November 4, 2021
Opioid Abuse Treatment Study is Underway in Lewis County with New Programs in Place

Peer programs, naloxone accessibility and drug collection locations are just a few of the new measures taken since June in Lewis County to battle opioid abuse disorder as a result of participation in Columbia University’s multi-million dollar HEALing Community Study.

Lewis County Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sean Harney and county Community Services Director Patricia Fralick updated the Board of Legislators’ Health and Human Services Committee on progress.

The study, which was announced in 2019, has been underway since June after a year-long “conceptual phase.” Read more here.
UCM Digital Health and Rensselaer County Announce Innovative Telehealth Solution for Residents

UCM Digital Health (UCM), a leading provider of emergency telemedicine and digital health solutions, and Rensselaer County, will partner to launch, a comprehensive telehealth solution that provides triage and access to top-notch clinical care through UCM's digital platforms to all Rensselaer County residents.

RenscoCares provides access to telemedicine platforms from participating regional health insurers and from UCM directly. Residents enrolled in other health plans or those without health insurance are guided to UCM's proprietary telehealth platform called Sam. This will increase access, reduce cost, and more effectively coordinate all the healthcare resources within the county and drive awareness of effective alternatives to conventional acute care settings like the emergency room or an urgent care center. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: Yes, Telehealth Does Work For Consumers With I/DD
Governor Hochul Announces Administration Nominations and Appointments

Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday announced new administration nominations and appointments. Kerri Neifeld has been nominated as commissioner of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday. Neifeld had been assistant secretary for human services and mental hygiene. She will serve as acting commissioner until confirmed by senate. Jihoon Kim was appointed deputy secretary for human services and mental hygiene. He was previously special assistant to the executive deputy commissioner at the Office of Mental Health.
How Payers Help Tackle Substance Use Disorders, Other Conditions

The National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Opioids and Behavioral Health committee brought together healthcare leaders from across the nation to explore an under-represented subject: strategies around substance use disorders with co-occurring conditions. In September 2021, NQF compiled a 35-page report of the committee’s recommendations.

Given the dual dimensions of their conditions, members with substance use disorders and co-occurring or “concurrent” conditions require nuanced care strategies. Their treatment must be holistic in order to be effective. But payers — and the healthcare system as a whole — have struggled to fully address these members’ needs. Read more here.
Behavioral Health Workforce is a National Crisis: Immediate Policy Actions for States 

To address the workforce crisis facing our field, and together with Health Management Associates, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, are preparing a series of briefs that offer states immediate policy actions to expand current capacity and build a more stable future workforce. The first brief focuses on policy, financial strategies and regulatory waivers, and is now available! Two additional briefs on clinical care delivery models and digital solutions, as well as enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce, will be shared soon.
NAMI-NYS Releases Sweeping Mental Health Crisis Response Report

NAMI-NYS is working to address the traumatic and oftentimes tragic outcomes that occur when law enforcement has to intervene with people living with a mental illness when they are experiencing a crisis situation, with the release of its sweeping report; Meeting a Mental Health Crisis with a Mental Health Response-A Report by NAMI-NYS Detailing How to Maximize the Opportunities Associated with New York State Implementing a 988 Mental Health Crisis Number.

The report details how, along with a 988 number to call during a crisis, having specially trained mental health professionals respond to these calls and having recovery oriented crisis stabilization services to take someone who needs to be removed from the crisis location are both integral elements needed for an appropriate mental health crisis response. The report also details the funding available to establish and sustain the three crucial elements of a mental health crisis response.
Suicide Rates Fall Again - But Not for Young Adults and Some People of Color

When the pandemic began in early 2020, some worried that mass isolation and a spike in unemployment could cause suicide rates to skyrocket.

Now, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the opposite happened: Suicides dropped by 3% in 2020, continuing a downward trend that began in 2019 after nearly two decades of increases.

According to the report, roughly 46,000 people died by suicide in 2020, about 1,600 fewer than the year before.

The drop was most striking in April, when 14% fewer people died by suicide than in April 2019. Read more here.

American Psychological Association Says It's Sorry for Perpetuating Systemic Racism

The American Psychological Association is seeking to make amends for past wrongs.

The APA, an organization that has been around since the late 1800s, issued a lengthy statement on Friday apologizing not only for the APA's role in perpetuating systemic racism, but for the role psychology, as a field of study, has also played in systemically harming people of color for decades.

The organization's Council of Representatives unanimously voted to adopt a resolution that, among other things, apologizes for engaging in "racism, racial discrimination, and denigration" of communities of color; as a result, they failed in their mission to better the lives of others, they admitted. Read more here.
Reentry in the Wake of COVID-19: Service Providers Adapt but Need More Support to Address Community Needs

COVID-19 has impacted corrections and reentry in profound ways as agencies and organizations have suspended, pivoted, and adapted protocols and programming to maintain the health and safety of staff and the people they serve. In a survey conducted by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in June 2021, community-based organizations that provide reentry services across the country reported that while some disrupted services are now fully back up and running, many services are only partially operating at pre-pandemic levels or have stopped operating altogether. At the same time, in many areas, the level of need in the community is now greater. Almost three-quarters of 169 respondents reported that the people they serve have a greater need for support than they did before the pandemic. Read more here.

The Eggs In The Basket

“Diversification is the key to….protection against the inevitable ups and downs of markets. It’s a simple but important point about eggs and baskets.” This article on diversification, Diversifying Your Portfolio In A Changing World, got me thinking once again about this topic. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is often used but ancient advice (purportedly coined in the early 1600s by the author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes.) And I’m a big believer in diversification in all things in life—particularly diversification of organizational revenue. My rule of thumb—an organization’s service line should not have any service line/payer combination that accounts for more than 30% of organizational revenue.

The reason is simple. Organizations with diverse revenue streams are more resilient in the face of unexpected market changes. It doesn’t matter how great the service is or the relationship with the customer. Anything could happen to change that. Read more here.

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Establishing the Substance Use Disorder Education and Recovery Fund

Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday signed legislation (S.4086/A.6553) establishing the Substance Use Disorder Education and Recovery Fund and authorizing gifts, on personal income tax returns, for substance use disorder education and recovery.

Legislation S.4086/A.6553 creates a personal income tax check-off which will be known as the Substance Use Disorder Education and Recovery Fund. Money in this fund is to be used for providing grants to organizations dedicated to providing education, prevention, treatment or recovery to those suffering from substance use disorders. Read more here.
Peers and Volunteers Supporting Recovery: Mountain Top Cares Coalition Battles The Opioid Epidemic In Rural New York

Mountain Top Cares Coalition (MCC) is a peer-run organization in Greene County, New York, linking residents who have substance use disorders to treatment, health care, and other critical resources to support recovery. The organization’s mission centers on facilitating connections to providers for individuals in recovery across 12 rural communities in the Catskill Mountains. MCC’s staff, consisting of volunteers and one part-time paid staff member, bridge critical gaps in access to treatment and services for substance use disorders in a region with high rates of opioid use and opioid overdose deaths. Many of the program’s participants face stigma about their substance use, so MCC facilitates partnerships with key community stakeholders to leverage local resources and promote education about recovery. With the majority (55 to 65 percent) of MCC’s program participants having current or previous justice involvement, the organization supports continuity of care for program members through strategic partnerships with local physical and behavioral health providers, law enforcement, the jail, and the Greene County Regional Treatment Court. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: Demonstrating the Value
More Than Half (55%) of New Yorkers Say Pandemic Has Negatively Affected Their Mental Health in Survey Commissioned by MetroPlusHealth

Eighteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic had a grueling impact on New York City residents; New Yorkers remain grief-stricken over the pandemic loss, a new study conducted by MetroPlusHealth; New York’s affordable health plan revealed.

Last month, MetroPlusHealth conducted MetroPlusHealth’s 2021 Survey of Behavioral Health. The survey concluded that more than half (55%) of New York City residents say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 48% of Americans. Moreover, only 33% of those age 65+ believe talking to a mental health professional would positively impact their lives, compared to 73% of those 18-34 years old. Read more here.

November 5, 9 am - 2 pm, Evidence Based Treatment Dissemination Center

November 9, 12:30 - 1:30 pm, NYAPRS

November 9, 1 - 2:30 pm, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

November 10, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

November 10, 6 - 7 pm, PsychU

November 16, 10 - 11 am, OMH

November 16, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 16, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 16, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 16, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA, HHS Office of Minority Health

November 17, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

November 17, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

November 18, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Association of Counties

November 18, Putnam County

November 19, 11 am - 12 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 30, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

November 30, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition


LGU Clinic Operators Call
November 5: 10 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OASAS
November 8: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OMH
November 9: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OPWDD
November 10: 9:30 - 11:30 am

November 11

November 25 - 26

Children & Families Committee Meeting
November 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm
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)