July 15, 2021
A Tragic Death Shows How ERs Fail Patients Who Struggle With Addiction

Jameson Rybak tried to quit using opioids nearly a dozen times within five years. Each time, he'd wait out the vomiting, sweating and chills from withdrawal in his bedroom. It was difficult to watch, says his mother, Suzanne Rybak, though she admired his persistence.

On March 11, 2020, however, Suzanne grew worried. Jameson, 30 years old at the time, was slipping in and out of consciousness and saying he couldn't move his hands.

By 11 p.m., she decided to take him to the emergency room at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, S.C. The staff there gave Jameson fluids through an IV to rehydrate, medication to decrease his nausea and potassium supplements to stop his muscle spasms, according to Suzanne and a letter the hospital's administrator later sent her.

But when they recommended admitting him to monitor and manage the withdrawal symptoms, Jameson said no. He'd lost his job the previous month and, with it, his health insurance. "He kept saying, 'I can't afford this,' " Suzanne recalls, and "not one person [at the hospital] indicated that my son would have had some financial options." Read more here.

County Leaders Call for Renewed Focus on Opiate Abuse Awareness and Prevention

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) and the New York State Association of County Coroners and Medical Examiners (NYSACCME) today announced that counties are preparing to deploy settlement funds to ramp up the battle against addiction, overdoses, and deaths caused by the ongoing opioid epidemic.
The announcement follows a year that saw a significant resurgence in opioid-related deaths, with a record 81,230 fatal overdoses between May 2019 and May 2020, according to the CDC. The highest increase in opioid deaths, driven by fentanyl, is among Black Americans, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For additional information about the recent increase overdose deaths in New York State, click here. Read more here.

NYSAC PODCAST: Reimagining Mental Health After the Pandemic

This conversation focuses on mental health services and how they have changed throughout the pandemic.

NYSAC’s Multimedia Specialist Kate Pierce is joined by Teisha Cook, Director of the Mental Health Department in Madison County. The county has recently launched a Mental Health Task Force amid an increase in crisis calls, which is discussed in the episode. Click here to listen!
NYS OASAS Announces New Public Awareness Campaign to Highlight the Importance of Social Support in the Fight Against Addiction

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) on Tuesday announced the launch of the new “Connections” Campaign to remind New Yorkers of the importance of social connections in the battle against addiction and substance use disorder. The campaign is designed to empower individuals impacted by addiction to use their connections to friends, family members, health professionals, and other organizations, to find help and support in their treatment and recovery. Part of the funding to support the campaign was awarded to New York State through the federal State Opioid Response grant. Read more here.
New Federal Funding May Help New Yorkers with Developmental Disabilities

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is pleased to announce that New York State has submitted its initial draft spending plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the enhanced federal funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).

With the input of stakeholders obtained during forums, meetings and written submissions, OPWDD has identified areas of high need to refocus our efforts and define our goals for both the present and future of services. Read more here.
How States Can Use One-Year HCBS Funding Bump to Expand Crisis Systems

The American Rescue Plan Act, commonly called the Covid-19 stimulus package or by its acronym, ARPA, is giving states an opportunity to increase people’s access to Medicaid home- and community-based services, including behavioral health. Section 9817 of the act provides a one-year increase in federal funding that became available on April 1 and will end on March 31, 2022.

The provision increases the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage by 10 points, up to 95 percent, for spending on HCBS. To take advantage of the enhanced match, states have to submit their HCBS spending plans. Initially, states were supposed to submit plans by June 12 but could apply for a 30-day extension, making today the deadline. However, experts indicate CMS might be open to allowing a little more time if states request it. States can use the funds through March 31, 2024. Read more here.
Four Ways COVID-19 Changed the Role of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) are board-certified advanced practice nurses who diagnose and treat mental health and substance abuse issues. PMHNPs work in outpatient and inpatient settings, providing assessment, therapy, and medications. PMHNPs are critical in any disaster, providing emergent mental health care and psychosocial support to new patients and continuing outreach and support to established patients. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has initiated a global mental health crisis. Read more here.
Telehealth Use Drops as More People Return to the Doctor's Office

There is one exception: the percentage of telehealth claim lines associated with mental health conditions continues to rise.

The popularity of telehealth appears to be waning as the pandemic winds down. Usage in April declined nationally for the third straight month, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker.

Telehealth claim lines (individual services or procedures listed on an insurance claim) declined 12.5% nationally as a percentage of medical claim lines, decreasing from 5.6% of claim lines in March 2021 to 4.9% in April. This was a greater decrease than the drop of 5.1% in March but not as great as the decrease of 15.7% in February. Read more here.
SAMHSA Awards $62.4 Million in Grants to Combat Child Trauma, With $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Funds

SAMHSA is distributing $62.4 million in grant funding to provide and increase access to effective treatment and services systems in communities throughout the nation for children, adolescents, and their families who experience traumatic events. The White House is bolstering these awards with $800,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) support.

SAMHSA’s NCTSI raises awareness about the impact of trauma on children and adolescents as a behavioral health concern. Read more here.
Adelphi Awarded $1.92 Million Grant to Train Social Workers, Nurses in Integrated Behavioral Healthcare

The​​​​​​​​ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded Adelphi University's School of Social Work and College of Nursing and Public Health a grant to train 120 graduate students in behavioral healthcare.

The four-year grant of $480,000 a year will focus on training and placing students in organizations that serve children and adolescents in under-resourced communities.

The program, Interdisciplinary Education and Training Experience (IDEATE) Fellowship—Integrated Behavioral Healthcare for Children, Adolescents, and Transitional Youth in New York, is in partnership with Concert Health, America’s leading behavioral health medical group, and Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider. Concert and Northwell will host most of the students during their clinical rotations. Read more here.
With Audits Up, SUD Providers Are Especially Vulnerable to Enforcement Actions

If the pandemic has a silver lining, it’s the spotlight COVID-19 has put on the behavioral health industry.

A growing number of Americans are struggling with substance use disorders (SUD) and mental health conditions, prompting lawmakers and payers to take notice, and in many cases invest more attention and funding into fixing the problem. But with more money comes more problems, particularly in the form of audits.

“Anytime there’s a greater spend, there’s a greater focus from a compliance standpoint and an enforcement standpoint,” Polsinelli shareholder Bragg Hemme previously told Behavioral Health Business, noting that her law firm has seen an increase in activity around both government private plan compliance enforcement in recent years. Read more here.
The NYS Office for the Aging, the NYS DOL, and the NYS DOH Join With Businesses to Better Understand and Support Working Caregivers

The New York State Office for the Aging, the New York State Department of Labor, and the New York State Department of Health today announced the launching of a public-private partnership to survey businesses 
and their employees. The state is encouraging employers to ask employees to complete the survey. This will help identify the number of employees who are caregiving for a loved one and to assess working caregiver intensity and connect them to supports and information.

It is critical to understand the daily tasks working caregivers are performing and how those tasks impact their work and health. Read more here.

July 15, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 16, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 20, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 20, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 21, 1 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

July 22, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

July 21, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 22, 2 - 3:30 pm, COSSAP

July 22, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 23, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

July 27, 11:30 am - 1 pm, NASMHPD & SAMHSA

July 27, 1 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

July 27, 1 - 2 pm, The College for Behavioral Health Leadership

July 28, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

July 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC


Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm


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)