February 26, 2021
Ithaca Mayor Proposes Replacing IPD with Department of Public Safety

The Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative of the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County, N.Y., published a draft report in response to New York State Executive Order 203 New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. The Collaborative is seeking community input on the report and the draft recommendations, Ithaca and Tompkins County residents are encouraged to submit questions and share their feedback and input. The draft will be received by both the City of Ithaca Common Council and Tompkins County Legislature for adoption by the April 1, 2021, deadline outlined in the Executive Order.

The report was drafted in consultation with the Center for Policing Equity. The draft report is based on research and deliverables produced by working groups including law enforcement and public safety officers, community members, and City and County staff. A complete breakdown of working groups, deliverables, and a process timeline can be found in the draft report.
Read more here.

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $245 Million in Continuum of Care Funding to Combat Homelessness Across New York

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $245,971,792 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for organizations working to end homelessness across New York State. The funding was allocated through HUD’s Continuum of Care Program (CoC), designed to provide funding to nonprofits, as well as local and state governments, to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families and promote access to programs that encourage self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Additionally, this funding will provide nonprofits and local governments with the resources needed to plan emergency, transitional, and permanent housing alternatives to address the various needs of people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Read more here.

Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Awards New Grants to Support Vulnerable Communities Across New York State

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation announced on Tuesday it has awarded more than 400 year-end 2020 grants totaling $115 million to support organizations and programs addressing the health-related needs of low-income residents and underserved communities across New York State.

This is in addition to $50 million in funding authorized for emergency COVID-19 programs earlier in 2020. In all, the Foundation's $165 million in 2020 funding has or will support 650 programs to improve health and human services during a time of unprecedented need. In the two years since its inception, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling $315 million. Read more here.

In 2019, more than 500,000 individuals experienced homelessness and nearly 20 million renters spent 30 percent or more of their income on housing. These numbers are increasing as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates housing insecurity for people of color and low-wage workers. To improve housing stability – a critical social determinant of health (SDOH) – states are using Medicaid managed care contracts to encourage health plans to support members’ housing-related needs and promote coordination between housing providers and health plans. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: AHIP: Medicaid Managed Care Orgs Deserve Greater SDOH Flexibility

March 2, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

March 2, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

March 2, 2 - 3:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 3, 1 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA, NASMHPD

March 4, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

March 9, 1 - 2 pm, MCTAC/CTAC

March 10, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

March 10, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

March 17, 2 - 3:15 pm, COSSAP

March 18, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

March 19, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

March 24, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

March 24, 2:30 - 4, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

March 24, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

March 25, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

March 30, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

March 31, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

March 31, 2 - 3:15 pm, COSSAP

April 14, 2 - 3:15 pm, COSSAP


Agency Day - OMH
March 2: 9:30 - 11:30 am, GTM

Agency Day - OASAS
March 3: 9:30 - 11:30 am, GTM

Agency Day - OPWDD
March 4: 9:30 - 11:30 am, GTM

Mental Health Committee Meeting
March 4: 3 - 4 pm, GTM

LGU Clinic Operators Call
March 9: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
March 11: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
March 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
For Some Teens, It’s Been a Year of Anxiety and Trips to the E.R.
During the pandemic, suicidal thinking is up. And families find that hospitals can’t handle adolescents in crisis.

When the pandemic first hit the Bay Area last spring, Ann thought that her son, a 17-year-old senior, was finally on track to finish high school. He had kicked a heavy marijuana habit and was studying in virtual classes while school was closed.

The first wave of stay-at-home orders shut down his usual routines — sports, playing music with friends. But the stability didn’t last.

“The social isolation since then, over all this time, it just got to him,” said Ann, a consultant living in suburban San Francisco. She, like the other parents in this article, asked that her last name be omitted for privacy and to protect her child. “This is a charming, funny kid, also sensitive and anxious,” she said. “He couldn’t find a job; he couldn’t really go out. And he started using marijuana again, and Xanax.”

The teenager’s frustration finally boiled over this month, when he deliberately cut himself.

“We called 911, and he was taken to the emergency room,” his mother said. “But there they just stitched him up and released him.” The doctors sent him home, she said, “with no support, no therapy, nothing.” Read more here.

New York Moves to Restore Some Funding for Disability Service Providers

Last year the state moved to cut spending amid a $1.2 billion decline in revenue, leading to steep reductions in aid for programs that provide services to people with developmental disabilities. 

But on Wednesday, the state moved to restore what had amounted to a 20% withholding of funds first imposed last year amid the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities announced in a memo. But permanent cuts of 5% are still on the horizon for providers and much of their budgets will be shaped by what New York receives in federal aid over the next several weeks. Read more here.
Gillibrand Wants $25M to Fight Addiction During Pandemic

The federal government should allocate $25 million in grants to help fight addiction amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday said. 

The money, part of a bill meant to provide support for community groups and non-profit organizations, has Republican backing in the U.S. Senate with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito signing onto the legislation. 

"The pandemic has exacerbated our country’s addiction crisis and we must bolster support services for those seeking treatment, and their families, to combat this troubling trend," Gillibrand said. Read more here.
Providers Fighting Mental Health, Substance Abuse Challenges Struggle with Rising Need

Organizations providing services for people with mental health and substance abuse challenges are simultaneously dealing with a spiking need for help and limited funds to best meet the demand, according to a new report from The Coalition for Behavioral Health. 

The report found that behavioral health providers lost an average of $521,000 in revenue from March to June last year because of fewer billable visits; at the same time, they had to absorb “millions of dollars in unfunded costs” transitioning to telehealth services, purchase personal protective equipment, and otherwise adjust to the pandemic. Meanwhile, more than one in four of the coalition’s members have reported that the increased demand they’re facing is exceeding their capacity. Read more here.
Early Data Show Promise in Telephone Counseling for Opioid-Use Disorder

For 46-year-old Jocelyn Tavarez, maintaining access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) during the pandemic meant going from "The Flintstones" to "The Jetsons" in a matter of days, she told MedPage Today.

Tavarez has been receiving MAT and other services at CODAC Behavioral Healthcare - the largest non-profit, outpatient provider for opioid treatment in Rhode Island -- for about two years. MAT is the standard of care for opioid-use disorder, and involves medications, such as buprenorphine and methadone, in combination with counseling. Since early in the pandemic, MAT patient Tavarez has been receiving her counseling telephonically. Read more here.
Envisioning The Future Of Complex Care

The past 10 years have seen major growth in the field of complex care—a field that aims to better coordinate care and improve outcomes for individuals with complex health and social needs. With a growing evidence base of best practices, and the emergence of supportive payment models following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the number of health care systems and health plans engaged in complex care has expanded dramatically. More recently, the field has seen its first randomized controlled trials; has begun to organize itself around a standardized set of core competencies; and is starting to fill gaps in quality measurement to assess more accurately individual- and program-level impacts.

So, what is the future of complex care? Understanding how to fortify the nation’s complex care infrastructure can help inform the priorities of the Biden-Harris administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. As the leaders of two organizations involved in collaborative efforts to advance the field of complex care, including the Better Care Playbook as well as the 2017 development of the Blueprint for Complex Care alongside the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, we came together to forecast what the next four years might look like and identify opportunities to build a stronger and more effective field of complex care going forward. Read more here.
A Fast Start: 2021 Begins With Major HIPAA Developments

The new year began with an unusual amount of activity related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Health care providers, health plans, health care clearinghouses, and business associates subject to HIPAA will need to consider three significant developments—one regulatory, one legislative, and one judicial—relating to the Privacy and Security Rules under HIPAA and the related Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH).

Prior to the departure of President Trump’s administration in January 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The proposed regulations include several notable modifications to HIPAA requirements. Read more here.
'Absolutely Defeated': Black Nurses Struggle with Mental Health Support While Battling Covid-19

Throughout Olivia Thompson's 12-hour shift as a cardiac and Covid-19 nurse in Chandler, Arizona, she closely monitors the oxygen levels of several patients at a time and works with other medical specialists to heal them.

For some, no amount of care Thompson gives prevents them from being transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.

"There were times where I was dreading going to work because of the unknown," Thompson said. "Am I going to be a good nurse for my patients? Am I going to make a mistake?"

Thompson graduated from Arizona State University in May 2020 and became a registered nurse in July 2020. She is now one of many Black nurses working on the frontlines of the pandemic in the United States. Read more here.

COVID-19 Converges With The Opioid Epidemic: Challenges For Pregnant And Postpartum Women With Opioid Use Disorder

Although much policy focus is currently directed toward mitigation of COVID-19, vaccine development and distribution, and hospital capacity, the pandemic is converging with an ongoing opioid crisis. Fortunately, policymakers have initiated important changes designed to increase access to care for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD); however, like the opioid policy response, these changes have generally not focused on pregnant and postpartum women with OUD and their infants, who have complex health care needs.

Opioid use and misuse during pregnancy can result in health consequences for mothers and infants. OUD during pregnancy is associated with a 4.6-fold increase in maternal death during hospitalization. Rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome in infants identified at birth, increased over 400 percent between 2004 and 2014. Read more here.
Addressing Medication Non-Adherence in Times of Disaster
In 2018, the National Council Medical Director Institute (MDI) published “Medication Matters: Causes and Solutions to Medication Non-adherence,” a report navigating this issue.

A lot has happened since then, including the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on how we view – and respond to – lingering problems like medication non-adherence. To meet the needs of our new reality, the MDI published an addendum to its seminal report – one loaded with best practices, evidence-based insights and strategies.

Introducing “Medication Matters: Causes and Solutions to Medication Non-adherence During Times of Disasters,” offering new recommendations for addressing this problem.

To help with implementation, the National Council developed a toolkit for practitioners – including case managers, therapists and peer specialists – and organizations to strengthen capacity and skills.

Medication adherence has become increasingly difficult during the pandemic. These new resources are just a few of the ways we’re helping you invest in the health of your community.
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)