October 7, 2021
Rolison Rolls Out New Program to Assist with Mental Health Programming in Dutchess County

Mayor Rob Rolison has announced that the City of Poughkeepsie is using federal COVID relief money to bolster mental health and housing services through partnership programs. The program is an expansion of the venture between the city and Mental Health America of Dutchess County known as the B.E.A.T. program.

The Behavioral Evaluation and Assistance Team, known as B.E.A.T., partners a behavioral health professional with the police in order to broaden response services. Read more here.
New York's Cannabis Board Holds First Meeting, Amends Medical Program

New York marijuana regulators on Tuesday sought to make up for delays in the drug’s rollout by approving a chief equity officer and making immediate changes to the medical cannabis program during the inaugural meeting of the state Cannabis Control Board.

The five-member board charged with implementing marijuana legalization and advancing the state's cannabis industry set a clear tone: They wanted to move past delays in implementing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Read more here.
Health Systems Create New Care Programs as They Renew Contracts with Insurers

Empire BlueCross BlueShield, part of Anthem, on Monday announced that it has reached a multiyear contract agreement with Mount Sinai Health System. That same day, UnitedHealthcare said it has renewed its network relationship with Northwell Health. There was a commonality in both renewals: commitments to value-based payment models to improve care quality and innovative programs to expand services, especially in light of Covid-19.

UnitedHealthcare's renewed contract is for five years. Empire's contract duration was not specified, but Jordan Vidor, regional vice president of provider solutions, said its health system contract renewals tend to be for three years. UnitedHealthcare serves over 3.7 million New Yorkers, and Empire reaches over 4 million in the state. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Expands Vaccine Mandate to Include Staff in OMH and OPWDD Hospital Settings

Governor Kathy Hochul this week announced the plan to expand the healthcare worker vaccine mandate to include employees who work in certain facilities offering health care to individuals served by the Office of Mental Health and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Under the new directive, staff who work in settings that treat some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers will be required to show proof of at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine series by November 1, without a test-out option. Ahead of that requirement, staff in these settings will be required to submit to weekly testing, if unvaccinated, beginning October 12. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Announces Availability of $20 Million in Stabilization Funding to Support Addiction Service Providers

Governor Kathy Hochul last week announced that New York State has secured $20 million in federal funding through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program to assist addiction service providers with loss of revenue and operating expenses incurred as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Prevention, treatment, and recovery providers overseen by the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports will receive this funding to address fiscal and programmatic stabilization needs as they continue to deal with the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. Read more here.
NYS Attorney General James to Deliver Up to $1.5 Billion to Local Communities to Combat Opioid Crisis

New York Attorney General Letitia James this week began her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour of New York state, where she will begin delivering the first of up to $1.5 billion to combat the opioid epidemic. The funds — which will go to all 10 regions of the state — come from different settlements Attorney General James has negotiated following her March 2019 lawsuit against the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid crisis. While Attorney General James’ tour will make stops in dozens of counties throughout the month of October, all 62 counties in New York state will receive funds from the various settlements. Read more here.

Survey Finds Disability Service Providers On The Brink

Disability service providers across the nation are in crisis, with a majority reporting that they’re shutting down programs, turning away new referrals and struggling to maintain standards.

A survey out this week of 449 organizations that provide services to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities paints a dark picture of the current state of the industry a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of those surveyed, 58% of providers said they’re discontinuing programs or services, 77% are turning away new referrals, 84% are delaying the launch of new offerings and 81% said they are struggling to achieve quality standards. Meanwhile, 40% of providers said they’re seeing higher frequencies of reportable incidents. Read more here.
NYSDFS and NYSDOH Deliver Report and Recommendations to Reduce Health Care Costs and Complexities for the Benefit of New York Consumers

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health (DOH), this week delivered a report to the New York State Legislature with recommendations to reduce health care costs and complexities for the benefit of consumers, providers, and health insurers. The report reflects the year-long work of New York’s Health Care Administrative Simplification Workgroup, which was created by statute last year to study and evaluate this important issue. The Workgroup brought together representatives of the insurance industry, consumers, hospitals, physicians, behavioral health providers, brokers, and unions. Members of the Workgroup identified a number of ways to reduce health care costs and complexities through standardization, simplification, and technology. Read more here.
SAMHSA to Launch New "Office of Recovery" to Expand Its Commitment to Recovery for All Americans

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is launching an Office of Recovery, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, to advance the agency’s commitment to, and support of, recovery for all Americans. September marks National Recovery Month, and in organizing this new office, SAMHSA will now have a dedicated team with a deep understanding of recovery to promote policies, programs and services to those in or seeking recovery. Read more here.
BRIEF: Strengthening Title V - Medicaid Managed Care Collaborations to Improve Care for CYSHCN
New brief: NASHP partnered with the Catalyst Center on a new brief that describes how Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations, and state Title V programs can collaborate to strengthen services for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN).

The impact: These partnerships can help states structure Medicaid managed care systems to optimally meet the physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and socioeconomic needs of CYSHCN and their families.
'Bundling' Intervention Boosts Mental Health Care for Suicidal Kids in the ED

The scenario plays out every single day in U.S. EDs, according to Kathleen Kiley, RN, senior staff nurse and clinical educator for emergency nursing at Boston Children's Hospital, who spoke last week at Emergency Nursing 2021, an Emergency Nurses Association virtual meeting.

ED visits for suicidal ideation or suicide attempts by youth have risen by 500% from 2009 to 2019, said Kiley, who presented findings of an intervention implemented at Boston Children's to address ED boarding times for kids presenting with behavioral health needs. Read more here.

Telehealth has Rapidly Expanded. But Companies are Still Struggling to Reach Rural Populations

Despite the wide-ranging expansion of telehealth in the past year, there is still a broad swath of the U.S. population it has largely failed to reach: the 57 million people in rural parts of the country.

Even now, as employers rush to add virtual care to their benefits, many telehealth companies have avoided rural areas. Several acknowledged to STAT that most of their users remain in urban and suburban areas, and they’ve made far less progress than they’d like to in reaching rural patients. The companies recognize they face an uphill battle. Beyond the foundational barrier of broadband access, providers must contend with questions about reimbursement rates, strict rules on interstate licensing, and a hazy road map without clear inroads for reaching rural patients and providers. Read more here.
OPWDD Co-Occurring Training Series

The NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors (CLMHD), in collaboration with the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), is pleased to announce the following series of six trainings designed to address Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities co-occurring needs:

  • Understanding Clinically Relevant Signs and Symptoms of Mental and Behavioral Health Concerns for Individuals with DD
  • A Review of Treatment Modalities and Professions
  • Capacity to Consent 
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Functional Behavior Assessment 
  • Psychotropic Medications 

Click here to learn more and register for these trainings.

October 8, 2 - 3:30 pm, Center for Connected Health Policy

October 12, 10 - 11 am, OMH

October 12, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, Mental Health America

October 13, 10:30 - 11:30 am, OMH, SPCNY, OCFS, MHANYS, NYSED

October 14, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

October 14, 4 - 5 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

October 20 - 21, 12 - 5:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

October 20, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

October 20, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

October 28, 2 - 3 pm, Modern Healthcare

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

October 31 - November 1, HANYS

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

November 2, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

November 10, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

November 16, 10 - 11 am, OMH

November 17, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

November 18, Putnam County

November 30, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH


Mental Health Committee Meeting
October 7: 3 - 4 pm

October 11

LGU Clinic Operators Call
October 12: 10 - 11:30 am

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

CLMHD Fall Full Membership Meeting
October 21-22 in Saratoga Springs, NY

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee
October 27: 1 - 3 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)