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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
December 21, 2006

Changes in Coalition Board

Members of The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies unanimously voted last week to elect Jonas Waizer, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer for Behavioral and Health Related Services at F.E.G.S. to serve as the new President of the organization.  Dr. Waizer succeeds Peter Campanelli, Peter Campanelli, ?? and Jonas WaizerPsy.D., the President/CEO of the Institute for Community Living, who headed The Coalition as its President for the last four years. 

In addition to

Dr. Waizer, Donna Colonna, Executive Director of Services for the Underserved, will begin a term as Vice President; Gayle DeRienzis, Associate Director for Government Relations and Public Affairs for Builders for the Family and Youth, will serve as Secretary; and Thelma Dye, Executive Director of the Northside Center for Child Development, will serve as Treasurer.  Dr. Campanelli will remain on the Executive Committee in his capacity as

Past President.

“With our new name, expanded mission and strong new leadership, we feel prepared to face the challenges ahead. The Coalition is poised to build on its strong past and pursue robust growth, continuing to advance strong advocacy and provide high quality information and education to New York City’s behavioral health providers,” stated Phillip Saperia, the Coalition’s Executive Director.

The Coalition also elected four new members to its 30 member Board. They are: Gordon Campbell, Executive Director of the Safe Horizon Counseling Center; Paul Levine, Associate Executive Vice President for the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services; Muzzy Rosenblatt, Executive Director of the Bowery Residents’ Committee; and Ed Ross, Director of Behavioral Health for the International Center for the Disabled.

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THE COALITION WISHES EVERYONE A HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON!


More Appointments Surface for Spitzer Administration

Governor-elect Elliot Spitzer has named Gladys Carrion to be the new Commissioner for the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and named David Hansell to be the new Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Services (OTDA).  In addition, Governor-elect Spitzer named Lorraine Cortes-Vasquez to be Secretary of State.

Ms. Carrion is currently the Senior VP for Community Investment at the United Way of NYC, and Mr. Hansell is currently the Chief of Staff for New York City’s Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS).

Ms. Cortes-Vasquez is currently a registered lobbyist for CSC Holdings, and was former Executive Director of the Hispanic Federation.

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City Allows Providers More Time To Respond to Street Homeless Outreach RFP

 

Responding to concerns raised by providers and advocates that insufficient time had been allotted to adequately respond to the new street homeless outreach RFP, the City’s Department of Homeless Services and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have pushed back the proposal's submission date from January 9 to February 1, 2007.  The added submission time will allow providers to put forth more comprehensive proposals to reduce incidences of street homelessness throughout the five boroughs.

The RFP issued on November 17th envisions a complete overhaul of the existing network of outreach contracts issued through DHS and DOHMH.  The new proposal will shift the work being done through approximately twenty-four contracts into just four; it will require master contractors to adopt the role currently played by the City in ensuring program and fiscal compliance from their subcontractors; and it will, for the first time, require achievement of certain performance indicators related to housing placement as a condition of payment.

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Kaiser Report:  Seniors and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

This new report issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts that few seniors plan to switch Part D plans for 2007.  The study, conducted in the middle of November, finds that 1 in 20 (5%) seniors plan to switch plans, 66% plan to remain in their existing plans and 29% were still undecided.  While 73% of seniors say that the Medicare drug benefit is "too complicated", nonetheless 76% still say it's been a positive experience, and 52% say they have saved money.  Go to http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/pomr121906pkg.cfm for the full report.

Reminder:  Medicare Part D plans are changing their covered drug lists effective January 1, 2007.  There are only 10 more days remaining for seniors to select a new plan.  To check out the changes go to www.Medicare.gov and compare plans.

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Visiting Legal Scholar Presents at the Coalition's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery

 

On December 12th, 2006 the Center hosted John Tobin, Esq., a Visiting Professor at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne, Australia.  John’s interactive presentation, Thinking of Ways to Improve Mental Health Service Delivery: How Can a Rights-based Approach Help? was attended by over 40 organizational leaders and policy makers from a wide array of organizations and government agencies.  Attendees had a unique opportunity to learn how to improve mental health services through the incorporation of rights-based principles such as equality, self determination, accountability and burden sharing.  The Center hopes to provide additional opportunities for multidisciplinary learning in the future and we thank all those who attended this innovative event. 

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Coalition Testifies at City Council Oversight Hearing on Geriatric Mental Health

 

The Coalition joined a number of its member agencies and other advocates at a City Council oversight hearing earlier this week on the need for geriatric mental health services.   Michael Polenberg, the Coalition’s Director of Policy & Advocacy, testified about the fiscal and regulatory obstacles faced by providers working with seniors, and thanked the Council for allocating $1.7 million in the Fiscal 2007 Adopted Budget to enhance the delivery of geriatric mental health programming to seniors throughout the five boroughs.

The hearing, chaired by Council Member Maria Del Carmen Arroyo (Aging Committee) and Council Member Oliver Koppell (Mental Health Committee), sought answers on what services are needed, how services are provided, what obstacles do providers face, and what role can the Council play in increasing access to services for seniors with mental health disorders.  Deputy Executive Commissioner Lloyd Sederer and his staff also provided testimony and discussed the City's new emphasis on screening older adults in primary care settings for depression and other disorders.  He also noted, however, that Medicaid neutrality rules prevent expansion of services to individuals with mental health needs, including seniors.

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Center Launches New Youth Initiative Training Series: Developing Employment Solutions for Seriously Emotionally Disturbed Adolescents and Young Adults

Consistent with our ongoing focus on rehabilitation and recovery, The Coalition is pleased to present a new and dynamic workshop series for New York City providers serving Seriously Emotionally Disturbed adolescents and young adults through it's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery.

Expected participants for this training series work in a wide range of modalities including Adolescent Skills Centers, Children’s Certified Residences, Day Treatment and Continuing Day Treatment Programs, Clubhouses, Employment Services, Family-Based Treatment Programs, IPRTs, Residential Treatment Centers and Facilities, and other entities serving the needs of transition-age youth, often bridging the child and adult mental health systems.

Training Series Topics

This series of 6 trainings composed of workshops developed by WAVE (Work, Achievement, Values and Education, Inc.), a national youth development organization, is designed to help practitioners enhance programs and staff skills. Although each session can be regarded as a stand-alone training, we urge those who wish to develop comprehensive youth employment services to attend the entire 6 part series:

  1. General Overview for Agency Administrators/Decision-Makers
  2. Pre-Service Orientation and Training for Staff
  3. Experiential Training/Discipline with Dignity
  4. Job Readiness
  5. Job Development
  6. Motivational Strategies

 

Location: All trainings will be conducted at The Coalition’s 90 Broad Street offices, 8th Floor Conference Room.

For more information, training dates, and to register, please go to: http://www.coalitionny.org/the_center/seminars/youth_initiative.html

*All Center trainings can be used toward CPRP and CRC credentialing.

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State Assembly Passes “Timothy’s Law”; Bill Now Awaits Governor’s Signature

 

The New York State Assembly unanimously passed the mental health parity bill known as “Timothy’s Law” on December 13th.  The bill, which the Senate had passed earlier in the year, now goes before the Governor for his approval.  A state-wide coalition of advocates, providers, consumers and family members is urging the Governor to sign the legislation before his term ends.  Advocacy efforts are also underway to add alcohol and substance abuse treatment to the bill.

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City Voices Seeks Donated Space

City Voices, Inc., a non-profit organization run by consumers for consumers seeks donated office space.  The space will be used to train mentally ill people to produce our award-winning newsletter and help with other projects, including mailings and event-planning.  See their flyer for more information.

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New Medicare Costs for the New Year

Medicare premium and deductible costs usually change every year. It is important that consumers know what the new costs will be to avoid surprise charges that could be a barrier to getting care. 

In 2007—for the first time in Medicare’s 40-year history—the Medicare Part B premium will be based on annual income (instead of one premium rate for everyone). Medicare Part B covers doctors’ services and outpatient care.

To keep abreast of changes in Medicare, read more about supplementing Medicare coverage with a Medigap plan, or find out how to qualify for a Medicare Savings Program, log on to Medicare Interactive at www.medicareinteractive.org/cvmha. Medicare Interactive is a online partnership resource provided by the Medicare Rights Center, the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare.

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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
2053 Director of Quality Assurance / Utilization Management
2047

Bilingual Social Worker - AOPD

2044 Accountant
2041 Nurse

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
2009 Medical Director (Part Time)

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