October 20, 2021
Governor Hochul Announces Availability of $21 Million in Federal Funding to Strengthen the State's Mental Health Workforce

Governor Kathy Hochul last week announced that the New York State Office of Mental Health has secured $21 million in workforce recruitment and retention funds that will help strengthen the state's mental health system and improve access to mental health services in communities across the state.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an enormous strain on all New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "This funding will support our behavioral health workforce and increase access to care, helping to ensure that everyone in our state who needs assistance and treatment can get it." Read more here.

Beyond Detox: Erie County Inmates to be Offered Medication-Assisted Treatment for Drug Addiction

Erie County inmates who are addicted to drugs currently have only one avenue for treatment once they enter the county Holding Center: a detox program where they are forced to get clean in a segregated facility until they are considered stable enough to join the rest of the inmate population.

Many health and jail reform advocates, however, have opposed this practice. They say inmates are needlessly subjected to harsh withdrawal pains when addiction treatment options such as Suboxone and methadone can be administered to block the highs produced by opioid narcotics, maintain bodily function and prevent suffering. Read more here.

WNY Providers Grow Mental Health Services during Pandemic that Will Stick around Long After

While the pandemic was busy spiking depression, addiction, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other crises in people, the region’s mental and behavioral health programs were building more services to get ahead of the growing demand.

Leaders believe much of what was developed during the height of the pandemic will continue long after it ends. As a result, they say, Western New York will have access to a greater number of services than ever. Read more here.
OIG Report’s Key Telehealth Takeaways

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) within HHS recently published the Data Brief titled Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Evaluation and Oversight of Telehealth for Behavioral Health in Medicaid.

OIG reviewed how states are increasingly relying on telehealth to provide behavioral health services to Medicaid enrollees. During the pandemic, states expanded the use of telehealth to address the behavioral health needs for Medicaid enrollees.

In order for OIG to review the issues related to telehealth and behavioral health services, a survey of State Medicaid Directors from 37 States provided behavioral health services via telehealth through managed care organizations plus interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders. Read more here.
SAMHSA’s GAINS Center Invites Communities to Apply for Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) Mapping Workshops 

Application deadline: November 19, 2021

SAMHSA’s GAINS Center is currently soliciting applications from communities interested in Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) Mapping Workshops. SIM Mapping Workshops are designed to bring together a local, cross-system, multidisciplinary group of key stakeholders from a particular jurisdiction (typically a county) to facilitate collaboration and to identify and discuss ways in which barriers between the criminal justice and behavioral systems can be reduced through the development of integrated local strategic action plans. SIM Mapping Workshop participants are expected to be drawn, in large part, from local criminal justice and behavioral health agencies and organizations. Read more here.
'Caregiving Crisis:' New York Bill To Increase Home Care Worker Wages Hits Regulatory Snag

A state bill to raise wages for home care workers in New York has hit a regulatory snag as lawmakers push to help a fast-growing industry composed predominantly by immigrant women of color who are among the lowest paid workers.

In a Zoom call Thursday, state legislators, advocates, workers and patients from Rockland and Westchester counties urged passage of the Fair Pay for Home Care Act, which would increase state funding for salaries of home care workers who take care of seniors and people with disabilities. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: Direct Support Staff crisis
Industry Must Build Out Entire Behavioral Health Continuum says NABH CEO

Throughout the pandemic, behavioral health conditions nationwide have worsened and substance use disorder (SUD) overdose rates have continually broken records. Although the numbers paint a bleak picture, Coughlin — who heads one of the behavioral health industry’s leading groups — says he is up for helping providers meet those challenges.

“We’re at a unique time in history with a lot of opportunity,” Coughlin, the CEO of the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH), recently commented to Behavioral Health Business during the organization’s 2021 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Read more here.
Comparison of State Use of American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Strengthen Home and Community-Based Service Workforce

The context: The pandemic has exacerbated the shortage of behavioral health and long-term care providers — but one-time funds available through the American Rescue Plan Act give states a chance to address or even reverse this shortage.

What states are doing: State have proposed using these funds to increase pay, boost reimbursement rates, and provide workplace supports like childcare and training opportunities.
Read more here.

Productivity—More Than Billable Hours

Productivity improvement is a key to on-going improvement of organizational efficiency and competitive advantage. Typically, when we think of productivity in health and human services, the assumption is that the focus is on the work of team members providing direct services to consumers. Those are important measures of productivity—the average number of various types of services delivered per team member. But health and human service executive team consideration of productivity should have a broader lens. There are many other elements of organizational operations where productivity matters. For example, the number of invoices generated per full time employee in the billing staff, or the revenue dollars generated per dollar invested in marketing and business development (or the charitable donations generated per dollar invested in fundraising, for non-profits). Read more here.
MHA Releases 2022 State of Mental Health in America Report

Mental Health America (MHA) this week issued its annual State of Mental Health in America report, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 15 mental health access and prevalence measures.
NYS CARES UP Fall Webinar Series Announced

Click here for details.

October 26, 2 - 3 pm, HANYS

October 26, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

October 27, 12 - 1:30 pm, Suicide Prevention Center of NYS

October 27-28, NY Council on Problem Gambling

October 28, 1 - 2 pm, National Association of Counties

October 28, 1 - 2:15 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS)

October 28, 2 - 3 pm, Modern Healthcare

October 28, 3 - 4 pm, The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs

October 28, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

October 29, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

October 31 - November 1, HANYS

November 2 - 3, 9:30 am - 12 pm, NYS Health Foundation

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

November 2, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

November 4, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 4, 2 - 3 pm, HANYS

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

November 10, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

November 16, 10 - 11 am, OMH

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

November 17, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

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

November 18, Putnam County

November 30, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH


Mental Hygiene Planning Committee
October 27: 1 - 3 pm


November 2

LGU Billing Staff Call
November 4: 2 - 3 pm

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)