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February 1, 2017

Advancing Public Policies for People with Mental Illness, Chemical Dependency or Developmental Disabilities   

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor

Critical New Funding Opportunity for Connecting to Healthcare Info Sharing Systems

NYS OMH recently announced that the  Data Exchange Incentive Program (DEIP) is ready to launch among BH providers. The DEIP is a funding opportunity for providers and organizations to connect to their local QE or RHIO.   This program may be of particular interest to Behavioral Health providers (OMH, OASAS, HCBS designated providers) in need of connecting to the State Health Information Network of NY (SHIN-NY).  With the program comes $10,000 in incentive funding per organization (in accordance with eligibility and program requirements).

Click here for a current overview for the Behavioral Health portion of the program.

Additionally, NYeC will be hosting 2 public webinars over the next two weeks which will provide information on the DEIP.  Click here for the webinar announcement flyer.  Feel free to share with providers.
Both webinars will be recorded and the links will be posted on the NYeC website.  
Cigna Revises Autism Policies After Facing Pressure from New York Lawmakers

After being pressured by New York lawmakers, health care compan Cigna  is revising a number of its policies.  The biggest change going forward is how it treats patients with autism.

Bloomfield, Connecticut-based Cigna (NYSE: CI), which has a number of agencies located throughout New York City and New Jersey, is required to eliminate a written ban on coverage for claims for neuropsychological testing of psychiatric conditions and autism spectrum disorder. Cigna will also reprocess denied claims for autism spectrum disorder.

The change occurred just days after a federal judge blocked a mega-merger between Cigna and rival Anthem. President Obama's Department of Justice sued Anthem last summer, alleging the $54 billion combination would stifle competition in the U.S. health care industry. The case went to trial in November. Read more here.
Governor Cuomo Announces Request for Proposals to Operate Four Additional Youth Clubhouses to Treat Substance Abuse in New York City

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced that the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services issued a Request for Proposals to develop and operate four new adolescent addiction Clubhouses in Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. The new Clubhouses will provide a safe and inviting place for youth and young adults in recovery or at risk for addiction to develop social skills that promote long-term health, wellness, recovery and a drug-free lifestyle. 
Organizations responding to this RFP will have the opportunity to develop and implement a Youth Clubhouse for adolescents (ages 12-17) or young adults (ages 18-21), who have or are at risk of developing an addiction. Mandatory Letters of Intent to Bid are due February 8, and responses to the RFP are due April 10, 2017. Read more here.
California's Bold New Steps For Treating Drug And Alcohol Use Through Medicaid: Lessons Learned 

I n late 2016, the US Surgeon General issued a  groundbreaking report  on drug and alcohol addiction. It was inspiring to see the nation's top doctor sound the alarm about substance use-including the need to treat it as a chronic illness and to effectively integrate care for addiction with our broader health and mental health care systems.

The report was especially timely given that we'd just passed the one-year mark of California's implementation of an ambitious new  Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System waiver. In August 2015, California became the first state to receive federal permission to improve and expand substance use treatment and recovery services through a Medicaid Section 1115 waiver.

The rationale for using Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid program) to tackle this issue is strong, given its remarkable expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Throughout our state, Medi-Cal now has more than 13 million  enrollees, 
article , and  an estimated 12 percent of adult Medicaid beneficiaries in the United States have a substance use disorder Two of the top reasons for Medicaid thirty-day hospital readmissions, nationally, are related to substance use disorders In California, and across the country, we are facing a growing opioid epidemic, and drug overdose is now  the leading cause of death from injury -making it even more deadly than traffic accidents are.   Read more here .

February 8, 12 - 1 pm

February 17, 1 - 2 pm


February 2, 2 - 3:15 pm, Stepping Up Initiative

February 9, 12 - 1 pm, CMS Innovation Center

February 22, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA



RPC Leads & Coordinators Call
February 9:  8 - 9 am,  GTM

OMH Agency Meeting
February 13:  10 am - 12 pm
44 Holland Ave., 8th Fl., Albany

OASAS Agency Meeting
February 13:  1 - 3 pm
1450 Western Ave., 4th Fl., Albany

Children & Families Committee
February 21:  11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

RPC Leads & Coordinators Call
February 23:  8 - 9 am,  GTM

MARCH 2017

Officers, Chairs & Regional Reps Call
March 1:  8 - 9 am, GTM

RPC Leads & Coordinators Call
March 9:  8 - 9 am,  GTM

Directors & Executive Committee Combined Meeting
March 15:  9:30 am - 12:30 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee
March 21:  11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

RPC Leads & Coordinators Call
March 23:  8 - 9 am,  GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
CLMHD Overview of the 2017-18 Executive Budget

On January 17, 2017, Governor Cuomo released his State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2017-18 Executive Budget. For 2017-18, the Governor proposes a total spending plan of $152.3 billion which is an increase of 1.9 percent in state operating funds from 2016-17. For the seventh consecutive year, Governor Cuomo proposes holding down spending growth below two percent. The Executive proposal would close a $3.5 billion budget deficit projected for 2017-18.

This year, the Executive has inserted language throughout the budget that authorizes the Director of Budget to reduce appropriations as necessary, if the amount of revenues (including federal revenues) are less than the amounts assumed in the state's financial plan. These changes would be made without input from the Legislature.

The Budget Process from Here 
After the release of his Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo may amend the budget bills within thirty days of their submission to the Legislature. Over the past five budget cycles, the Governor has amended his budget twice: once under "21-day amendments," and a second time in "30-day amendments."

Upon receiving the Governor's budget, the Senate and Assembly review the bills and hold joint public hearings at which state agency commissioners and dozens of statewide associations, unions, and members of the public testify about the budget. The mental hygiene hearing will be held on February 6, and the Conference will testify. After these hearings, the Senate and Assembly will each introduce their own onehouse versions of the budget (based on the Executive Budget framework), come to an agreement on the amounts of revenue available, and negotiate the final budget using budget conference committees. The State Fiscal Year begins on April 1, 2017. For the last six years, the Legislature has passed an on-time budget.

Click here to read CLMHD's Executive Budget Analysis.
Brownsville Child Development Center Represents New Vision for Children's Mental Health in New York City

The  Brownsville Child Development Center ,  Brownsville's  first  mental health clinic for children from birth to age 5, officially opened its doors last Thursday, January 26, bringing to Brooklyn a brand-new approach to working with severely at-risk children. A program of the Jewish Board for Family and Children's Services (The Jewish Board), New York City's largest human services organization, the Center will offer a wide range of therapeutic services for children from birth to age 5. 

The Center is part of The Jewish Board's ongoing effort to increase awareness and treatment of mental health issues in very young children, especially those dealing with challenging life circumstances.

The groundbreaking clinic will be complemented by a new model of service delivery which will form the basis of The Jewish Board's early childhood work throughout New York City. The new model will see the bulk of the Center's work done off site, out in the community, in residents' homes and at other locations, such as child care centers, health clinics, homeless and domestic violence shelters, schools, and libraries, where there are likely to be children with emerging or unidentified emotional or psychological issues.

In another new approach, unlike traditional child development clinics the Center will focus on early childhood development as a way to engage entire families, heal the wounds of trauma, and set children on a stable and productive course for life.  Read more here.
NYS OASAS Releases Peer Services Guidance Document 

The NYS OASAS Division of Practice
Innovation and Care Management (PICM),
in cooperation with the Recovery Bureau and Clinical Advisory Panel (CAP), have developed a guidance document to assist the provider community in the use of Peer Advocates as part of SUD Outpatient
treatment.  The Peer Guidance Document is intended to delineate the role of peer advocates, provide information on the certification process, give information on reimbursement,  and give examples of how peer services might be used. Questions regarding this document can be e-mailed to the PICM mailbox  at .

Syracuse Apartments Planned for Tenants with Low Incomes, Mental Health Disorders

A social services organization is set to begin construction soon on a 50-unit apartment building on Syracuse's North Side for low-income families and people with mental health disorders.

Central New York Services Inc., partnering with Christa Development Corp., of Victor, will construct the four-story building at 501 Catherine St., a site that until last year contained an apartment building where "The Great Gatsby" author F. Scott Fitzgerald briefly  lived as a young boy.

John Warren, executive director of CNY Services, said 20 of the new apartments will be reserved for low-income residents. The other 30 units will be for people who have mental health disorders but are able to live on their own, he said.

The fact that 30 of the apartments will be reserved for people with mental health disorders will make it the only development of its type in Syracuse, Warren said.  Read more here.
Addiction and Mental Health Parity Progress is Slow, Especially for Children: Expert

While there have been substantial gains on the issue of parity - making addiction and mental health coverage equal to physical health coverage - much work still needs to be done, especially for children, according to Ron Manderscheid, Ph.D., Executive Director of the  National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability  Directors  
(NACBHDD) and the National Association for Rural Mental Health.

"Children can't speak for themselves on the issue of parity," Manderscheid says. "That's why it's very important for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state health insurance commissioners to protect the rights of children around parity. Any child who has health insurance coverage through the individual marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or through the ACA's Medicaid expansion is entitled to parity protection, but we don't really know how well it's working."

The estimated 8.4 million children enrolled under the  Child's Health Insurance Program, which is part of Medicaid, are not covered by parity protections, Manderscheid noted. "The field has so focused on problems with implementing parity with adults that children haven't gotten equal attention in this process," he said.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires larger employer-based insurance plans to cover psychiatric illnesses and substance use disorders in the same way they do illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, was passed in 2008. The law applies to private health plans covering more than 50 enrollees that offer behavioral health services.  Read more here .
Hutchings, Upstate May Team Up on Kids' Mental Health Care

Upstate University Hospital may team up with Hutchings Psychiatric Center to provide inpatient mental health care to children in Central New York.

State officials have not disclosed details of how a partnership between the two neighboring state hospitals would work or how it would affect care. The potential partnership was revealed in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed state budget.

The budget said the state Office of Mental Health will work with Upstate to develop a plan to revamp services for children and teens at Hutchings.   Hutchings has 30 inpatient beds for children and teens.

James Plastiras of the state Office of Mental Health said his agency is evaluating whether Upstate could be used to deliver existing services at Hutchings for children and teens, expand access to inpatient bed capacity and improve coordination and delivery of medical and mental health services in Central New York.

He offered no other details. It's unclear if the number of beds may change or if psychiatric beds for youths might be created at Upstate.
Read more here .
State Budgets Aren't Accounting for Obamacare Repeal 

On his first day as president, Donald Trump signed an executive order to begin the process for repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the weeks before that, the Republican-controlled Congress made several moves toward dismantling the law. But you likely wouldn't know all that by looking at most states' proposed budgets.

If Trump makes good on his campaign promise to repeal Barack Obama's landmark health-care law this year, states could take a major financial hit and don't appear to be preparing for that.

Hardest-hit would likely be the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA. The law provided 100 percent of the funding for states to make more low-income people eligible for free or cheap health care. If that funding provision isn't included in the Republicans' replacement plan, expansion states would be on the hook for billions of dollars if they want to keep millions of people insured.

It's anyone's guess how far the new administration and Congress will go to get rid of the ACA. But both Trump and Congressional Republicans favor converting Medicaid into block grants, which give states more flexibility to decide who would be eligible for subsidized care and what services would be covered. Either way, Democratic and Republican governors in expansion states are worried that Congress will rush to repeal the law without an immediate plan in place.  Read more here .
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.