Is Housing Health Care? State Medicaid Programs Increasingly Say ‘Yes’
States are plowing billions of dollars into a high-stakes health care experiment that’s exploding around the country: using scarce public health insurance money to provide housing for the poorest and sickest Americans. California is going the biggest, pumping $12 billion into an ambitious Medicaid initiative largely to help homeless patients find housing, pay for it, and avoid eviction. Arizona is allocating $550 million in Medicaid funding primarily to cover six months of rent for homeless people. Oregon is spending more than $1 billion on services such as emergency rental assistance for patients facing homelessness. Even ruby-red Arkansas will dedicate nearly $100 million partly to house its neediest. At least 19 states are directing money from Medicaid — the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people — into housing aid and addressing the nation’s growing homelessness epidemic, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Read more here.
Related: OPEN MINDS - The Homeless Solution Opportunity
SSI Recipients Can’t Afford Housing Anywhere in the US
Homelessness And Health: Factors, Evidence, Innovations That Work, And Policy Recommendations
On a single night in 2023, more than 653,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States. In this overview, we highlight structural and individual risk factors that can lead to homelessness, explore evidence on the relationship between homelessness and health, discuss programmatic and policy innovations, and provide policy recommendations. Health system efforts to address homelessness and improve the health of homeless populations have included interventions such as screening for social needs and medical respite programs. Initiatives using the Housing First approach to permanent supportive housing have a strong track record of success. Health care financing innovations using Medicaid Section 1115 waivers offer promising new approaches to improving health and housing for people experiencing homelessness. Read more here.
Related: Addressing Housing-Related Social Needs Through Medicaid: Lessons From North Carolina’s Healthy Opportunities Pilots Program
Primary Care–Based Housing Program Reduced Outpatient Visits; Patients Reported Mental And Physical Health Benefits
Governor Hochul Announces $30 Million Awarded for Supportive Housing
Governor Kathy Hochul last week announced $30 million in supportive housing funding to serve older adults, survivors of domestic and gender-based violence, veterans and chronically homeless families, and individuals with a mental illness or substance use disorder. Administered by the State Office of Mental Health, the eighth round of funding through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative resulted in 122 awards, which will provide conditional funding for services and operating expenses for up to 4,839 units of supportive housing. Read more here.
Telehealth Availability at Mental Health Facilities Varies Across States
The availability of telemental healthcare services varies widely across states, with high telehealth availability in states like Maine and Oregon and low availability in states like Mississippi and South Carolina, according to new research. The study by nonprofit research organization RAND Corp. assessed telehealth availability, wait times, and service features for various mental health conditions and facility-, client-, and county-level characteristics associated with telehealth availability. Read more here.
Related: ONC, SAMHSA Launch Initiative for Behavioral Health IT Interoperability
Methadone Treatment Gets First Major Update in Over 20 Years
The federal government is unveiling new regulations meant to modernize methadone treatment, the first major update to patient care standards at methadone clinics in more than 20 years. The new rules are aimed at increasing access to methadone, which has been used to treat opioid addiction in the U.S. since the early 1970s. The medication is highly effective: Studies show that people taking it are roughly 60% less likely to die of an opioid overdose. Still, even amid the opioid crisis, methadone treatment remains stigmatized and often inaccessible to those who need it most. To receive methadone, most patients must submit to frequent drug testing, participate in counseling sessions, and show up daily to receive a single dose. Read more here.
Related: DEA shares 2023 drug trends across New York
Therapists Trade the Couch for the Great Outdoors
Sometimes a pine cone is just a pine cone. But on a January day, the rough edges of the cone — and the lone feather sticking out of it — meant something different to Rachel Oppenheimer, 25, a counselor at the Chesapeake Mental Health Collaborative in Towson, Md. “Growing up, I had some challenges,” Ms. Oppenheimer said, referring to her prickly teenage past, “some struggles with managing my emotions.”
But her grandmother, who died four years ago, was soft like the feather, and gave her unconditional love that reminded Ms. Oppenheimer how important it was to treat herself with “soothing tenderness,” especially when she became self-critical. Ms. Oppenheimer and her clinical supervisor, Heidi Schreiber-Pan, were visiting Talmar, a nonprofit farm that offers therapeutic programs and vocational training — a short drive from the busy road and nondescript strip malls near their office. Read more here.
Counties, Legislators, and Emergency Medical Service Professionals Unveil Legislative Package to ‘Rescue EMS’
In some areas of the state, ambulance wait times are getting longer and longer, and a lack of volunteers and funding shortfalls have thrown our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems into crisis. In response, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) and a coalition of state lawmakers and advocates have been working on a package of legislation to strengthen local EMS services. On January 30, NYSAC was joined by county leaders, state legislators, and EMS professionals to discuss the proposals that will help support those efforts. The legislative package, which NYSAC worked in close collaboration with state legislators and EMS providers to craft, is designed to provide local governments with the authority to create and fund countywide EMS services, provide financial incentives for EMS workers to enter and stay in the field, and update Medicaid reimbursement rates to reflect current needs and costs. Read more here.
Providence Officials Approve Overdose Prevention Center
More than two years ago, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to authorize overdose prevention centers, facilities where people would be allowed to use illicit drugs under professional supervision. Last week, the Providence City Council approved the establishment of what will be the state’s first so-called safe injection site. Minnesota is the only other state to approve these sites, also known as supervised injection centers and harm reduction centers, but no facility has yet opened there. While several states and cities across the country have taken steps toward approving these centers, the concept has faced resistance even in more liberal-leaning states, where officials have wrestled with the legal and moral implications. The only two sites operating openly in the country are in New York City, where Bill de Blasio, who was then mayor, announced the opening of the first center in 2021. Read more here.
What Does Being Sober Mean Today? For Many, Not Full Abstinence.
Mike Reed, a musician and Uber driver in Arizona, said he quit drinking alcohol more than a decade ago when his roommates got so fed up with his unruly behavior that they threatened to kick him out. Sobriety became such a core part of Mr. Reed’s identity that he launched an online dating website called “Single & Sober,” but in 2020, Mr. Reed, a Navy veteran, said he found himself struggling as his sister, who had Down syndrome, was dying of cancer, so he began smoking marijuana. More recently, he went to a clinic for infusions of ketamine, and tried tiny doses of psychoactive mushrooms. Mr. Reed said those substances improved his mood — and he still regards himself as sober, because he remains alcohol free. Read more here.
National Council Lays Out the Future of Measurement-Informed Care
The National Council for Mental Wellbeing seeks to redefine how providers and payers in behavioral health assess quality outcomes, calling it measurement-informed care. In a recent webinar, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit industry group called for the term measurement-informed care to replace the incumbent measurement-based care. Professionals with the council also presented their analysis of potential outcome measures and called for a two-tiered scheme to define the industry in the future. The webinar also teased a to-be-released report the National Council for Mental Wellbeing — through its entity, the Center of Excellence for Integrated Health Solutions — will release that details a year-long effort to define a widely applicable set of outcome measures to be the basis for clinical decision-making via measurement-informed care and payment innovation through value-based care. Read more here.
Related: CMS’ New Behavioral Health Model Illustrates Ongoing Effort To Push Value-Based Care, Integration Forward
Vermont ACO model ties payer, provider payment to care quality
2023 Annual Report from the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium
The annual report from the Rockefeller Institute's Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium (RGVRC) highlights the important contributions the group made to understanding and addressing gun violence in 2023. Through cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative research, interviews with high-profile media outlets, and distillation of evidence into easy to understand policy recommendations, the group's multidisciplinary researchers and practitioners are a critical component of the effort to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths. Read more here.
Related: JAMA Network: Gun Violence Exposure and Suicide Among Black Adults
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Launches Suicide Prevention Resource for Black Communities
L.E.T.S. (Listening, Empathy, Trust, Support) Save Lives: An Introduction to Suicide Prevention for Black and African American Communities is a free presentation created by and for Black people, designed to reduce cultural stigma, foster conversations about mental health, and raise awareness of suicide prevention for individuals who identify as Black or African American. The content of the 90-minute educational presentation is grounded in research and based on the key concepts of Listening, Empathy, Trust, and Support (L.E.T.S.). Participants can strengthen their understanding of mental health and suicide prevention through activity-based learning and take-home resources. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Issues Proclamation Declaring February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Governor Hochul on Tuesday recognized February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in New York State. The Governor also issued a proclamation and directed State landmarks to be illuminated in orange tonight, February 6, in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Day. Coinciding with this proclamation, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence launched a Healthy Relationship Quiz aimed to help individuals spot the difference between Green Flags and Red Flags, and the “Green Flags” social media campaign. Read more here.
UPCOMING EVENTS & TRAININGS
Advancing the Science on Peer Support and Suicide Prevention 2-Day Workshop
February 8 & 12, 11 am - 3:45 pm, NIH
Child Welfare: Forecasting Safety With Predictive Analytics: Considerations for State Policy Makers
February 12, 2 - 3 pm,
Clinical Supervision within the Substance Use Workforce: Addressing the Generational Gap
February 13, 1 - 2:30 pm, MPATTC
The Next Step in Suicide Prevention
February 13, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Establishing Mobile Crisis Teams as Trusted Partners in Communities of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF)
February 13, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Engaging Community Organizations in Redesigning Reentry
February 13, 2 - 3 pm, Rx Foundation
Implementing Thoughtful and Practical DEIB Initiatives
February 14, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH
The Connection Between Heart Disease and Mental Health in the Black Community
February 15, 12 - 1 pm, CEMHTTC
Amplifying Black Voices: Overcoming Institutionalized Racial Discrimination in Integrated Care
February 15, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Addressing Legal Obstacles to Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Individuals as Community Health Workers
February 15, 1 - 2 pm, Network for Public Health Law
Navigating the Competency to Stand Trial System for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD)
February 15, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center
Targeted Homelessness Prevention: Stemming the Inflow
February 15, 3 - 4 pm, National Alliance to End Homelessness
Zero Suicide: Taking a Systems Approach to Suicide Prevention in Health Care
February 15, 3 - 4 pm, SMI Advisor
Changing Minds & Advancing Lines: Why We Must Keep Pushing for Mental Health Equity
February 20, 2 - 3 pm, NIMH
Exploring Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Treatment Landscape & Unmet Needs
February 28, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU
What Should the Healthcare Sector’s Role Be in Addressing Adverse Social Drivers of Health?
February 28, 12 - 1 pm, SIREN
Compassion Fatigue and Burnout for Rural Providers
February 28, 1 - 3 pm, NCROTAC
Current Substance Use Trends and Evolving Risks (with a focus on Rural Communities)
February 29, 11 am - 12 pm,
Compassion Fatigue and Burnout Part II (for Rural Providers)
February 29, 1 - 3 pm, NCROTAC
Planning for the Future: Ensuring Sustainability for Drug Treatment Courts
February 29, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center
Examining the Use of Braided Funding for Substance Use Disorder Services
February 29, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, SAMHSA
988 and Other Numbers – What the Data Tells Us So Far
March 1, 12 - 1:15 pm, Sozosei Summit Solution Labs
2024 NYCPG Annual Conference - Registration Open!
March 5 - 7, Albany Marriott, NY Council on Problem Gambling
Creative Solutions for Mobile Crisis Teams to Effectively Engage With Rural and Frontier Communities
March 12, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
FREE Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for Specialty Providers in Capital Region
March 13, 9 am - 3 pm, MHANYS
Closing the Gap: Addressing Racial Disparity in Licensure Exam Rates
March 14, 1 - 2 pm, Social Current
SAVE THE DATE: What It Takes: Supervising Peer Support Specialists
March 15 & 22, 9 am - 4 pm, PeerTAC
Hardwired for Fear and Connection: The Intersection of Brain Science and Equity
March 19, 1 - 4 pm, Social Current
Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
February 8: 1 - 2:30 pm
Mental Health Committee Meeting
February 8: 3 - 4 pm
Quarterly AOT Coordinators Call
February 9: 10 - 11:30 am
LGU Clinic Operators Meeting
February 13: 10 - 11 am
"Lessons from the Hart" - Mentoring Workshop
February 14: 12 - 2 pm
CLMHD Offices Closed - Presidents' Day
Children & Families Committee Meeting
February 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm
February 21: 9 - 10:30 am