Harckham, Senate Pass Bill Supporting Telehealth for Peer Advocate Programs

On Tuesday, New York State Senator Pete Harckham and members of the Senate approved legislation (S.2998A), originally introduced by Harckham, that will make telehealth services provided by Certified Recovery Peer Advocates and Credentialed Family Peer Advocates eligible for reimbursement on a permanent basis.

“The success of telehealth evidenced during the coronavirus pandemic is proof that we should continue to offer this flexibility as a care option,” said Harckham. “This means requiring insurers to offer proper reimbursement for peer telehealth services, though. Struggling with costs will push people away from help otherwise. I am grateful to my colleagues for their support for this legislation, which will certainly save lives here in the state.” Read more here.
NY Senate Passes Hoylman Bill to Create Universal Access to Veterans Treatment Courts

On Wednesday, the New York State Senate unanimously passed legislation (S.1957-A) sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to create universal access to veterans treatment courts in New York. Veteran treatment courts, which originated in Buffalo in 2008, provide veteran-defendants suffering from addiction or mental illness with links to specialized services as a diversion from the traditional criminal justice system. Research shows veterans treatment court participants have a one year recidivism rate 23-46% lower than found among the United States prison population at large. Under Sen. Hoylman’s legislation, qualifying veterans in every county in the state would have an opportunity to have their cases diverted from traditional criminal prosecution into the more specialized treatment path accorded by a veterans treatment court after arrest. The Assembly companion legislation, (A.5719), sponsored by Assembly Member Sandy Galef (D-Westchester, Putnam), passed on March 16. Read more here.
NYSHealth Launches 2021 Special Projects Fund Request for Proposals

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) 2021 Special Projects Fund Request for Proposals (RFP) is now available. Applicants must submit an online inquiry form to determine whether a proposed project fits the funding criteria. There will be one funding cycle for the Special Projects Fund in 2021. The deadline for the online inquiry form is April 21, 2021. Selected organizations will be invited to submit full proposals, with a deadline of June 17, 2021.

NYSHealth Special Projects Fund awards are one-time, nonrenewable funding opportunities consistent with the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of all New Yorkers but outside of its main priority areas.
First Covid, Then Psychosis: ‘The Most Terrifying Thing I’ve Ever Experienced’

Ivan Agerton pulled his wife, Emily, into their bedroom closet, telling her not to bring her cellphone.

“I believe people are following me,” he said, his eyes flaring with fear.

He described the paranoid delusions haunting him: that people in cars driving into their suburban Seattle cul-de-sac were spying on him, that a SWAT officer was crouching in a bush in their yard.

It was a drastic change for the 49-year-old Mr. Agerton, a usually unflappable former marine and risk-taking documentary photographer whose most recent adventure involved exploring the Red Sea for two months in a submarine. He was accustomed to stress and said that neither he nor his family had previously experienced mental health issues. Read more here.
NYS Office for the Aging, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Announce New Online Training

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), in partnership with the New York State Development Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC), and Boston University School of Social Work’s Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research (CADER), have announced a new online course designed to help the aging network workforce better understand what intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are and how they impact a person’s life from birth to older age. The disability awareness training has been added to NYSOFA’s first-in-the-nation online training academy, offered by BU CADER, for aging services professionals in New York State as part of a $300,000 grant from DDPC. Read more here.

March 29, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH and The Institute for Police, Mental Health & Community Collaboration

March 30, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

March 30, 1 - 1:30 pm, NIMH

March 31, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

March 31, 2 - 3:15 pm, COSSAP

April 6, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

April 7, 10 11 am, OMH

April 11, 10 - 11 am, OMH

April 14, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

April 14, 2 - 3:15 pm, COSSAP

April 16, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 19, 2 - 3:30 pm, CCSI

April 20, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 22, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Save the Date**: April 21 - 22, CCSI
**Registration link to be shared at a later date

April 27, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

May 17, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


LGU Billing Staff Call
April 1: 2 - 3 pm, GTM

Executive Committee Meeting
April 7: 8 - 9 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
April 8: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

LGU Clinic Operators Call
April 13: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Meeting
April 15: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
April 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Membership Call
April 21: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM


Executive Committee Meeting
May 5: 8 - 9 am, GTM

LGU Billing Staff Call
May 6: 2 - 3 pm, GTM

LGU Clinic Operators Call
May 11: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Business Meeting
May 11: 2 - 5 pm, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
May 13: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
May 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Offices Closed - Memorial Day
May 31

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Some Hudson Valley Police Agencies are Prioritizing Mental Health Assistance. Here’s How.

Michael Herry is nervous as he sees a police van park nearby.

The 57-year-old Black man is standing with a group of friends in the City of Poughkeepsie-owned Garden Street parking lot on a Monday morning.

As Herry watches to see who comes out of the van, he sees a man in plain clothes he recognizes: Linwood Burke, a behavioral health specialist.

Two uniformed city police officers also exit the van. Still, Herry feels himself relax.

Burke handed Herry a business card the last time they spoke, but he lost it. When he left a homeless shelter at the Dutchess County Jail to stay with a friend, some of his belongings had been thrown away, including the card.

Herry has been homeless for five years. He struggles from a bipolar disorder. On his bad days, he isolates himself and doesn’t want to speak with others. This is a good day.

He finds comfort in speaking to Burke. But Herry continues to struggle to advocate for himself and follow through pursuing the social services Burke suggests, which could help him with his mental health and housing instability. Read more here.
PRA Publication Rerelease: Practical Advice on Jail Diversion

PRA is rereleasing Practical Advice on Jail Diversion to the field as a reference document. Originally published in 2007, this resource offers actionable information on what jail diversion is, why it makes sense as an approach to reducing the over-incarceration of people with behavioral health needs, and how to adopt or adapt a program for the local landscape. Professionals in the criminal justice and behavioral health fields and interested community members can use this resource to learn to design, plan, implement, and evaluate a successful jail diversion program. The topics addressed by this publication include the following:

  • What jail diversion programs are and why to develop one
  • Guidance on making jail diversion happen in your community
  • Planning for program sustainability
  • Data collection and program evaluation

The 2021 release of Practical Advice on Jail Diversion is for reference purposes only. The document has been re-branded to allow for broad distribution to the field, but the content has not been updated from the 2007 publication. Readers should view this publication as a reference resource.
New York Reaches a Deal to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

New York State officials finalized a deal on Thursday to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, paving the way for a potential $4.2 billion industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs and become one of the largest markets in the country.

Following several failed attempts, lawmakers in Albany struck an agreement with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older, a move that officials hope will help end years of racially disproportionate policing that saw Black and Hispanic people arrested on low-level marijuana charges far more frequently than white people.

The deal would allow delivery of the drug and permit club-like lounges or “consumption sites” where marijuana, but not alcohol, could be consumed, according to details obtained by The New York Times. It would also allow a person to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home, indoors or outdoors, for personal use. Read more here.

Spring Health Launches ‘Most Detailed Value-Based Model in Outpatient Behavioral Health’

Health care’s shift from fee-for-service reimbursement to value-based care has been slow. But finally, the coronavirus is accelerating the industry’s movement in that direction, which bodes well for behavioral health providers, who are known for the long-term outcomes they deliver.

Even health insurance giants like Anthem (NYSE: ANTM) are jumping on board: Earlier this month, Eric Bailly, Anthem’s business solutions director and head of substance use disorder (SUD) strategy said he expected to see “very few organizations that are still really heavily weighted on the fee-for-service models” by 2026.

The latest company to join the charge is Spring Health, a behavioral health benefits company that recently rolled out a new value-based care model to reimburse providers in its network. Read more here.
Schumer Announces Historic $35 Million Federal Investment To Build New York's First Short-term Inpatient Program For Children With Complex Developmental Disabilities

Following his tireless advocacy for children with complex conditions, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced an unprecedented $35 million loan for The Center for Discovery’s (TCFD) first of its kind Children’s Specialty Hospital in Rock Hill, New York, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program. The funding will allow for New York’s first short-term inpatient assessment program for children with complex conditions to begin construction, creating over 400 healthcare jobs and 150 construction jobs in Sullivan County while improving access to quality care and services for Upstate New York’s most vulnerable. Read more here.
Waiting Lists May Be Eliminated For Disability Services Provided By Medicaid

Work is underway on legislation that could fundamentally transform the nation’s system of home- and community-based services, eliminating waiting lists and allowing people with disabilities to move across state lines without forfeiting critical services and supports.

draft bill unveiled this month known as the HCBS Access Act would require Medicaid to provide home- and community-based services to everyone who is eligible and establish a minimum set of services that states must offer. The bill is also designed to help states create a network of providers and workers to deliver such supports. Read more here.
FORE Grant to Addiction Policy Forum Will Link People with Substance Use Disorder to COVID-19 Vaccine

In a major effort to get COVID-19 vaccines to one of the most vulnerable populations, the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) and the Addiction Policy Forum (APF) are launching an initiative to help people with substance use disorder (SUD) receive COVID-19 vaccinations. The work was launched with a March 23 webinar featuring Drs. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), who discussed addiction, COVID-19, and vaccines.
With FORE’s support, trained vaccine navigators will help people with SUD find and schedule appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations through a help line, website, app, and newsletter. Read more here.
U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Have Grown Faster in Urban Counties

Recent drug overdose deaths in the United States have affected urban communities more than rural ones, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2019, 22 people in urban counties died of drug overdoses for every 100,000 people. In the same year, rural counties saw an age-adjusted rate of 19.6 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people. The report, released Wednesday by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, also offers insight into which kind of drugs claimed the most lives over the last two decades and which communities were hit the hardest over time.

The report did not include data for drug overdose deaths in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, though Hedegaard says provisional data for the first half of 2020 suggests a national overdose mortality rate that is worse than what might be expected based on historical trends. Read more here.
CVS Focuses on Mental Health, Pilots New Social Worker Model

Leaders at CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) are keeping their eyes on behavioral in 2021 and beyond.  

In its recently released annual Health Trends Report, the health care giant identified the ongoing mental health crisis as a factor likely to define the health care industry overall in 2021.

The prediction comes as the coronavirus has worsened the nation’s behavioral health.

Deadly drug overdoses hit an all-time high last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with more than 81,000 fatalities in the 12-month period ended May 2020. Plus, the CDC found that the prevalence of depression was four times higher in June 2020 than in the second quarter of 2019.
Read more here.
Data Doesn’t Have To Be A Four-Letter Word For Clinical Professionals

Our new survey of tech adoption among specialty provider organizations – The Tech-Enabled Provider Organization: The 2020 OPEN MINDS Health & Human Services Technology Survey – found that 58% of specialty provider organizations and 76% of primary care organizations use clinical decision support technology. This proportion has increased over recent years, but is nowhere near what would be needed to optimize care for consumers or participate in value-based reimbursement arrangements.

Using data to make care planning and treatment decisions is not well received by all clinical professionals. Clinical staff are concerned that their autonomy is compromised, that the available data may not be accurate, and that the collection of data for decision support takes away from consumer care (see Taking Decision Support From Concept To Practice: How To Implement Just-In-Time Clinical Decisionmaking). So it was important to hear how two provider organization management teams are making data accessible, relevant, and valuable to their clinical staff to improve outcomes and customer satisfaction. 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.

Affiliated with the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC)