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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
October 17, 2006
 

OUR NAME HAS CHANGED!

We are now The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc., the leading-edge advocacy and education umbrella organization for New York's community based behavioral health providers.  We are still The Coalition you know and love!  Our website is now www.coalitionny.org.

 

Step Right Up!  Big Apple Circus, November 8, 2006!

Let's go to the Circus.  BRING your kids or SPONSOR needy kids at The Coalition's Big Apple Circus fundraiser on November 8, 2006 at 6:30pm in Damroash Park West 63rd St (Lincoln Center). Tickets may be purchased on our website www.coalitionny.org/.  We have an on-line order special: purchase 10 or more tickets on-line and get 1 circus dollar for every ticket purchased.  Circus dollars may be used as real money at any one of the circus concession stands.

New Medicare Part D Plans Put Consumers at Risk

The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has released its 2007 list of Standard Part D plans and many of the changes will affect those beneficiaries who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.   Providers must review and potentially change their client’s Part D plan to ensure that the beneficiary’s costs will not increase next year and that important medications will continue to be covered. 

Confusion abounds for low income subsidy (LIS) beneficiaries.   Some LIS recipients may no longer qualify for the subsidy in 2007; some will find that CMS has auto enrolled them in a different plan for 2007; and still others will find that their LIS plans no longer qualify for the LIS designation, leaving them vulnerable to higher fees unless they switch plans.  CMS and SSA are sending letters to many beneficiaries letting them know which of these changes will affect them.  Please note: the annual enrollment period begins November 15 and ends December 31.  2007 plan information will be available mid-October on the Medicare.gov website.  Any Medicare eligible individual may may sign-up during this period and all currently enrolled beneficiaries may change plans during this period.  (Dual eligibles may change plans anytime.) 

Quick summary of some of the standalone plan changes for 2007:

61 standalone plans to chose from; up 15 plans from 2006.

13 Benchmark plans; 2 less than last year  (6 plans continue from 2006)

The lowest plan premium increases from $4.10 (Humana) to $9.50 (HIP) in 2007. 

The annual deductible goes from $250 to $265.

Benchmark premium falls to $24.45 from $29.83

The complete New York State listing of standalone plans is available at http://www.medicare.gov/medicarereform/mapdpdocs2007/PDPLandscapeNY07.pdf.

If you are confused by any or all of this, be sure to attend one of our Part D trainings. The next two trainings include: Introduction to Medicare Part D on Monday, October 16 (9:30am) and Medicare Part D Breakfast (9 am) on October 24, 2006.  Breakfast discussions include any recent updates to Part D and then open up to questions or concerns from providers. For more information or to RSVP (required) e-mail Karyn Krampitz at kkrampitz@coalitionny.org.

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New York State Exempts Medicare/SSI Clients from Citizenship Documentation Requirement

The New York State Office of Medicaid Management recently released clarification on the Citizenship Documentation Requirement of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), passed by congress earlier this year. The directive exempts individuals who currently receive Medicare or SSI (or both) from the requirement to provide documentation of citizenship or identity when they apply for Medicaid   The directive also states that a certificate of Naturalization and a Certificate of U.S. Citizenship may be photocopied by a worker or facilitated enroller for use in a Medicaid case record.

To read the full General Information System message for Citizenship Documentation Requirements, please go to:

http://www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/medicaid/publications/docs/gis/06ma024.pdf

To read previous General Information System messages, please go to: http://www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/medicaid/publications/pub2006gis.htm

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Continuum of Care Update - NYC Housing Alert

 

The New York City Coalition on the Continuum of Care (NYCCCoC), the advisory body that determines how best to allocate over $60 million in HUD McKinney-Vento funding, is divided over whether or not to re-direct funding from existing permanent and transitional housing programs in order to fund new housing units.  The City has admitted that it is counting on this re-allocation in order to fund some of the 9,000 supportive housing units included in the New York/New York III Agreement.

The Coalition is a voting member of the NYCCCoC’s Steering Committee, and we are working with our trade association colleagues and other allies to preserve existing programs wherever possible.  While we recognize the importance of developing new housing units, we are extremely reluctant to address the City’s homeless crisis by crippling existing housing programs in the process.  The City claims its proposal will not result in the closing of any beds, but its unlikely that providers will be able to provide housing and services to the same clients with less funding.

Michael Polenberg, the Coalition’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, was recently elected to serve as a Co-chair of the Continuum’s Steering Committee.  You may reach him at (212) 742-1600 ext. 102 if you have any questions about the Continuum of Care.

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Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery Youth Initiative Work Group

 

Our Youth Initiative Workgroup held its inaugural meeting on September 27th.  We are happy to share that the 15 participants represented a wide-array of youth services providers and government agencies each with a strong vested interest in the welfare of SED transition age youth.  This work group is being held in conjunction with our ongoing Youth Initiative and Transition to Independence (TIP) trainings for the purpose of sharing ideas and perspectives on the challenges facing this population.  The Coalition is thrilled to be the first organization to offer this cutting-edge, evidence-based approach to the New York City provider community. For more information about the work group, contact Dr. Amy Smiley, the Center’s Youth Consultant at asmiley@coalitionny.org, or visit the Center’s website at www.coalitionny.org/the_center.

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City Plans to Reconfigure Homeless Outreach Contracts

The City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recently issued a Concept Paper calling for a wholesale reconfiguration of all of their respective homeless outreach contracts.

The Coalition has a number of concerns with the Concept Paper, some of which are listed here.  (You can read our official response here). 

The City’s proposal would terminate over twenty existing homeless outreach contracts and would instead create four or five “master” contracts with the option to subcontract.   All existing program dollars associated with outreach would now have to cover both programmatic and administrative expenses associated with the subcontracting arrangements – in effect providing fewer overall dollars for actual outreach.  Contractors would be audited by both DHS and DOHMH, perhaps with different measures and performance standards, thereby adding more overhead costs.

The City plans to grade contractors on their ability to lower the number of street homeless in their catchment area, thus holding providers responsible for demographic shifts in housing and labor markets well beyond their control.  Furthermore, the City’s proposal would endanger other homeless services programs (i.e., drop-in centers) and funding which are intrinsically linked to existing outreach contracts and which offer critical services for the street homeless population.

While the proposal urges contractors to consider a “housing first” placement strategy, it does not include a single dollar for new housing units, nor does it bolster funding for existing housing units to make them more appropriate for street homeless clients with untreated psychiatric and addictive disorders.

Finally, outreach providers who currently contract with DOHMH include a clinical component to their work.  Specialized models that successfully engage the street homeless population shouldn’t be lost in the reconfiguration.  We hope that DHS and DOHMH incorporate our recommendations into the RFP due out in November.

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Governor Pataki Signs Children's Mental Health Act of 2006

On September 13th, Governor George Pataki signed into law the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2006 (SB 6672). The Children’s Mental Health Act facilitates cross-system collaboration between the Department of Education and OMH which will expand and improve social and emotional development practices in elementary and secondary schools.

The Children’s Mental Health Act will:

  • Establish a children’s mental health plan by the Commissioner of Education in cooperation with the Commissioner of Mental Health. The plan will be implemented voluntarily by school districts. The plan will contain short-term and long-term recommendations to provide comprehensive, coordinated mental health prevention, early intervention, and treatment services for children through age 18.
  • Require the Commissioner of Mental Health to report annually to the Governor and legislature on the status of children’s mental health and to provide revisions to the plan.
  • Create a Children’s Mental Health Advisory Board to develop and monitor the implementation of the plan and to report to the Governor.
  • Require the Department of Education to promulgate and implement rules and regulations in order for school districts to voluntarily incorporate social and emotional development standards and programs into elementary and secondary schools.

                                                         

The Coalition acknowledges State Senator Thomas Morahan (R-Rockland County) and Assembly Member Peter Rivera (D-Bronx) for their leadership on this issue.

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City Moving Ahead With New York/New York Re-Rental Policy

In an effort to reduce the number of chronically homeless adults (defined as a person with a disabling condition and who has been homeless for 365 days out of the past two years), the City is moving ahead with a proposal to require New York/New York housing providers under contract with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to backfill all vacancies with individuals who meet this new definition.  The City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) has begun training NY/NY providers, and the new policy will take effect November 1st.

The Coalition, together with our partners at ACL, the Council on Homeless Policies and Services, and the Network, have been meeting with City officials to ensure that this proposal will not jeopardize existing housing units.  Most of our advocacy has centered around the need to maintain “provider choice” in determining who among the chronically homeless is appropriate for each unit.  We believe that is simply untenable for providers to cede this authority to the City, when it is the providers (and their Boards of Directors) who bear responsibility for maintaining these units and for obilgations to others tenants and meighborhoods.

The City has agreed to allow a three month “trial period” during which time providers would maintain their ability to select tenants for their housing units.  During this period, the City will examine the referral process and make a determination about its impact on the numbers of chronically homeless adults in the shelters and on the streets.  Its unclear (or unlikely) that the City will have sufficient data after only three months to make such a determination.  The Coalition and our colleagues will continue to devote considerable effort to maintain housing provider’s ability to maintain tenant selection, and to preserve the fiscal and programmatic viability of existing housing units for homeless adults with psychiatric disabilities.

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OMH Receives $2.25 Million NIMH Grant for a Children's Research Center

Researchers at the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) have been awarded a five year, $2.25 million grant from the National Institute for Mental Health. The primary goal of the Children's Research Center will be to improve knowledge about effective ways to implement and sustain evidence-based clinical services for children and to examine innovative clinical services for children and youth. Researchers at OMH believe that the establishment of the Research Center will improve the implementation of research-based approaches into the public mental health system and the quality of children’s mental health services.

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Coalition Leadership at Helm of Mental Health News Board

 

Peter Campanelli, the Coalition’s Board President and the Executive Director/CEO of the Institute for Community Living, has been elected to serve as the new Board President of Mental Health News.  Dr. Campanelli replaces Alan Siskind, who is stepping down after serving as Board Chair for the last three years.  Joining Dr. Campanelli will be Peter Beitchman, the Executive Director of The Bridge, Inc. and a long standing Coalition Board member.  We congratulate the new Board members and wish them much success in their new roles.

Mental Health News is an award-winning quarterly newspaper that reaches over 70,000 readers throughout the northeast and across the country, and which covers a broad range of issues of concern to mental health advocates, providers, consumers and family members.

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OIG 2007 Plan released

Each year the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announces its Work Plan for the year ahead which identifies Medicaid programs targeted for audits.  With increased audit funding available to both the OIG and NY State Medicaid, providers need to be sure their programs are compliant.  For 2007, areas of interest for Mental Health Providers include:  Targeted Case Management, Medicaid for Persons with Mental Disabilities, Community Mental Health Centers, Medicaid Outpatient Mental Health Services: Appropriateness of Payments, and Medicaid Outpatient Mental Health Services that Exceed State Utilization Criteria.  The full plan can be found at

http://oig.hhs.gov/publications/docs/workplan/2007/Work%20Plan%202007.pdf.

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Coalition’s Center Upcoming Trainings

The Center is continuing to accept registrations for Basic Benefits, Comprehensive Benefits, and Core Competencies: Introduction to Mental Health, Rehabilitation and Recovery trainings. The following dates and locations remain available:

Basic Benefits (no fee): Thursday, October 19th, 1-4pm, Postgraduate Center for Mental Health - W 36th St                                        Friday, November 3rd, 1-4pm, Howie T. Harp Peer Advocacy Center

Comprehensive Benefits ($205 per person): Tuesday-Friday, November 14th-17th, 9am-4pm, at the Coalition’s 90 Broad St. offices

Core Competencies: Intro to Mental Health, Rehab and Recovery ($80 per person): Wednesday and Thursday, November 1st and 2nd , 9am – 4pm, at the Coalition’s 90 Broad St. offices

To download a training registration form and to view other forthcoming trainings, go to  http://www.coalitionny.org/the_center/seminars/documents/CCRRTrainingOverviewFallWinter2006.pdf,. Please return this form via fax, attn: Ms. Deborah Short, 212-742-2132

*Should training costs prove prohibitive to your agency’s participation, please contact Alysia Pascaris, the Center’s Director at 212-742-1600, ext 201.

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

The Coalition would like to remind its members to register for the Thursday, October 26th presentation by Robert Belfort on Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse.  The presentation will take place at our office at 3:30 PM.

Mr. Belfort, from Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP, 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.

He will also 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 Freddie Rocha at frocha@coalitionny.org or by calling (212) 742-1600 x 105.

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Don't forget the Mental Health Association in New York's Annual Awards Dinner and Fall Conference, October 26 & 27, 2006.  For more information or to register go to http://www.mhanys.org/.


Coalition Job Boards

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

Job #  Job Title
1977 Direct Care Workers
1980 Registered Nurse
1984 HR Director

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
20083 Child Psychiatrist

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