July 1, 2021
Cuomo Signs Opioid Lockbox Bill Into Law With Some Changes

After weeks of negotiations with the New York state Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an opioid settlement fund bill into law, albeit with changes that give the administration more power over the advisory committee that will direct the funds.

The new law (S.7194/A.6395B) will ensure that money received by the state as the result of any opioid settlement will be deposited into a special fund to support treatment, recovery and abatement efforts.

While the new law ensures that any money received from opioid settlements will not supplant state funding, there are changes to the original bill that provide the executive with greater oversight of the funding. Read more here.

For April Aycock, Mental Health is About Connections 

April Aycock, the new director of the Monroe County Office of Mental Health, believes there is no such thing as a “normal” person.

Everyone struggles, everyone has challenges, everyone faces moments of personal crisis. For some, the experience is so chronic, getting out of bed can feel like a monumental task. All of us, she said, deserve dignity, respect, and the chance to lead a fruitful life.

“We have to talk about as a community, as a nation, what is ‘normal,’” Aycock said. “When we talk about stigma, we have to look into all of these areas where it helps for somebody to say, ‘You know what, I’m struggling with mental health,’ and create a very safe environment to disclose that.” Read more here.
State Approves Mobile Access Program for Genesee County Mental Health to Work with Three Police Agencies

Genesee County’s director of mental health and community services apparently swung for the fences and hit a home run last week when she learned that the New York State Office of Mental Health approved the county’s application to participate in the Mobile Access Program with three law enforcement agencies.

The Mobile Access Program (MAP) is a pilot initiative that connects residents in distress with mental health clinicians utilizing iPads (via Zoom for Healthcare, a secure teleconferencing software program) when law enforcement officers request assistance. Mental health staff then will conduct an evaluation remotely to help plan for an appropriate disposition.

“They (NYSOMH officials) really wanted one law enforcement agency but we kind of took a gamble and chose three. We asked for a lot,” said Lynda Battaglia, who heads up the county’s mental health department. Read more here.
NYS OASAS And NYSED Announce Opportunity For School Districts To Participate In Student Health Surveys

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and New York State Education Department (NYSED) today announced the opportunity for school districts across New York State to participate in the Youth Development Survey (YDS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The YDS will assess substance-related risk and protective factors of students in grades 7-12 regarding underage drinking, substance use, and problem gambling. The YRBS measures 9th-12th grade students’ strengths and risks related to unintentional injuries and violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, dietary behaviors, physical activity, sexual behaviors, obesity and weight control and other health topics. Read more here.

A Mental Health Crisis Flares Among Young Children

When Marie, 11, called a suicide prevention hotline in October, nobody saw it coming. Not even Marie herself, who had been bottling up feelings of loneliness and sadness for months without telling anyone.

Her relationships with some of her closest friends had started to suffer when school went online last year, and she worried about losing other people in her life, too. What if they moved away? What if they died?

One weekday afternoon, she put on her headphones and listened to music while taking a walk, and she began to get increasingly upset. Even now, she isn’t sure exactly why.

“I knew that I needed help, but I didn’t really know who to go to,” she said. Read more here.
Behavioral Healthcare Parity Is Low Among Regional, State Plans

Although the coronavirus pandemic has imposed significant changes on the healthcare industry particularly in regards to behavioral and mental healthcare, historically behavioral healthcare parity has not been a priority for payers and, as a result, compliance, network adequacy, and use of value-based payments are all low, according to an Avalere survey.

The survey covered 37 decision-makers in healthcare organizations that included payers, behavioral health management organizations, and integrated delivery networks. Read more here.
innovaTel Telepsychiatry and Mirah Form Strategic Partnership to Drive Value-Based Behavioral Healthcare

Responding to the urgent need to increase access and improve outcomes in behavioral health, innovaTel Telepsychiatry, a national telepsychiatry provider, has entered into a strategic partnership with Mirah, an innovative provider of Measurement Based Care (MBC), to deliver cloud-based outcome measurements to mild, moderate and severe, outpatient psychiatric patients.

"Mirah's mission of improving behavioral health outcomes through MBC is highly aligned with innovaTel's vision for comprehensive, evidence-based, and metrics-driven virtual behavioral healthcare treatment," stated Jon Evans, CEO and co-founder of innovaTel. Read more here.
Uncertain Telehealth Laws Keep Substance Abuse Care Providers on Their Toes

Telehealth adoption has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in treatments for people dealing with substance abuse issues. And that trend will likely continue, as providers look for more and better ways to manage care for a fast-growing population.

Much of that growth in connected health services was driven by state and federal waivers issued over the past year and a half to boost telehealth access and coverage to address COVID-19. But with the pandemic winding down, several states are ending their public health emergencies, leaving providers scrambling to figure out what they can and can’t do any more. Read more here.

New SAMHSA Publication: Telehealth for the Treatment of Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders
This guide reviews ways that telehealth modalities can be used to provide treatment for serious mental illness and substance use disorders among adults, distills the research into recommendations for practice, and provides examples of how these recommendations can be implemented.
Mental Health First Aid Train-the-Trainer Program - APPLY NOW!

The Conference is once again offering a competitive application process for individuals from across the state to participate in Mental Health First Aid instructor training via the National Council’s VIRTUAL platform. Three (3) trainings will be held in October 2021, with each session accommodating 16 participants.

This year we are excited to be able to offer for the first time an ADULT MHFA session, as well as two YOUTH MHFA sessions:

  • Session 1 - ADULT MHFA: 10/4 - 10/6
  • Session 2 - YOUTH MHFA: 10/18 - 10/20
  • Session 3 – YOUTH MHFA**: 10/25 - 10/27 **This session is targeted specifically to individuals who work in a school district**

Read more about the program and how to apply here.
Governor Cuomo Announces $11.2 Million for Supportive Housing Projects and Emergency Shelter Repairs across the State

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced that $11.2 million in state funding has been awarded to six projects that will provide supportive housing or emergency shelter to New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. Supported through New York State's Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, these projects will create 127 units of permanent supportive housing and assist three emergency shelters in performing needed repairs. Read more here.
How Two Funders Collaborated To Address Challenges In The Safety Net And Rural Health Care

Health funders are increasingly collaborating with their peers in devising research, grant making, technical assistance, and field-building activities to tackle complex health and health care challenges.

As two such colleagues from major health philanthropies, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF), our collaborative efforts over the past five years have helped to advance a payment reform agenda among safety-net providers; provided insights into addressing the rural hospital closure crisis; and furthered the field’s understanding of how to integrate social determinants of health (SDOH) within the Medicaid managed care environment. In so doing, we have also improved our own work through regular information sharing, making connections with content experts, and enhancing our strategy development through thought partnership. Read more here.

July 6, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

July 6, 3:30 - 5 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 13, 1- 2 pm, American Psychiatric Association

July 14, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

July 14, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 14, 3 - 4:30 pm, Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts

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 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 22, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

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

July 23, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

July 28, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

July 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC


CLMHD Office Closed - Independence Day Observed
July 5

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
July 8: 11 am - 12 pm

Agency Day: OASAS
July 12: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OMH
July 13: 9:30 - 11:30 am

LGU Clinic Operators Call
July 14: 10 - 11:30 am

WEBINAR: Blueprint for Diversifying Funding Sources: Wayne County
July 14: 2 - 3:30 pm

Agency Day: OPWDD
July 15: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 20: 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)