May 26, 2022
New Officers Elected to Board of NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors

The Conference recently held its 2022 Spring Full Membership Meeting in Saratoga Springs where an election of officers was held for the 2022-2024 term. We are happy to announce that the newly elected officers are Chair: Laura Kelemen, LCSW-R (Director, Niagara County Department of Mental Health); First Vice-Chair: Michael Orth, MSW (Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health); Second Vice-Chair: Suzanne Lavigne, MHA, Master CASAC (Director, Franklin County Community Services/Mental Health); Treasurer: Patricia Fralick, MBA, CASAC (Director, Lewis County Mental Hygiene Department); and Secretary: Lynda Battaglia, LCSW (Director of Mental Health and Community Services, Genesee County).

Click here to learn more about Conference leadership.
NYS OASAS Announces Award of More than $475,000 to Support Addiction Prevention Workforce

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports today announced the award of $478,874 to 23 prevention providers across New York State to support the creation of paid internship positions. This program is designed to provide individuals a pathway into the prevention field, and to increase diversity within the prevention workforce.

“The prevention workforce and our certified prevention providers are both a critical part of the system of addiction care that is available throughout New York State,” OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said. “This program will attract new, dedicated workers to the prevention field and give them a path towards a rewarding career, while also helping our providers to further support the critical services that they deliver every day.” Read more here.
HHS Leaders Urge States to Maximize Efforts to Support Children’s Mental Health

On Tuesday, agencies across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a joint letter to states, tribes, and jurisdictions encouraging them to prioritize and maximize their efforts to strengthen children’s mental health and well-being. The letter, signed by leaders of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), outlines HHS’ plans to support and facilitate state-level coordination across federal funding streams to advance and expand mental health services for children. Read more here.
Is It the Right Time for a Paradigm Shift in Mental Health Care Delivery?

Mental health care delivery needs a paradigm shift, according to a review that was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and presented at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting.

Mental health professionals should move from an individual therapy and pharmacological treatment-focused approach to a community-level, public mental health-focused approach to achieve a more equitable model of mental health care, said Margarita Alegría, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues. Read more here.
Fentanyl Tainted Pills Bought on Social Media Cause Youth Drug Deaths to Soar

Shortly after Kade Webb, 20, collapsed and died in a bathroom at a Safeway Market in Roseville, Calif., in December, the police opened his phone and went straight to his social media apps. There, they found exactly what they feared.

Mr. Webb, a laid-back snowboarder and skateboarder who, with the imminent birth of his first child, had become despondent over his pandemic-dimmed finances, bought Percocet, a prescription opioid, through a dealer on Snapchat. It turned out to be spiked with a lethal amount of fentanyl. Read more here.
Biden Administration Announces $1.5 Billion Funding Opportunity for State Opioid Response Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is announcing a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding opportunity that will provide nearly $1.5 billion to states and territories to help address the Nation’s opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. In President Biden’s State of the Union, he named beating the opioids epidemic as a pillar of his Unity Agenda. Today’s announcement is a critical step forward in that work, and the SOR program, along with the Tribal Opioid Response grant funding opportunity announced recently, are critical tools in President Biden’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy released last month and the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Overdose Prevention Strategy. Read more here.

Local Hospitals Look to Person-Centered Care Model to Improve Outcomes

A multi-year collaborative launched by the Healthcare Association of New York State is helping hospitals and health systems adopt patient-centered care practices that have been linked with improved organizational culture, better patient outcomes and lower overall health care costs.

The association launched the initiative in 2019 with Planetree International, a nonprofit that trains and certifies health care organizations in its model of care. Twelve hospitals across the state participated. Of those, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Queens and Saint Barnabas Health in the Bronx won Planetree certification. Read more here.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Provides 65 Community Health Awards to Area Non-Profits

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced on Wednesday that it is awarding a total of 65 community health awards to nonprofit organizations across upstate New York. Community health award funding will support innovative programs and solutions to advance health equity and ultimately improve health outcomes for underserved segments of the communities the health plan serves. Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards will provide over $260,000 in funding to launch, expand, and sustain programs and services that promote health. These investments will also advance health equity by extending the reach of preventive health services or health-promoting programs to vulnerable populations. Read more here.
Beacon Health’s Vision For Outpatient Mental Health and Value-Based Care 2.0

Beacon Health Options is challenging some fundamental notions in its latest approach to value-based care in outpatient mental health. Neil Leibowitz, chief medical officer for the Boston-based behavioral health managed care organization and clinical services provider, said this starts with proving which specific therapies improve care outcomes and lower care costs based on claims data. Beacon Health is part of major insurer Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM). It also calls for identifying new measures and better ways to gather and measure data. Read more here.

40% & Counting

The proportion of U.S. health care reimbursement dollars paid in advanced value-based reimbursement (VBR) models—contracts with shared savings, downside financial risk, and/or population-based payments—just passed 40%. The slow adoption of VBR with financial gain sharing and downside risk sharing—along with the unique challenges to specialty provider organizations in participating in these arrangements—may cause executive teams to think there isn’t much movement. But this development is glacial—slow but changing the landscape along the way.

In addition to the national snapshot of reimbursement patterns, the recent survey by the Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network also reported that the reimbursement model that health plan executive think will grow the most in the next year were arrangements with both shared savings and downside financial risk. This includes reimbursement with fee-for-service-based shared-risk and procedure-based bundled/episode payments. Read more here.

How State Medicaid Programs Serve Children and Youth in Foster Care

In response to the growing recognition of the value of investing in strategies that better serve children in or at-risk of out-of-home placement, a number of federal initiatives have emerged, resulting in significant changes to child welfare and spurring renewed efforts to better integrate care across child-serving systems.[5],[6],[7] Even before these reforms, there have been longstanding actions made at the state level to improve the health and well-being of CYFC. As states continue to explore opportunities to address the unique needs and circumstances of CYFC, many states are implementing specialized health care delivery models and enhanced services for CYFC within their Medicaid programs, primarily through managed care. Read more here.
Envisioning a New Way to Respond to Mental Health Crises Through 988 Legislation

In 2020, Congress unanimously passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (PL 116-172), which established the three-digit dialing code 988 as a national hotline for the coordination of local mental health crisis services. On July 16 of this year, the 988-dialing code will officially replace the 10-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline currently in use in communities across the country. However, beyond the inherent accessibility of a three-digit code, the transition to 988 is just the first step in transforming the way that we respond to behavioral health crises in the United States. The implementation of 988 will require national uniformity in service delivery that connects individuals in crisis to timely and appropriate care, in the most appropriate setting. Read more here.

May 26, 1 - 2:30 pm, MHTTC

May 31, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

June 2, 3 - 4 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

June 3, 12 - 4 pm, Stanford University

June 3, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP

June 7, 10 - 11 am, OMH

June 7, 12 - 1:30 pm, OMH

June 8, 11:30 am - 1 pm, Academy of Peer Services

June 8, 3 - 4 pm, NACo

June 9, 2 - 3 pm, NIEHS

June 10, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP

June 14, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

June 14, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 14, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition

June 15, 2 -3 pm, OMH

June 16, 12:30 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

June 24, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP


CLMHD Office Closed - Memorial Day
May 30


Executive Committee Call
June 1: 8 - 9 am

AOT Coordinators Meeting
June 3: 10 - 11:30 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
June 9: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
June 9: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Directors Meeting
June 14: 10 - 11:30 am

CLMHD Membership Call
June 15: 9 - 10:30 am

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
June 16: 1 - 3 pm

CLMHD Office Closed - Juneteenth
June 20

Children & Families Committee Meeting
June 21: 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)