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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
September 14, 2006

Robert Belfort to Discuss Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse to Coalition Members

The Coalition is pleased to bring Robert Belfort, from Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP to discuss Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse. His presentation will take place on October 26, 2006 @ 3:30 pm at the Coalition’s Membership Meeting

Mr. Belfort will provide an overview of the compliance obligations imposed on health care organizations under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (the "DRA"), including development of policies and training programs on the False Claims Act. He will also discuss the new Medicaid fraud detection activities being undertaken by the federal government under the DRA, and their potential impact on providers billing the Medicaid program.

His talk will then focus on the recently enacted New York State legislation requiring certain health care organizations to adopt comprehensive corporate compliance programs.  The discussion will include the required elements of a compliance program (which is being implemented simultaneously with the DRA) and the steps an organization must take to implement such a program. This presentation is a must for community behavioral health providers.

Mr. Belfort is Co-Chair of the firm’s Healthcare Industry practice group. He focuses a significant part of his practice on healthcare regulatory compliance, representing clients in government audits and investigations, structuring transactions to ensure compliance with state and federal healthcare laws and providing advice on fraud and abuse issues.

This presentation is open ONLY to Coalition Members. To RSVP please contact Heather Rabinowicz at hrabinowicz@coalitionny.org or by calling (212) 742-1600 x 109.

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Presentation on Latina Teen Suicide

In collaboration with Comunilife, JBFCS and PRFI, The Coalition is proud to host Dr. Luis Zayas for a special presentation on Latina teen suicide. Dr. Luis H. Zayas is the Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor of Social Work and Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is director of the newly established Center for Latino Family Research at Washington University. 

The meeting will take place at The Coalition on Tuesday September 26, 2006 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Dr. Zayas will provide an overview of data on suicidal behavior by adolescents from different ethnic and racial groups in the U.S.  His talk will then focus on describing the higher-than-average rates of suicide attempts by adolescent Latinas, bringing in epidemiological evidence, clinical and research experience, and theoretical explanations of the phenomenon. Dr. Zayas is also available to answer questions.

This meeting is open ONLY to Coalition Members. To RSVP please contact Heather Rabinowicz at hrabinowicz@coalitionny.org or by calling 212-742-1600 x 109.

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City Council Funds Geriatric Mental Health Initiative

After appropriating $1.7 million in the Fiscal 2007 City budget for its Geriatric Mental Health Initiative, the City Council announced its designation list for the providers who will receive this funding.  The list includes renewal funding to three Coalition members who were awarded contracts in last year’s budget and new funding to seven Coalition members.  All ten of these providers have experience in providing mental health treatment and programs for seniors in neighborhoods all over the city.

We thank Chairperson Oliver Koppell for his leadership in consultation with his colleagues on the Council and in the Administration.  We are also grateful to Speaker Christine Quinn and to Finance Chair David Weprin for fighting to include these funds in the Fiscal 2007 City budget. 

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CCRR Staff Featured in New State Video

With pride we acknowledge Coalition Center Office Assistant Pat Feinberg’s participation in “Disability and the Law: Work Incentives Do Work,” a video produced by the New York State Commission on Quality and Advocacy for Persons with Disability (CQCAPD) and the New York State Bar Association.  Scheduled to air throughout New York State beginning this month, Pat shared her experiences as a mental health consumer who successfully returned to work.  Pat’s account of how supports, programs and policies aided in her transition back to the workplace will surely be of benefit to consumers, staff, and policy makers alike.  Pat is a valued member of our team, and we thank her for her continued devotion to the Coalition.

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Coalition’s Center to Assist Agencies with TIP Implementation

The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery will continue its Youth Initiative by selecting a maximum of six New York City agencies to assist in the implementation of the Transition to Independence Process system.  In selecting these agencies, commitment to the SED youth population, capacity to implement the TIP system, and interest in strengthening community partnerships will be primary points of consideration. Technical assistance will be provided by Dr. Rusty Clark, author of the TIP system, and other experts in this area. For more information, visit our website at www.coalitionny.org/the_center/seminars/youth_initiative.html

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Medicare Part D

The new Medicare Part D prescription drug program continues to challenge many of our consumers.  Medications are dropped from plans; donut holes are being reached; step therapy, prior authorization and quantity limits are slowing down access to necessary medications.  And, getting a positive decision on an exception or appeal request is often difficult at best. 

Beneficiaries currently receiving “extra help” are right now being reviewed by the Social Security Administration to verify that they will still qualify for extra help in 2007.  In addition, it is very possible that Plans may change their medication list next year, increase their pricing or even disappear altogether. 

And, there is no guarantee that the NY State Medicaid emergency wraparound program for Medicare Part D will be extended beyond Dec.31, 2006.  Medicaid is currently spending close to $11 Million dollars a month on the Part D emergency wrap, much of which they believe should be covered by the Part D plans.  Do you know what will happen to your clients after the wrap ends? 

The Coalition continues to educate mental health providers so they are better prepared help their clients respond to these changes.  So far this fall we have scheduled:

              A monthly Medicare Part D Breakfast which will provide an overview of the latest Part D changes and offer a forum for providers to share and discuss issues of concern.  The dates are September 28, October 24, November 21 and December 29, 2006 from 9:00am to 10:30am.

              Two Introduction to Medicare Part D Sessions on October 16, and December 5, 2006 from 9:30am – 11:30am. 

              A Part D Update from Amy Bernstein, the Director of the NYC Health Insurance Information Program.  Ms. Bernstein will talk about current changes in Medicare Part D and outline the department’s efforts to assist beneficiaries in the five boroughs of NYC.  October 12, 2006 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm.

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We welcome Odyssey House

The Coalition welcomes Odyssey House as its newest member agency.  Odyssey House is a multi-service agency with a strong focus on treatment for substance abuse and mental illness and innovative housing programs for homeless adults suffering from addictive and psychiatric disorders.  In addition, Odyssey House has programs for adolescents, seniors and persons living with HIV/AIDS.  We welcome Odyssey House to the Coalition, and look forward to working with its staff on behavioral health issues in the years ahead.

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Behavioral Health Sector Loses a Pioneer

The Coalition is saddened by the passing at the end of August, of Bernard Wohl, former Executive Director of Goddard Riverside Community Center and a Coalition member.  Bernie Wohl was a pioneer in the world of homeless outreach and supportive housing, and was a passionate advocate for helping poor and homeless New Yorkers find housing, treatment and support services.  We will miss him.

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Coalition Job Boards

Coalition Members advertise staff positions for free on The Coalition’s Job Board!  Here's a sample:

Job #  Job Title
1962 Bilingual Mental Health Counselor
1965 Overnight Aide
1974 Director, Treatment Center for Trauma and Abuse

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
20080 ACT Team Psychiatrist

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