November 17, 2022

Inside the Critical Need for Mental Health, Addiction Workers in WNY: 'We've Had High Caseloads Nonstop'

Debbie LaBounty gets in her SUV every workday and makes the 45-minute trip from her Depew home to Warsaw, where she's been a clinician for a little over six years at Spectrum Health & Human Services' Wyoming County Counseling Center. Sure, she could work closer to home, but the 66-year-old always gravitates to a community in need. Dawn Stone, a 55-year-old lifelong Wyoming County resident, has a shorter commute but is no less committed. A recovering alcoholic with bipolar disorder, Stone has been a certified recovery peer advocate at the Warsaw center for five years, taking pride in supporting clients on their journey because she, too, once walked the same difficult path. Read more here.

Related: Rural communities in WNY in need of certified clinicians to help with mental health

Fall Edition of NYSAC News

The digital edition of the Fall 2022 NYSAC News magazine is here! This issue is focused on one of the most pressing issues facing county governments today, finding and retaining the workforce they need. This issue provides insight on best practices for attracting new workers, creating an effective remote work policy, and retaining local talent and shares challenges and success stories from counties across New York. It also includes a preview of NYSAC’s legislative agenda for the coming year, economic analysis of current trends and an update on new and innovative local laws. Read the issue here.

Saratoga County Creates Multi-Agency Support System for First Responders

Following a fatal car accident in Corinth in October, Derek Briner, Corinth assistant fire chief and deputy director of Corinth EMS, knew members of the department needed help. They needed someone to talk to. He said when members of the department first walked in to meet with Saratoga County’s recently formed peer support team they were a little distanced and not sure of what to expect. But then they all got talking.

“I’d say within the first 10 minutes of interaction you saw people loosening up and expressing their feelings, getting those demons off their shoulders.” 

The Saratoga County Peer Support Team is a collaboration between the county’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Saratoga County EMS Council. Its goal is to help first responders as soon as possible with any mental health needs they may face following critical incidents, according to a press release from the county. Read more here.

Attorney General James Secures $3.1 Billion from Walmart for Communities Nationwide to Combat the Opioid Crisis

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced a $3.1 billion multistate settlement with Walmart, resolving allegations that the company contributed to the nationwide opioid crisis by failing to regulate opioid prescriptions at its stores. Attorney General James co-led a coalition of attorneys general in negotiating the settlement, which will provide $3.1 billion to communities nationwide and will require significant improvements in how Walmart's pharmacies handle opioids. The state attorneys general on the executive committee, attorneys representing local governments, and Walmart have agreed to this settlement, which is now being sent to other states for review and approval. New York state will receive up to $116 million as part of the settlement, bringing the total amount secured by Attorney General James to combat the opioid crisis in New York to more than $2.1 billion. Read more here.

DOL Rule Could Complicate How Behavioral Health Providers Use Contractors

The Biden administration could mix up how behavioral health operators address worker classification. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said in October it would undo Trump-era classification rules that made it easier to classify workers as contractors. This bolstered the gig economy and placed an emphasis on how much control the employer had over the worker — and the worker’s potential for profit or loss. Instead, the DOL will go back to the precedent of an encompassing view of worker-employer relationships. As a result, companies may have a harder time relying too much on contracted labor. Read more here.

SAMHSA: National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Health Crisis Care

The National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Health Crisis Care offers best practices, implementation strategies, and practical guidance for the design and development of services that meet the needs of children, youth, and their families experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Additional technical guidance is provided in a companion report produced by SAMHSA in conjunction with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, A Safe Place to Be: Crisis Stabilization Services and Other Supports for Children and Youth.

Related: SAMHSA Interim Strategic Plan

‘Impending Intergenerational Crisis’: Americans With Disabilities Lack Long-Term Care Plans

Thinking about the future makes Courtney Johnson nervous. The 25-year-old blogger and college student has autism and several chronic illnesses, and with the support of her grandparents and friends, who help her access a complex network of social services, she lives relatively independently in Johnson City, Tennessee.

“If something happens to them, I’m not certain what would happen to me, especially because I have difficulty with navigating things that require more red tape,” she said. Johnson said she hasn’t made plans that would ensure she receives the same level of support in the future. She especially worries about being taken advantage of or being physically harmed if her family and friends can’t help her — experiences she’s had in the past. Read more here.

Fentanyl Isn't Just Causing Overdoses. It's Making It Harder to Start Addiction Treatment

Doctors are reporting a troubling trend when it comes to fentanyl. The powerful drug, they say, isn’t just causing overdoses — it’s also making it more difficult to begin addiction treatment. In particular, fentanyl appears more likely to cause severe withdrawal symptoms for patients put on buprenorphine, a key medication used to treat opioid use disorder. The development adds yet another layer of crisis to the country’s drug epidemic, which killed nearly 108,000 Americans last year. Even as fentanyl sends overdose deaths soaring, it threatens to make the world’s most-prescribed addiction drug inaccessible to the increasing number of patients who need it. Read more here.

Related: FDA Announces Preliminary Assessment that Certain Naloxone Products Have the Potential to be Safe and Effective for Over-the-Counter Use

How Ready Is Your County to Help with Addiction Recovery?

When officials in Vine Grove, Kentucky, put out a vending machine filled with free opioid overdose reversal medication, they expected people in the 7,000-person strong community would use it. They just didn’t anticipate it being empty three days later.

“We put one machine out 27 days ago,” said Keith Mattingly, police chief of Vine Grove, located near Fort Knox about 25 miles southwest of Louisville. “Since then, we’ve gone through 169 boxes of Narcan.”

The Narcan vending machine is one example of how rural areas are addressing the drug use epidemic. A new national index from the Center for Rural Health Research at East Tennessee State University called the Recovery Ecosystem Index Mapping Tool drills down to the county level to assess drug recovery systems across the country. Read more here.

The Future Belongs To Organizations With The Data

For many executive teams in the health and human service field, future sustainability is dependent on innovation at scale. This includes digital transformation of the consumer and workforce experience, plugging into whole person care models, and performance-based reimbursement. The challenge is that the many organizations have a portfolio of creative pilot projects that never make it to scale. And it is scalability that makes these new service lines profitable and allows them to contribute to the profitable margins needed for sustainability. Read more here.

BROOME: Helio Health Gets NYS $ For Binghamton Housing Development

CHAUTAUQUA: Reps from The National Institute on Drug Abuse, Columbia visit county

CHAUTAUQUA: New mental health website launches in Chautauqua County

CHEMUNG: NYS OASAS Announces Opening of New Comprehensive Integrated Outpatient and Opioid Treatment Program in Elmira

MONROE: NYS OASAS Announces Opening of New Withdrawal and Stabilization Program in Rochester

NYC: NYC's mental health crisis teams falling short of expectations

NYC: NYC Pilots ‘Housing First’ Plan for Handful of Homeless Adults

NYC: SAMHSA awards The Bridge 4-Year Grant to Develop and Implement a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic in Manhattan and the Bronx

ONEIDA: Excellus BCBS grant to promote behavioral health services in Oneida

ONEIDA: Public safety: Rome leaders ask the state to fund mental health resources

ONONDAGA: Onondaga Sheriff’s Office Gets $1.3-Million for Substance Abuse Treatment

ONONDAGA: Onondaga County to use $3.7 million from opioid settlement for education, prevention

OSWEGO: Oswego County Prevention Coalition explains results from recent student survey

OSWEGO: Pulaski family donates $1 million to new Oswego mental health center

PUTNAM: Putnam County Community Resources Survey Report

SENECA: Local Church Awarded Grant to Help Improve Mental Health

SENECA: Collaborating to improve mental health of students

SUFFOLK: $5M state grant will help fund repairs at group homes run by Port Jefferson Station nonprofit

TOMPKINS: Weill Cornell Medicine Awarded NIH Grant to Address Opioid Health Crisis

WESTCHESTER: Margaretville Hospital opioid overdose prevention program saves 100 from potentially fatal overdoses

WESTERN NY: Horizon Health, Endeavor Health Announce Affiliation. Could It Lead To A Merger?

WESTERN NY: Buffalo, Niagara County each to receive $100K in state aid to bolster domestic terror threat assessments

Study Finds ‘Huge’ Increase In Children Going To the Emergency Room with Suicidal Thoughts

There has been a steady increase in the number of children who are seen in emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts, according to a new study – and the increase started even before the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought record high demand for psychological services for children. The pandemic’s effects drew renewed attention to suicide in teens and young children. In June, the Biden administration called the recent rise in rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among kids an “unprecedented mental health crisis.”

The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, used data from hospitals in Illinois. The researchers looked at the number of children ages 5 to 19 who sought help for suicide in emergency departments between January 2016 and June 2021. Read more here.

Related: Alarm Raised Over Patient Boarding In Emergency Departments

State Seeks Authorization to Use Federal Medicaid Funds for Psychiatric Hospital Stays

New York could soon unlock hundreds of millions of dollars more in Medicaid money to fund stays in psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment facilities. The state is requesting authorization from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use federal Medicaid matching funds for inpatient, residential and other services for patients who have diagnoses of a serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance and/or substance use disorder. If its request is approved, the state’s Medicaid coffers would gain nearly $54 million more a year to fund inpatient mental health stays lasting an average of up to 30 days, officials said in a public notice. Read more here.

Related: 3 Behavioral Health Medicaid Trends to Watch

Governor Hochul Announces More Than $30.6 Million for Supportive Housing Projects

Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that more than $30.6 million in state funding has been awarded to six housing projects in four counties that will provide permanent supportive housing to New Yorkers who have experienced homelessness. Supported by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, these developments will create 251 apartments to serve senior citizens, domestic violence victims, veterans and chronically homeless families as well as individuals with a mental illness or substance use disorder, among others. One existing emergency shelter was also awarded funding for emergency repairs. Read more here.

Governor Hochul Announces $5 Million Available Through Newly Created Veterans' Nonprofit Capital Program

Governor Kathy Hochul on November 11 announced the availability of $5 million through the state's newly created Veterans' Nonprofit Capital Program. Beginning today, eligible nonprofit veterans' organizations may apply for reimbursement for costs related to capital improvements designed to expand and enhance quality services available to the state's veterans, service members and their families. Funding for projects will range between $25,000 and $75,000 and be administered by the New York State Division of Veterans' Services. Read more here.

New Funding Opportunity - Harm Reduction and Public Safety Pilot Projects

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), invites nonprofit organizations to apply for grant funding to support one-year pilot projects integrating harm reduction strategies and public safety initiatives. Through a competitive Request for Funding Applications (RFA) process, up to eight sites will be selected to implement evidence-based or promising strategies through collaborative partnerships with public safety to reduce risk of overdose and other drug-related harms for people who use drugs (PWUD) and people with substance use disorders (PWSUD) who are or may become justice-involved. Awards will be made in amounts of up to $81,250 for a yearlong project beginning in January 2023. Read more here.

American Psychological Association: Increased need for mental health care strains capacity

Can Integrated Care Models Deliver Better Outcomes For Dually Eligible Beneficiaries?

Is Medicare-Medicaid Integration Possible In A Fee-for-Service Environment?

The Player-Coaches of Addiction Recovery Work Without Boundaries

Screening Early for Trauma, Learning Disabilities Could Slow School-to-Prison Pipeline, Researchers Say

Quartet Launches Behavioral Health Care Clinic for Patients with Moderate to Severe Mental Illness

JAMA: Comparison of Visit Rates Before vs After Telehealth Expansion Among Patients With Mental Health Diagnoses Treated at Federally Qualified Health Centers


Substance Use Disorder in Older Americans

November 17, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Black Robes & White Coats: Using Project ECHO to Increase Judiciary Knowledge About Substance Use Disorder

November 21, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Health Equity Workshop Series: Practical Steps for Application

November 28, 1 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

My Perspective on Traumatic Brain Injury and Considerations for Adolescents Experiencing Brain Injury

November 30, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

MyCHOIS Consumer Access for “My Treatment Data”

December 1, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

Suicide and Opioids: Intersections and Opportunities for Prevention

December 1, 4 - 5 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Population-Based Payments in Medicaid: Strengthening Provider Incentives to Transform Care

December 6, 2 - 3 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

How to Successfully Negotiate with Payers for Increased Reimbursement Rates: Achieving Pay for Performance in Behavioral Health

December 7, 12 - 1 pm, Behavioral Health Business

Growing the Workforce Pipeline through Strategic Community Partnerships

December 8, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The Case for Continuum Capital: Rethinking Substance Use Strategies and Resources

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



CLMHD Office Closed - Thanksgiving 

November 24 - 25

Quarterly LGU Billing Staff Meeting

November 29: 9:30 - 10:30 am

Inter-Agency Meeting - In-Person in Albany

November 29: 2 - 4:30 pm


CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting

December 7: 8 - 9 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting

December 8: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting

December 8: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting

December 13: 10 - 11:30 am

CLMHD Membership Meeting

December 14: 9 - 10:30 am

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting

December 15: 1 - 3 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting

December 22: 1 - 2:30 pm

CLMHD Office Closed - Christmas

December 26

CLMHD Office Closed - New Year's Day

January 2, 2023

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)
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