cover image 2
July 26, 2017

Please note - the NYSCLMHD Weekly News will not be sent out next week.  Publication will resume the week of August 7th.

Advancing Public Policies for People with Mental Illness, Chemical Dependency or Developmental Disabilities   

Connect With Us:
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn
Francine Sinkoff, Editor
State drops plan to close psychiatric hospital in Goshen

Broome County law enforcement unveils overdose mapping app

Erie County eyes Albany Police diversion program

Prevention services to grow under proposed merger - Essex & Franklin Counties

Opioid Lawsuits Filed by 9 NY Counties Transferred, Assigned to Single Judge in Suffolk County

Onondaga County plans to sue manufacturers of opioids

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Announces Fifth Anniversary Of County Opiod Overdose Prevention Project

New Syracuse clinic aims to ease shortage of mental health care for kids

Schenectady schools to focus on student trauma

Suicide prevention coalition to form in Tompkins County

Governor Cuomo Announces Construction on $67 Million Supportive Housing Development in the Bronx
OASAS Children's System Transition: Regional Forum for OASAS Providers Serving Youth & Young Adults up to 21

The Children's System of Services is now scheduled to transition to Medicaid Managed Care on July 1, 2018. In order to assist OASAS organizations preparing for this transition, OASAS and CASA/MCTAC along with CCSI will deliver a day long forum for OASAS treatment and prevention providers delivering services to Youth and Young Adults up to 21.

Essex County is Hiring: Director of Community Mental Health Services

Essex County has an anticipated vacancy for a Director of Community Mental Health Services, serving as chief executive officer of the Local Governmental Unit (LGU) and the County Mental Health Department. The Director will be responsible for the community mental health program, exercising general direction in planning, coordination and operation of the full range of mental health, alcoholism or substance abuse, and developmental disability services provided within the County.  Click here for more information.
This App Tells You - and Maybe Someone Else - When You're Depressed

A Facebook message pops up on my phone screen. "What's going on in your world?"   It's from a robot named Woebot, the brainchild of Stanford University psychologist Alison Darcy.

Woebot seems to care about me. The app asks me for a list of my strengths, and remembers my response so it can encourage me later. It helps me set a goal for the week -- being more productive at work. It asks me about my moods and my energy levels and makes charts of them.
"I'll help you recognize patterns because ... (no offense) humans aren't great at that," Woebot tells me with a smirking smile emoji.

So Woebot knows that I felt anxious on Wednesday and happy on Thursday. But who else might know? Unlike a pedometer, which tracks something as impersonal as footsteps, many mental-health apps in development rely on gathering and analyzing information about a user's intimate feelings and social life.

Woebot is one of an emerging group of technological interventions that aim to detect and treat mental-health disorders. They're not for everyone. Still, the new technologies may fill gaps in current treatment options by detecting symptoms earlier and acting as coaches for individuals who might otherwise never seek counseling. Read more here.
County of Santa Clara Launches Nation's First Mental Health "Pay for Success" Project

The County of Santa Clara, CA is launching the nation's first mental health-focused Pay for Success project in partnership with Telecare Corporation, a national leader in providing innovative, effective services to individuals with serious mental illness. The project, called "Partners in Wellness," will provide community-based mental health services to approximately 250 severely mentally ill county residents, with the goal of measurably improving their wellbeing and quality of life while reducing their reliance on less effective and costlier services, including the County's psychiatric emergency room and other inpatient psychiatric care settings.
In Santa Clara County, a small subset of severely mentally ill residents frequently cycles in and out of the County's psychiatric emergency room and inpatient facility.  These individuals are also at risk for homelessness, incarceration, and extended psychiatric hospitalizations. Through Partners in Wellness, the County hopes to implement a proactive model of care that identifies these individuals and provides them with more effective treatment in a community-based setting.  Through this project, the County also hopes to improve patient flow through its emergency and inpatient psychiatric facilities, creating savings and efficiencies in the County's health system.
Pay for Success is a performance-oriented contracting model that ties a government entity's payments for services to high-need populations to the achievement of demonstrably successful results. In Pay for Success programs, the effectiveness of services is tracked over time and, unlike traditional government contracting, service providers receive full payment only if the project has achieved successful outcomes for the individuals it is serving. Read more here.

August 8, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

August 10, 12 - 1 pm, MCTAC

August 10, 2 - 3:15 pm, National Association of Counties

HEDIS® Behavioral Health Measures: An Update From NCQA©
August 15, 12 - 1 pm, National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

August 16, 3 - 4:30 pm, Rural Behavioral Health

August 22, 3 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

September 12, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

September 14, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

September 28, 12 - 12:30 pm, PsychU


Officers, Chairs & Regional Reps Call
August 2:  8 - 9 am

Officers, Chairs & Regional Reps Call
September 6:  8 - 9 am

Fall Full Membership Meeting
September 11 - 12
Crowne Plaza, Lake Placid

Children & Families Committee Meeting
September 19:  11:30 am - 1 pm

Directors & Executives Combined Meeting
September 20:  9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
CMS Looks to Launch Behavioral Health Pay Model

The CMS is interested in launching a new pay model that will target behavioral health services and is seeking public comment on what the new effort should look like.

On Thursday, the CMS announced that its Innovation Center would like to design a payment or service delivery model to improve healthcare quality and access for Medicare, Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program beneficiaries with behavioral health conditions. 

The model may address the needs of beneficiaries battling substance use or mental disorders. It could also target Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

The Innovation Center will be soliciting ideas at a public meeting on Sept. 8 at CMS headquarters in Baltimore.  Read more here.
HHS Study Will Measure How Widespread Mental Illness is in U.S.

HHS is planning to launch a national evaluation to determine how prevalent mental illness is in the United States. Its results could lead to a seismic shift in the practice of medicine, clinicians say.  The last time such an analysis was conducted was over a decade ago, according to the agency. 

"The availability of timely and high-quality epidemiological data is key to supporting strategic initiatives to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders," the agency  said in a notice on the White House's Office of Management and Budget site.
"Unfortunately, data on the prevalence of specific mental disorders among adults and adolescents across the United States are outdated."

Clinicians say more up-to-date data on prevalence of mental illness in the U.S. could lead to changes in the practice of medicine and increased access to care for underserved parts of the country.   Read more here.
The High Cost of Raise the Age for Counties  

Now that the age of criminal responsibility has been raised in New York, county court systems are going to have to make some changes. And local officials are still trying to figure out what those changes are, as well as how to pay for them. They would like some guidance from the state, which has not yet been forthcoming. Click here to watch Steve Acquario from the New York State Association of Counties discuss the issue.  
NYS Medicaid Director Announces Initiative for Young Children at Annual UHF Conference

Recognizing that healthy children have a much better chance at growing into healthy adults, New York State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson announced the First 1000 Days on Medicaid Initiative at United Hospital Fund's annual Medicaid conference on June 20. The Initiative will aim to improve access to health and social services for children during their first three years.

Approximately 59% of children in New York between birth and age 3 are covered by Medicaid, giving the state a unique opportunity to address social and economic factors that can impact lifelong health, Helgerson told the meeting's 450 attendees in his keynote address. In October the Initiative will roll out a 10-point plan to improve access to services for children during their first years, with a preliminary goal of increasing the percentage of children developmentally ready to begin school.  Currently, Helgerson said, roughly 40% of children in the state enter school developmentally behind where they should be.

For more about the Initiative, along with Helgerson's full presentation to the conference, "Medicaid in 2017: Innovating in an Era of Uncertainty,"  click here .
Governor Cuomo Announces Nearly $2.5 Million for Child Advocacy Centers in the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and North Country Regions

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced nearly $2.5 million awarded to five child advocacy centers across New York. Funding will be awarded over the next five years to establish centers in counties that do not currently offer these critical family services. CACs are child-focused, community oriented facilities where children and their families can receive coordinated intervention from social services, law enforcement, medical, advocacy and therapeutic systems, when an allegation of child abuse or maltreatment has been made. These child-friendly facilities make the investigation process less traumatic for children. 

Click here to view a list of the centers which will receive funding.
Study Finds Mental Health Court Curbs Recidivism

A new study from Florida Institute of Technology has found that criminal defendants who graduated from mental health court demonstrated substantially reduced re-arrest rates a full three years following their release, the longest period of post-program behavior examined in a published study involving mental health courts and the clearest indicator yet of the potential for diversionary programs to ease the burden on the nation's overcrowded prison system.

Additionally, the study from Florida Tech's Julie Costopoulos, an assistant professor in the university's School of Psychology, and doctoral student Bethany Wellman found that for those who participated in mental
health  court, prior criminal behavior, no matter how serious, was not an indicator of post-release recidivism.

And even when they re-offended after failing to complete the full complement of 
treatment  and support, participants committed less serious crimes in doing so, the study found, with the severity of offenses declining the longer they had remained in the mental health court.  

The study, "The Effectiveness of One Mental Health Court: Overcoming Criminal History," was published online June 21 in the journal  Psychological Injury and Law. Click here  to read the abstract.   Read more here.
Recovery Coaches at ERs Try to Help Opioid Addicts Avoid Another Overdose

Five months into his job at a 24-hour walk-in behavioral health center here on Staten Island, Tarik Arafat has a new assignment: on call at a nearby hospital to counsel people who have just been revived from opioid overdoses.  In recovery from drug addiction himself, Arafat, 25, said he understands why someone who uses drugs would be more comfortable talking to him than to a medical professional. "My job is to open myself up and be like a toolbox for them," he said.

Arafat's mission - and that of other recovery coaches, as they are called - is not to persuade overdose survivors to get into treatment but to offer advice on how to get started once they've decided they're ready to quit. If they're not interested when he meets them in the emergency room, he'll follow up with phone calls after they leave the hospital. He'll also advise them on how to use drugs more safely, if that's what they choose to do.

Nationwide, tens of thousands of opioid overdose victims have been saved over the past two decades by first responders, friends, relatives and bystanders who administered naloxone, an antidote.   But the majority of those who are rescued from near death go back to using drugs as soon as they leave the hospital, pushed by the brutal withdrawal symptoms that accompany an opioid overdose reversal.  Read more here.
How CIOs Can Lead the Charge in IT-Enabled Patient Engagement

As healthcare has become more digital, it has provided more opportunities for patients to be engaged in their care, whether through pa­tient portals or mobile apps. In the broader sense, as healthcare continues to evolve from a fee-for-service to a value-based care payment model, many healthcare leaders agree that patient engagement is going to play a critical role. The more involved and invested patients are in their own healthcare, the greater the likelihood for successful care outcomes, and this patient engage­ment piece is paramount as patient care organizations increasingly take on more risk.

In February, CDW Healthcare released its 2017 Patient Engagement Perspective Study to explore the drivers, challenges and influences for patient engagement and that study found that 70 percent of patients say they have become more engaged in their healthcare during the past two years, up from 57 percent in 2016. What's more, 74 percent of patients said they joined a patient portal offered by their healthcare provider, up from 45 percent in 2016, while 69 percent said they are speaking percentage said they are accessing healthcare informa­tion more frequently.   The study found that 66 percent of providers noted a change in their patients' level of engagement with their own healthcare.   Read more here .
Neuroscience Offers Insights Into the Opioid Epidemic

Most Americans say they're interested in scientific discoveries, but they may be thinking of the kinds of findings that lead to new gadgets and wonder drugs. When it comes to discoveries about hazards and risks -- especially the risks of those wonder drugs -- Americans seem more likely to tune out.

Such ambivalence might help explain how opioid misuse became such a problem in America. Despite 20 years of warnings from scientists about the dangers of addiction, the rate of prescriptions has tripled between 1999 and today. It hit a peak around 2012 and has started to decline slightly, going from 81.2 per 100 people to a still-enormous 70.6 per 100,  new data show. Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for potentially addictive painkillers in 2014 -- enough for every adult in the country to have a bottle.

All the while, neuroscientists have found that opioids can cause long-term changes in the brain even after an addicted person experiences the severe nausea and other withdrawal symptoms typically associated with quitting. That lingering hazard might have given patients and prescribing physicians pause.  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.