August 18, 2022
Governor Hochul Announces $10 Million Partnership to Assist Direct Support Professionals

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities has entered into a $10 million partnership with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals to expand opportunities for professional credentialing for direct support professionals in the developmental disabilities field throughout New York State. The three-year agreement will help professionalize the direct support professional workforce and address worker shortages. Read more here.

Health Care Providers Say Medicaid Audits Have Become Too Onerous

Dozens of health care groups and advocacy groups this week are calling for a measure that is meant to create due process protections for health care providers when they are audited by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. At issue has become the outcomes of many of the audits, which have led to large fines often as the result of clerical errors. In one instance, a provider was hit with a $7.7 million fine for clerical errors worth $400, and no fraud or abuse was found. Read more here.
Too Few Psychiatric Beds: Psychiatrists' Group Takes Aim at Ongoing Crisis

Amid a stark shortage of psychiatric beds that only worsened for millions suffering from mental illnesses during the pandemic, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is rolling out a new model that can help communities determine exactly how many beds they need. Having enough in-patient beds would cut down on overcrowding in emergency departments and early release from needed care, the APA added.

"It's not a secret that we have a dire need for psychiatric in-patient beds in this country, but there hasn't been a good way to assess these needs," said APA CEO and Medical Director Dr. Saul Levin. He spoke during a media briefing Tuesday on a new report that addresses the problem. Read more here.
Bracing for the Worst, Hoping for the Best: A Country Holds its Breath as Children Return to School

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t over. New infections remain elevated at over 100,000 on average each day, and new variants and viruses still threaten to upend a third year of pandemic learning. But with roughly one-third of U.S. public school students returning to classrooms this week, the K-12 landscape – once a patchwork of remote, hybrid and in-person learning with warring safety protocols at the epicenter of bitter partisan politics – seems more settled, cohesive and confident. At least for now. Read more here.
Solutions to Workforce Challenges Should Focus On Recruitment As Well As Retention, Report Finds

Health care organizations need to focus on creating pipelines for new talent, recruiting professionals, retaining and training workers, as well as making sure hospitals and home care agencies collaborate in order to repair the sector’s workforce issues, according to the Workforce Summit Summary report, which expands on solutions discussed at a recent workforce development summit held in May by the Home Care Association of New York State, the Healthcare Association of New York State and the Iroquois Healthcare Association. The August 11 publication's findings lay out several issues within the workforce. Read more here.
State Health Commissioner Issues Statewide Pharmacy Standing Order for Naloxone to Reduce Opioid Overdoses and Save Lives

As overdose deaths from fentanyl, heroin and other opioids mount in a serious public health crisis, New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett last week announced a statewide pharmacy standing order for naloxone beginning Monday, August 15, 2022. Naloxone is a medication that can be easily administered to block the effects of opioids allowing a stricken person to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing. Read more here.

They Call It ‘Tranq’ — And It’s Making Street Drugs Even More Dangerous

Approaching a van that distributes supplies for safer drug use in Greenfield, Massachusetts, a man named Kyle noticed an alert about xylazine. “Xylazine?” he asked, sounding out the unfamiliar word. “Tell me more.”

A street-outreach team from Tapestry Health Systems delivered what’s becoming a routine warning. Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer. It’s not approved for humans but is showing up in about half the drug samples that Tapestry Health tests in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. It’s appearing mostly in the illegal fentanyl supply but also in cocaine. Read more here.
Overdose Deaths Now Top 100,000 a Year. Why Do So Few People Addicted to Opioids Get Treatment that Could Save Them?

The opioid crisis that helped kill a record 108,000 Americans last year – and more than one million since 1999 – is by now a well-known tragedy. Less understood is that many if not most of these deaths, now largely from fentanyl, are preventable. Medications like buprenorphine are proven lifesavers, cutting fatalities in people with opioid use disorder roughly in half. But the problem is that only a small fraction of the people in the U.S. addicted to opioids – a number variously estimated at between 3 million and 7.6 million – have access to these medications. Even fewer are getting the optimal combination of medication plus counseling and group therapy – even though most people struggling with addiction also suffer from a mental health disorder. Read more here.

Improving Release Process and Treatment Continuity for Incarcerated People May Help Reduce Opioid Overdoses
Social Media Posts Criticize the 988 Suicide Hotline for Calling Police. Here’s What You Need to Know.

When the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched last month, many mental health providers, researchers, and advocates celebrated. Although a national suicide hotline had existed for years, finally there was an easy-to-remember three-digit number for people to call, they said. The shorter number would serve as an alternative to 911 for mental health emergencies. But not everyone felt the same way. Some advocates and people who had experiences with the mental health system took to social media to voice concerns about 988 and warn people not to call it. Read more here.

Apply Now: FREE Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training

This fall, the NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors will once again offer the opportunity for 32 individuals from across the state to participate in FREE Mental Health First Aid instructor training via the National Council’s VIRTUAL platform.

Interested candidates may submit an application for consideration to participate in one of two VIRTUAL training sessions for YOUTH MHFA:

  • Session 1 - Tuesday, 10/25 – Thursday, 10/27
  • Session 2 - Tuesday 11/1 – Thursday, 11/3

The competitive application process is open until Friday, September 2, 2022. Read more about the program and how to submit an application here.
Lessons From Five Years Of The CMS Accountable Health Communities Model

Providers and payers are increasingly addressing the health-related social needs (HRSNs) of their patients to improve outcomes, reduce costs, and address health disparities. As this practice takes hold in the field, the landmark Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model test that launched in 2017 has now ended. AHC was the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) first model test focused on evaluating HRSN screening, referral, and navigation. It was built on emerging interventions in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Medicaid Managed Care, Medicaid health homes, and home and community-based services programs. Read more here.
Registration Now Open for the 2022 New York State Suicide Prevention Conference

The 2022 NYS Suicide Prevention Conference will be held September 20 - 22 and will be hosted virtually. You may register to attend by clicking here.

August 23, 1 - 2 pm, MTM Services

August 23, 2 - 3 pm,

August 23, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

August 24, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

August 24, 3 - 4 pm, NACo

August 29, 12 - 1:30 pm, Social Justice Leadership Academy

August 30, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

August 31, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

August 31, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

August 31, 2 - 3 pm, COSSAP

August 31, 3 - 4 pm, NACo

September 1, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

September 14, 1 - 2 pm, SAMHSA

September 20 - 22, OMH SPCNYS

September 21, 10 - 11 am, OMH

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

October 4, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, NYSJC

November 9, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, NYSJC


Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
August 18: 1 - 3 pm


CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting
September 7: 8 - 9 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
September 8: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
September 8: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting
September 13: 10 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
September 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm

CLMHD Membership Call
September 28: 9 - 10:30 am
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)