February 8, 2024

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

ALBANY: Mental Health Empowerment Project gives people 'a new lease on life' with free haircuts

CHAUTAUQUA: Two free Narcan vending machines installed in Chautauqua County

CHEMUNG: CASA Trinity Opens New Temporary Mental Health Outpatient Clinic in Elmira

CLINTON: State of Clinton County strong, chairman says

DELAWARE: Opioid Settlement Funds Allocated

ERIE: Cheektowaga Police Department embracing new mandate to prevent suicides among officers

ERIE: GICSD offers Youth Mental Health First Aid training to all district employees

GENESEE: GLOW with your hands healthcare event to be held at GCC March 22

NASSAU: Opioid settlements worth $5M to pad programs that fight addiction in Nassau County

NIAGARA: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Completes expanded & renovated behavioral health emergency room

NYC: Elected officials celebrate opening of 30-unit development in Corona, with apartments for low income seniors and people with substance use disorders

NYC: NYC DOC receives $180K grant for staff wellness

NYC/LONG ISLAND: Fidelis Care and Cityblock Partner to Bring Comprehensive Care to Medicaid Members in New York

SARATOGA: Saratoga County Expands Naloxbox Program to Public Libraries

ST. LAWRENCE: Advocacy group warns Odgensburg students of drug, vaping dangers

SULLIVAN: Open access to services returns in Sullivan County

ULSTER: UCSO: Naloxone outside box project launched in Kingston

ULSTER: Traffic Safety, Mental Health, Environment Focus of Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger’s State Of The County Address

ULSTER: Opioid-Related Deaths Decline in Ulster County Despite a Rise in Overdoses, Department of Mental Health Says

WESTCHESTER: Unique Westchester County Program “Lives Forward” Will Train Those who are Incarcerated to Become Dually-Certified Behavioral Health Peers

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.

When the Biggest Student Mental Health Advocates Are the Students

Cities Know That the Way Police Respond to Mental Crisis Calls Must Change. But How?

An OxyContin advertiser will pay $350 million in the first-ever opioid marketing settlement

Record suicides ‘a wake-up call’ to challenge current approach to mental health care

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Alters Brain Activity in Children With Anxiety

Champion of New York State Mental Health Court, Five Other Lawyers, Honored by New York State Bar Association

Trauma, severe stress in childhood linked to criminal legal involvement in next generation

PEW: Americans’ Social Media Use


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


HRSA Health Workforce

NYS Grants Gateway

NY Health Foundation

OASAS Procurements

OMH Procurements

OPWDD Procurements

Rural Health Information Hub - New York

SAMHSA Grants Dashboard



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

February 19

Children & Families Committee Meeting

February 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Membership Call

February 21: 9 - 10:30 am

Links to State Guidance and Updates on COVID-19

NYS Coronavirus Vaccination Information

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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