

The expanded and integrated care management model uses care management to support individuals with chronic conditions, specifically behavioral healthcare conditions. The model leans on screening tools in the primary care environment to identify conditions earlier. Read more here.
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Bestows Generous Grant to National Council for Mental Wellbeing

MacKenzie Scott has presented the National Council for Mental Wellbeing a $7 million grant to support its important work on behalf of its 3,500 members. The grant is the largest philanthropic gift the National Council has ever received.

“In the midst of a pandemic, of an increase in the demand for treatment and of a workforce shortage, MacKenzie Scott’s generous grant of $7 million is an endorsement of our work and our vision at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing,” said National Council President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia. Read more here.
February 24, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, HHRC

February 24, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

February 24, 3 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

February 24, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

February 24, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

February 28, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 2, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

March 3, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

March 8, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

March 8, 7 pm, NAMI

March 9, 1 - 2 pm, NACo

March 9, 3 - 4 pm, Fierce Healthcare

March 10, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 10, 3 - 4:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 16, 10 - 11 am, OMH

March 16, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

March 16, 2 - 3 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

March 17, 3 - 4:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 22, 12 - 1:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

March 22, 2 - 3 pm, NAASP

March 22, 2 - 3:30 pm, OMH

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

March 30, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

March 30, 2 - 3 pm, NACo


OASAS Agency Day
March 7: 9:30 - 11:30 am

OMH Agency Day
March 8: 9:30 - 11:30 am

OPWDD Agency Day
March 9: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Addictions Services & Recovery Meeting
March 10: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
March 10: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
March 14: 10 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
March 15: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
March 17: 1 - 2:30 pm

Save the Date - CLMHD's Spring Full Membership Meeting is scheduled for April 21-22, 2022 in 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)