If you are unable to read this edition, please view it on our web site

The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. Coalition Briefs
An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Mental Health in New York
January 24, 2007


New Commissioners Set to Take Helm at OMH, OASAS, OMRDD and DOH


The change in Administration in Albany brings with it the nomination of four new individuals to head up key State agencies for Coalition members.  The Coalition extends a hearty welcome to all of the nominees, and looks forward to a productive and collaborative relationship in the months and years ahead.

Michael Hogan, Ph.D. - Office of Mental HealthMichael Hogan, Ph.D. – Office of Mental Health

Dr. Hogan most recently served as Director of Ohio’s Department of Mental Health, and also chaired the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.

Karen Carpenter-Palumbo – Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse

Karen Carpenter-Palumbo – Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse

Ms. Carpenter-Palumbo most recently served as Vice President of the American Cancer Society.

Richard F. Daines, M.D. – Department of Health

Dr. Daines was the President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital.

Diana Jones Ritter – Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities

Ms. Ritter was the Deputy Executive Comptroller in the office of the NY State Comptroller.


Al Miller, CEO of FEGS, Announces Retirement

Al Miller, CEO of FEGS, will retire in May after 43 years with his agency.  He will remain an Executive Consultant to FEGS for the next five years while he establishes a consulting firm.  Miller will be succeeded by Gail Magaliff, while Ira Machowsky will take the new position of Executive Vice President/COO of FEGS.  "He has been the engine behind FEGS and its spectacular growth over many years." said Phillip Saperia, The Coalition's Executive Director, "I have never known the human services world or the Jewish communal world without Al Miller at the helm of FEGS."


Hail and Farewell to Sharon Carpinello

Phillip A. Saperia

I have come to praise Sharon Carpinello. She will be missed.

Sharon was a Commissioner of distinction. Under her watch, providers were treated with the respect they deserve as one of the major stakeholders in mental health service delivery. She listened, watched and responded with deliberation and wisdom.

Commissioner Carpinello saw to it that children’s services, greatly under-capacitated, were expanded and given significantly more resources. She promoted evidence based practices and invested heavily in bringing rehabilitation techniques and concepts of recovery to all corners of the mental health system. She built more housing for people living with mental illnesses. Rates were enhanced for housing as well as services.

Widely respected for her work in suicide prevention and the treatment of eating disorders, she has a national reputation, which redounded to the benefit of New York State.

Sharon was accessible, available and focused. We admired her exceptional intellect and impressive body of knowledge. Last year, The Coalition presented her with its Mental Health Award and cited her for “the wisdom and prudence that allows you to seek out, hear and take into account the views of all constituencies that make up the mental health community.”

We wish her good fortune and great success in her new endeavors.


Governor Signs Timothy’s Law!


New York became the latest state to put mental health parity on the books when former Governor George Pataki signed “Timothy’s Law” on December 22nd, 2006.  For advocates, consumers, family members and providers, Governor Pataki’s signature marked a historic moment in a long and heartfelt campaign.  The new legislation is expected to help millions of New Yorkers obtain broader access to inpatient and outpatient mental health care.  Meanwhile, advocacy efforts are already underway to amend the law to include parity coverage for alcohol and substance abuse treatment.


Coalition Brings Advocacy To Washington, DC

The Coalition pressed for fewer Medicaid restrictions and increased funding for HUD McKinney housing with staff from Congress members Ed Towns (D-Brooklyn) and Nydia Velasquez(D-Brooklyn) earlier this week.  With all but one member of New York City’s congressional delegation now in the majority party, the Coalition is eager to rekindle its advocacy efforts on issues of importance to its membership.

The Coalition urged lawmakers to exempt individuals with behavioral health disorders and/or those who are chronically homeless from having to produce citizenship documentation to enroll or renew their application for Medicaid.  This requirement, included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006, poses significant threats to the provision of timely and effective treatment to those who need it the most.

The Coalition also urged lawmakers to increase funding to the HUD McKinney-Vento Act in order to ensure the continued viability of existing HUD-funded programs as well as fund new units to address the over 35,000 men, women and children who continue to find themselves homeless each night in New York City.


Coalition Congratulates NYC Delegation on their Congressional Appointments

The Coalition congratulates the following members of the NYC Delegation on their Congressional Committee appointments. We look forward to working with our delegation on matters of concern to the Coalition and are encouraged that so many of our Representatives will play key roles in the 110th Congress.  The following members sit on key committees for Coalition concerns.

House Appropriations Committee

Jose Serrano – Brooklyn (retained assignment)

House Energy and Commerce Committee

Eliot Engel – Bronx (retained assignment)

Vito Fossella – Brooklyn and S.I. (retained assignment)

Edolphus Towns – Brooklyn (retained assignment)

Anthony Weiner –Brooklyn and Queens (newly appointed to the committee)

House Ways and Means Committee

Joe Crowley – Bronx and Queens (newly appointed to the committee)

Charles Rangel – Bronx and Manhattan (appointed the new chair)

House Financial Services Committee

Nydia Velaszquez - Brooklyn, Manhattan

New Members of Congress

Yvette Clark – Brooklyn


OMH Holds Forums on Article 31 Clinic Rates

The State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has just completed a series of forums and program site visits to examine how different models of Article 31 clinics are reimbursed.  This effort is a result of an appropriation made by Senate Mental Health Chair Thomas Morahan (R-Rockland County) in the State Fiscal 2006-2007 Executive Budget.  To comply with this request, OMH hired the Public Consultant Group to examine the revenue and expense borne by various models, and to make recommendations to ensure the financial viability of clinic treatment programs.

The Coalition attended the downstate meeting held on January 5th, and spoke to the need to reconfigure the manner in which all clinic treatment programs are currently reimbursed, given the deficits which are routinely incurred.  Indeed, the consultant hired by OMH produced charts which showed expenses far outpacing annual revenue for both COPS and non-COPS clinics.

Also attending the downstate meeting were representatives from GNYHA, HHC, NYAPRS, and the Council of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, as well as agency directors from both COPS and non-COPS providers.


Extended Re-enrollment Period and Penalties Waived for Some Part D Beneficiaries

Some Part D beneficiaries may be eligible for an extended re-enrollment period. In a Kaiser daily health report released January 2, 2007, it was reported that the UnitedHealth Group did not send their Annual Notice of Change documents to beneficiaries by the Oct 31 deadline.  This left about 250,000 beneficiaries without sufficient information to make a decision by December 31, 2006 which is the end of the annual enrollment period.  CMS has extended the deadline for these beneficiaries until Feb 15, 2007 allowing them time to review their Part D plans and make a change if they wish.

On January 9, 2007 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they will waive Medicare Part D late registration penalties for those beneficiaries who are approved for the low income subsidy (LIS) in 2007.  Eligible low income subsidy beneficiaries who did not sign up for a Part D plan during the annual enrollment period should apply for the LIS.  If approved they are allowed to sign up for a plan during the year without penalty.  If they are approved and do not sign up, CMS will ‘facilitate’ their enrollment in a randomly selected LIS Part D plan.  For more information call Social Security at 800-772-1213.  On-line applications can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov


Funding Opportunity for a Bronx School Based Mental Health Treatment Program

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has re-released an RFP for a Bronx School Based Mental Health Program. The NYC DOHMH and the Office of Child and Adolescent Services is seeking a qualified vendor to expand existing school based mental health treatment and crisis intervention services to school age children (ages 5 to 18) and their families in the Bronx. The intent is to provide services at an elementary school, a middle school or a high school in a high need area in each borough. The proposal deadline is February 1, 2007.

Questions regarding the RFP should be directed to Nancy Hulbrock, Contracting Officer, at (212) 219-5889 or nhulbroc@health.nyc.gov. To request a copy of the RFP, please go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/acco/acco-rfp-SBMHBronx-20061221.shtml.


The Coalition's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery Upcoming Trainings

Self Employment and Plans for Achieving Self Support (PASS)

February 16th, 2007, 9am-4pm              

Trainer: Edwin Lopez-Soto, Esq.

Fee: $25 per person   

Based on expressed needs of practitioners, this one-day training will focus on issues pertaining to Self-Employment and Plans for Achieving Self Support (PASS).   PASS allows a person with a disability to set aside otherwise countable income for a specific period of time to achieve a work goal.  The morning session will cover: Who’s a good candidate for a PASS?, What can a PASS be used for?,and How long can a PASS continue? 

The afternoon session will focus on self-employment issues, specifically: benefits, income disregards, business planning and application of work incentives to support self-employment outcomes.   Case studies will be utilized to reinforce the day’s learning.   

Core Competencies: Introduction to Mental Health, Rehabilitation and Recovery

March 20th- 21st, 2007, 9am-4pm                      

Trainers: Jessica Wolf, Ph.D. and Leslie Reed-Shields, LCSW

Fee: $50 per person

This two-day training is designed for front-line staff working in community support programs who require basic knowledge in psychiatric rehabilitation, the role of treatment, and evidence-based practices. The two-day module includes:

  • An overview of mental health and mental illness;
  • History of mental illness treatment;
  • Information on psychiatric rehabilitation, recovery and resilience; and
  • Discussion of the values and guiding principles of psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery and how these translate for individual consumers, service providers, programs and mental health systems.

For more information about upcoming trainings and to register, please visit the Center’s website at http://www.coalitionny.org/the_center/ .


Coalition Hosts Demonstration on Psychiatric Clinical Knowledge Enhancement System (PSYCKES)

The Coalition is pleased to bring Chip Felton, OMH Sr. Deputy Commissioner/Chief Information Officer, Molly Finnerty, Director, Bureau of Adult Services Evaluation Research, Thomas White, Director, Bureau of Mental Health Informatics, and Edith Kealey, Research Scientist to provide a demonstration of OMH’s PSYCKES. Their demonstration will take place on January 25, 2007 @ 3:30 pm at the Coalition’s Membership Meeting.  

PSYCKES was designed to support Evidenced based practices (EBPs) for medication management.  The focus is to give front-line doctors and their supervisors the information they need to choose the sequence and combination of medications with the best change of quickly leading to successful discharge and recovery for their patients. 

For more information on PSYCKES, please go to http://psyckes.omh.state.ny.us.


This demonstration is open ONLY to Coalition Members. To RSVP please contact Heather R. Mermel at hrmermel@coalitionny.org  or by calling 212-742-1600 x 109


Coalition Testifies at Assembly Public Hearing on Suicide and Forthcoming City Council Hearing

The high rate of suicide among Latina adolescents and elder Asian American women was the topic of a December 7, 2006 Assembly public hearing. The Coalition and a number of its member agencies offered ardent testimony. Phillip Saperia and Heather Mermel, the Coalition’s Executive Director and Policy Associate, noted the dearth of treatment slots, the scarcity of culturally and linguistically competent workers and the need to conduct trainings for all staff that will provide the skills required to work in multi-cultural and linguistic communities.

Heather R. Mermel highlighted the Coalition’s suicide prevention initiative that strives to raise awareness and educate behavioral health providers on suicide and culturally appropriate suicide prevention programs and best-practices.   The full text of the testimony is available on our website.

On January 31st, The Coalition will be testifying at the City Council’s hearing on the availability of suicide prevention services for Latina and Asian-American women in New York City. The hearing will be held by the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services jointly with the Committee on Women’s Issues.

The Coalition thanks Assembly members Peter Rivera and Barbara Lifton for raising awareness and putting a public spotlight on the public health crisis of suicide among women, particularly among minorities. 


CMS Issues Remote Access Guidance for HIPAA Security

CMS has prepared guidance to provide HIPAA covered entities with general information on the risks and possible risk management strategies for remote use of and access to Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI).  This is recommended reading for all Security and Compliance Officers as it may be used to enforce the non-privacy provisions of the HIPAA Regulations.  The document may be downloaded from http://www.cms.hhs.gov/SecurityStandard/Downloads/SecurityGuidanceforRemoteUseFinal122806.pdf.


DOH Announces Funding for Adult Care Facility Resident Air Conditioning

This Adult Care Facility Resident Air Conditioning Initiative is being offered by The Department of Health (DOH). The funding will provide for the installation, operation and maintenance of air conditioning in adult homes and enriched housing program resident rooms.  A total of $2 million is available through a competitive process with awards of up to $75,000.  The Request For Application (RFA) can be found at http://www.health.state.ny.us/funding/rfa/0611100130/.  Proposals are due Feb 15.


Help the Uninsured Get a Quick Start on Rx Savings

With the quick start savings card from Together Rx Access, individuals who lack prescription drug coverage and are not eligible for Medicare don’t have to wait to start saving on the medicines they need. 

Most cardholders save 25% to 40% on brand-name prescription drugs and products with the free-to-get and free-to-use Card.  The program includes more than 300 brand-name medicines and products, prescribed to treat diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, allergy, asthma, arthritis, and depression, and other common conditions.  Savings on a range of generic medicines are also available.

The program is sponsored by many of the major pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen, and AstraZeneca.

The Coalition has a supply of cards and flyers which will be available at meetings and trainings.  Contact Karyn Krampitz, Director of Special Projects, at kkrampitz@coalitionny.org for more information.


Coalition Job Boards

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

Job #  Job Title
2089 Case Manager

Program Coordinator, Supportive Case Management

2075 Director Assertive Community Treatment Institute
2073 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

Attending Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist



The Coalition Home | Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery | Coalition Briefs | Advocate for Mental Health | Policy Positions
Professional Learning Center | Member Agencies | Jobs | Calendar | Links

About Us | Site Index | Contact Us | Donate

If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, or if you would prefer to receive Briefs via fax,
please reply to this e-mail. Comments and suggestions may be directed to mpolenberg@coalitionny.org

90 Broad Street, 8th floor, New York, NY 10004
Tel: (212) 742-1600     Fax: (212) 742-2080