cover photo1 - smiling people
November 2, 2017

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

New Facility, Businesses Team Up to Help People with Disabilities Find Jobs - Erie County

Opioid Blocker as Good as Suboxone in First Head-to-Head Trial

Court To Rule On Whether Relapse By An Addicted Opioid User Should Be A Crime

AI Scans Twitter for Signs of Opioid Abuse

Study finds providers lack resources to stem opioid crisis

Could a Machine Identify Suicidal Thoughts?

Three telehealth services on the rise

Geneticists Are Starting to Unravel Evolution's Role in Mental Illness

Utility of SCARED Screening Tool for Comorbid Anxiety Disorders in Children

'Coming Out of a Cloud' After Drug Abuse and Mental Illness

Teen Depression in US Jumps By Nearly Half in 10 Years

Cure for Anxiety, Depression and PTSD May Already Exist in the Brain
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced the agency's efforts to streamline quality measures and reduce regulatory burden with a new approach to quality measurement called "Meaningful Measures."

Verma announced the "Meaningful Measures" initiative on Monday during a plenary session at the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN) Fall Summit in Arlington, Virginia, and CMS published a written  text of her speech on its website.

"Since assuming my role at CMS, we are moving the agency to focus on patients first. To do this, one of our top priorities is to ease regulatory burden that is destroying the doctor-patient relationship. We want doctors to be able to deliver the best quality care to their patients," Verma said in her speech.

"We often hear about this term - 'regulatory burden' - but what does it actually mean? Regulations have their place and are important to ensuring quality, integrity, and safety in our health care system. But, if rules are misguided, outdated, or are too complex, they can have a suffocating effect on health care delivery by shifting the focus of providers away from the patient and toward unnecessary paperwork, and ultimately increase the cost of care," Verma said.  Read more here.
Narcan Opioid Overdose Spray Is Now Stocked By All Walgreens Pharmacies

It has the power to save lives by targeting opioid overdoses - something that kills more than 140 Americans every day. And now Narcan, the nasal spray that can pull a drug user back from an overdose, is being carried by all of Walgreens' more than 8,000 pharmacies.

"By stocking Narcan in all our pharmacies, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it is needed," said Walgreens vice president Rick Gates.

The pharmacy chain is making the move as America struggles to respond to an opioid epidemic that President Trump is declaring a national emergency on Thursday, hoping to fight the opioid crisis that has struck families and communities from rural areas to cities.

Calling the Walgreen move "an important milestone," Seamus Mulligan, CEO of Narcan maker Adapt Pharma, said that letting people get the medicine "without an individual prescription in 45 states, is critical in combating this crisis."  Read more here.
Governor Cuomo Announces $10 Million Available to Expand Addiction Withdrawal and Stabilization Services in NYS

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced the availability of up to $10 million in capital funding to develop and support up to 75 new, community-based medically supervised withdrawal and stabilization beds throughout New York State. These detox programs provide around-the-clock care to people who are under the influence of alcohol, opioids, or other substances, or suffering from withdrawal, and help stabilize them and connect them to further treatment services.

The expansion of detox services is the latest effort in the Governor's multi-pronged approach to addressing the opioid epidemic, by providing comprehensive prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The detox programs offer medical assessment, information about recovery supports, family treatment, and clinical services, as well as
medication  to manage withdrawal symptoms.

The funding is being made available through a Request for Applications administered by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. It can be viewed  here . Responses are due  December 28 .  Read more here .
Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth

This bulletin summarizes the effects of early trauma on brain development and looks at steps child welfare professionals can take to screen for developmental delays and identify the trauma-affected children and youth in their care. It also looks at ways to access cross-sector, therapeutic, and evidence-based treatment to encourage healthy recovery for trauma-affected children and youth.   Click here for more information.


November 2, 2 - 3:30 pm, Netsmart

November 2, 2 - 3 pm, Genoa, A QoL Healthcare Company

November 7, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

November 8, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, MCTAC

November 9, 2 - 3:15 pm, Stepping Up

November 9, 3 - 4 pm, SAS

November 15, 12 - 1 pm, SAMHSA GAINS Center

Satisfied with Your Return on IT Dollars Spent?
November 15, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

November 16, 2 - 3:15 pm, Stepping Up



Office Closed - Veterans' Day
November 10

Directors & Executive Committee Combined Meeting
November 15:  9:30 - 12:30 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting
November 21:  11:30 am - 1 pm,  GTM

Office Closed - Thanksgiving
November 23 & 24

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
November 28:  1 - 3 pm,  GTM


Officers & Chairs Call
December 6: 8 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
December 19:  11:30 am - 1 pm,  GTM

Directors & Executive Committee Combined Meeting
December 20:  9:30 - 12:30 pm

Office Closed - Christmas
December 25

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
CLMHD to Host Regional Children's & Families Education/ Networking Events

In preparation for the NYS Children's Medicaid system transformation, the Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors (CLMHD) will host a series of education and networking events throughout New York State.  These events will provide an opportunity for the Local Governmental Units (LGUs), Children's Single Point of Access (C-SPOAs), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), Health Homes Serving Children (HHSC), Care Management Agencies (CMAs) and the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to share how each of their systems operate, to inform best practices, and promote collaboration across all child-serving systems.

Events will be held within the 11 RPC regions and will be launched in the Capital District Region on December 4, 2017 and the Mid-Hudson Region on December 6, 2017.   The purpose of these events is to create an opportunity for the LGUs, C-SPOAs, OCFS, HHSC, CMAs and MCOs to network.  The development of these important linkages will help to to foster working relationships and improve effective coordinated care for children, families and youth.  For more details and to register, click here.
RWJ Foundation & Mannatt Health Report:    Communities in Crisis -Local Responses to Behavioral Health Challenges 

As the opioid and mental health crises continue to gain national attention, local leaders are stepping up to implement programs to address the prevalence and impact of untreated serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders (SUD). In a new report supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Manatt Health explores how cities and counties have launched local initiatives to address the human and economic impact of untreated SMI and SUD.

The new report provides detailed profiles of 13 local programs, as well as a comprehensive taxonomy to categorize program elements and features. It describes efforts that train law enforcement officials and other first responders in de-escalation tactics, deliver therapeutic treatment in jails, and create criminal justice diversion programs that direct individuals away from incarceration and toward treatment, housing and therapeutic and social support services.

The report concludes with a look at opportunities for evaluation and spread of successful models.  Read more here.
Governor Cuomo Announces More than $7.6 Million for Programs Designed to Reduce Recidivism and Reliance on Incarceration

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced more than $7.6 million in funding will support programs designed to help individuals involved in the criminal justice system build skills, obtain substance abuse and mental health treatment, and connect with services to help them break the cycle of recidivism. A total of 31 local agencies and not-for-profit organizations in eight regions across the state have been awarded funding. 

Grant awards will support 31 programs that will target approximately 4,300 individuals for services. These programs will assist individuals who have been arrested and potentially subject to pre-trial detention, including those with behavioral health needs who are at moderate- to high-risk of reoffending. Programs will also support those who can be effectively supervised in the community with services, as well as stabilize individuals who have violated probation and are at risk of incarceration.

Some of the programs receiving funding are located in counties where these types of services were previously lacking: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Columbia, Niagara, Ontario, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Washington and Wayne. Programs eligible to apply for funding included pre-trial release programs; defender-based advocacy programs; alternative to incarceration programs that use the Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities model; programs that assist specialized populations, including women; and probation violation residential centers.

Click  here  to view the complete list of funded programs, which are located in New York City and 16 counties upstate and on Long Island.
Department of Health to Host Public Comment on Medicaid 1115 Waiver

The Department of Health will be convening its annual public comment session for New York's section 1115 Medicaid waiver programs on November 16 from 1 - 4 pm. Feedback on all aspects of New York's Medicaid waiver programs is welcomed; comments can also be submitted through 11/19 to

In addition to staff from the Department of Health, members of the DSRIP Project Approval and Oversight Panel (PAOP) will attend the session. The PAOP is tasked with serving as advisors and reviewers of Performing Provider Systems status and project performance during the 5-year DSRIP program. The session will be held in the Reading Room of the NY Academy of Medicine, 1216 5th Ave, New York. Prior to the public comment session, the PAOP will be meeting to discuss three items: an update on the mid-point assessment, an overview of the independent evaluation, and the NY Prevention Agenda and DSRIP. The meetings are open to the public and will be webcast live; no pre-registration is required. Read more here.
Blockchain Aims to Foster Payer, Provider Trust for Value-Based Care

As the healthcare industry slowly becomes more connected and more interoperable, organizations are attempting to implement data management strategies that balance privacy and security with collective access and accessibility.

Value-based care has accelerated the need for seamless data sharing in an environment that is both transparent and unquestionably trustworthy - one that can bring payers and providers together to improve quality, reduce costs, and enhance the patient experience.

While stakeholders have offered up plenty of potential solutions for creating a free-flowing data environment that can support the complex environment of pay-for-performance reimbursements, blockchain may be the methodology that  ticks the most boxes with a relatively low amount of effort.  Read more here.
Partnerships Between Public Health and Behavioral Health Move Self-Management

We have long assumed that the next big advance for behavioral healthcare will be the addition of population health management to our traditional clinical interventions. Such a transition would permit us not only to treat disease while promoting self-determination and self-management, but also to move upstream to undertake the equally arduous task of preventing disease. What we have lacked is a field-wide strategy to make this transition practical.

Now, two fields, public health and behavioral health, are beginning to open up the possibilities of working together on population health management. In just a few days, on November 5, the Carter Center Behavioral Health Program and the American Public Health Association Mental Health Section will host a joint event for this purpose. Discussions will center on how behavioral health can incorporate public health interventions and practices, and how public health can add clinical interventions long-used by behavioral health.

The essence of population health management is to promote better self-determination and self-management for a population after subdividing it into groups based upon two factors: health and illness. Read more here.
FDA Plans to Expand Access to Certain Opioids

Speaking before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, outlined a plan to combat the opioid crisis, including encouraging widespread use among opioid addicts of less harmful opioid drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine.

"Now I know this may make some people uncomfortable," Gottlieb  told the Committee. "That's why the third step I'm announcing today is that FDA will join efforts to break the stigma associated with medications used for addiction treatment. This means taking a more active role in speaking out about the proper use of these drugs."

"Given the scale of the epidemic, with millions of Americans already affected, prevention is not enough. We must also help those who are suffering from addiction by expanding access to lifesaving treatment," Gottlieb added.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts found a greater than 50% reduction in the risk of death from overdose among individuals treated with methadone or buprenorphine after a nonfatal overdose, Gottlieb noted. "These kinds of data have immense implications for insurers and policymakers in deciding how to adopt these treatments." Read more here.

Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States spends disproportionately less on social services, and more on health care. This is true despite evidence that social determinants of health (SDOH) - including income, educational attainment, employment status, and access to food and housing - affect an array of health outcomes, particularly among low-income populations. Individuals with unmet social needs are more likely to have difficulties self-managing chronic health conditions, have repeat "no-shows" to medical appointments, and be frequent emergency department users.

With this understanding, providers are increasingly focused on strategies to address patients' unmet social needs. This brief examines how organizations participating in  Transforming Complex Care, a multi-site national initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are assessing and addressing SDOH for populations with complex needs. It reviews key considerations for organizations seeking to use SDOH data to improve patient care.  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.