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The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. Coalition Briefs
An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Mental Health in New York
July 27, 2006

The Center Addresses the Needs of Transition Age Youth

The Center launched its new Youth Initiative July 6th and 7th for providers serving older adolescents and young adults experiencing serious emotional disturbance (SED).  Dr. Hewitt Rusty Clark of the University of South Florida provided an overview of the Transition to Independence Process (TIP) system, an evidence-based model preparing and supporting youth and young adults with SED in their movement into employment, educational opportunities, living situations and community life functioning. Core Competency Workshops follow in September and October.  Details can be accessed at: www.coalitionny.org/the_center/seminars/youth_initiative.html.

In tandem with this training, the Center is facilitating a Work Group to gather experiences and strategize improved service delivery on key issues for transitioning young adults with mental illness.  Monthly Work Group meetings will commence in September.  For more information call Alysia Pascaris at (212) 742-1600 ext. 201.

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Albany Update: Budget and Legislation

A wide range of behavioral heatlh issus commanded the attention of the Governor and the legislature in Albany this year.  Historic budget initiatives and innovative legislative proposals sought to strengthen the delivery of services to New Yorkers of all ages with behavioral health disorders.  The following is an update concerning certain budget initiatives and legislative proposals.

COLA

The State Office of Mental Health recently issued Letters of Attestation for providers to complete in order to qualify for the multi-year COLA included in the Governor’s SFY 2006-2007 Executive Budget.  This COLA can be used for PS or OTPS costs, and it applies to both State contract dollars and Medicaid dollars.  If you are a provider in contract with SOMH and have not received these letters, please contact your local SOMH Field Office.

Mental Health Parity

Both houses agreed to legislation that would: require insurance companies to include 30 inpatient days and 20 outpatient visits for all mental illnesses; fully cover biological based mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, major depression, and others; and fully cover children under the age of 18 with serious emotional disturbances, including any psychiatric condition that would put a child in danger of being removed from the home.

The legislation unfortunately does not provide parity for persons in need of substance abuse treatment.

Because the bill was finalized at the end of the legislative session, it was not voted on by either house.  We believe a vote will take place before the summer is out.

Special Housing Units (SHU)

Both houses voted on legislation that would require the State to place inmates with psychiatric disorders into settings more conducive to treatment and recovery rather than punitive solitary confinement settings known as “Special Housing Units.”  The legislation would also provide for expanded training on mental health issues for prison staff, and would create an oversight body. 

Housing Waiting List

Both houses voted on legislation that would require SOMH to maintain a waiting list for people with mental illness in need of community-based housing.  This level of planning would greatly assist localities and the State in developing adequate housing resources to meet the needs of consumers and their families. 

Inter-Office Coordinating Council (“IOCC”)

Both houses voted on legislation that would reinstate the responsibility for the Inter-Office Coordinating Council to report to the State legislature on its activities, particularly concerning the needs of consumers with multiple mental hygiene disabilities.

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Working through Fears

The prospect of employment can feel scary for many consumers.  Fears about losing benefits, lack of skills, and increased stress tend to hold people back.  On May 17, the staff at the Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery explored these issues in a presentation delivered at a conference called “Return to Community: Beyond the Basics” which was organized by South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island.  For the full story...

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New York State Implements Citizenship Documentation Requirement

On June 29, 2006 the New York State Office of Medicaid released it's directive for the Citizenship Documentation Requirement of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA). The Citizenship documentation requirement mandates all citizens applying for and upon a recipient’s first renewal of Medicaid to provide documentation of their U.S. citizenship status. Documentation requirements for immigrants remain the same.

However, since individuals applying for Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have always been required to provide this kind of documentation, CMS announced on July 6th that all SSI recipients and Medicare beneficiaries (dual-eligibles), including senior citizens and people with disabilities, are exempt from the Citizenship Documentation Requirement in the DRA.

The federal requirement imposes new rules with respect to identity documentation requirements that are not in place in New York. The following two changes are effective immediately:

A birth certificate will no longer be accepted as a primary document, defined as one that proves both citizenship and identity. An individual must now submit their birth certificate with a second document to establish identity.

New York State will no longer accept copies of citizenship and identity documents. Individuals who are either applying for, or renewing (for the first time) a Medicaid case must present original documentation. Local districts may then copy or scan the documents.

To read the full directive for Citizenship Documentation Requirements, please go to http://www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/medicaid/publications/docs/gis/06ma015.pdf

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OMH & OASAS Testify before Berger Commission

SOMH Commissioner Sharon Carpinello and Acting OASAS Commissioner Shari Noonan testified before the Berger Commission about the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services in general hospitals and the anticipated impact on the behavioral healthcare sector should general hospitals be forced to downsize or close.   Advocates and providers have been urging the formal participation of both Commissioners in this process. Roughly one third of all mental health care is provided through the general hospitals both on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

The Berger Commission is charged with analyzing whether the current general hospital capacity continues to reflect the healthcare needs of communities across the State.  Dr. Rosa Gil, President of Communilife and a Coalition Board member, sits on the Commission and helps monitor mental health and substance abuse issues.  The Coalition is very concerned about the impact of losing behavioral health capacity in general hospitals without first putting in place additional capacity in community-based settings. 

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Acting OASAS Commissioner Shari Noonan Moving On

Acting OASAS Commissioner Shari Noonan is leaving her position effective August 25 in order to run the Albany Citizens’ Council on Alcoholism and other Chemical Dependencies, Inc.  Acting Commissioner Noonan was instrumental in partnering with her colleagues at the City and State to track outcomes for persons using addiction services and developing integrated models of care for individuals with co-occurring disorders.  She also helped usher in a 13% increase in programming over the past year, which will greatly expand the opportunities for care and treatment for those in need.

The Coalition has been proud to partner with OASAS on our multi-part IDDT trainings, and we wish Acting Commissioner Noonan all the best in her new job.

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The WORKbook

The Center's WORKbook - an inventory of NYC mental health and rehabilitation programs that offer employment services - is a useful up-to-date directory available on the Center's website. Users can learn about programs based upon location and service type. To access the WORKbook in pdf version, or to use our search engine, go to:  http://www.coalitionny.org/the_center/workbook/

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New York State Makes Changes to Medicaid Long-Term Care Eligibility

  

Among the changes to Medicaid included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 is a new federal requirement that will restrict Medicaid eligibility for long-term care services. The key changes include: (1) transfer of assets penalties, (2) disclosure of annuities, (3) disqualification of individuals with substantial home equity and (4) entrance fees for continuing care retirement communities. Eligibility changes will be made effective on August 1, 2006.

On June 30, 2006 the New York State Office of Medicaid Management released its directive for Medicaid long-term care eligibility changes. To read the full directive on Changes to Medicaid Long-Term Care Eligibility, please go to

http://www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/medicaid/publications/docs/gis/06ma016.pdf

  

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Free Medicare Part D Trainings

Medicare Part D and Extra Help Updates from Norma Harris, CMS and Everett Lo, SSA

     Thursday, July 27, 2006, 10:00am - Noon

Medicare Part D Breakfasts:  Quick Review of Medicare Part D, latest news and opportunity to discuss issues of concern (light breakfast will be served)

     Thursday, August 3, 2006, 9:00am - 10:30am

     Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 9:00am - 10:30am

Exceptions and Appeals - Ask the Lawyer with Amy Lowenstein, Staff Attorney with the NY Legal Assistance Group

     Tuesday, August 22, 2006, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

RSVP required:  Contact Karyn Krampitz via e-mail at kkrampitz@coalitionny.org or by phone at 212-742-1600 x 103.

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Coalition Job Boards

Coalition Members advertise staff positions for free on The Coalition’s Job Board!

Job #  Job Title
1905 Executive Assistant **
1903 Clinical Supervisor (LCSW-R)
1883 Reimbursement Director

** We want to bid a fond farewell to own Executive Assistant, Marilyn Phillips who is leaving us today.

We also have a job board for psychiatrists only.  APA members regularly look at this listing for potential hourly or per diem positions.

Job #  Job Title
20069 Child Psychiatrist (part-time or full-time)

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Free Center Job Postings

  

Providers may post job openings for FREE at the Center's website.  Jobs are posted for a thirty day period and receive far-reaching viewer ship.  Simply go to:  http://www.coalitionny.org/the_center/jobs/ and click on 'Add a Job' in the upper right hand corner.  This will open a user friendly page to post job information that will be entered by Center staff.

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