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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
June 12, 2007


Coalition Celebrating 35th Anniversary

Tickets are still available for the best party of the year!  The Coalition's 35th Anniversary and 23rd Awards Reception will be held on Thursday, June 14th 5-8pm at Pfizer World Headquarters, 235 East 42nd Street.

This year we are very pleased to honor Alfred P. Miller, Chief Executive Officer,  FEGS; Katharine Noel, Author of Halfway House; Honorable Edolphus Towns, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives; and Elaine Rivera, Reporter, WNYC Radio.

Tickets are easily purchased online.  This year's event includes a special raffle drawing with fabulous prizes including a trip to LA, a night on the town with dinner and theater, spas, Dim Sum party for 15, dinners, and more.  Check our website for all the details.


City Budget Update

The New York City Council and the Mayor are in the final weeks of deliberation about their funding priorities for the Fiscal 2008 Budget, and the Coalition is maintaining its yearly presence on the steps of City Hall to ensure that funding for behavioral health programs is once again included in the final negotiations.  In addition to advocating for the restoration of vital mental health and substance abuse prevention programs, the Coalition is asking the City Council for modest enhancements to two innovative and successful Council programs – the “Geriatric Mental Health Initiative” and the “Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative.”  Combined, these initiatives have directed over $3 million in City funding to help community-based providers reach out to underserved populations in a variety of settings.  By law, a budget agreement must be reached no later than the end of June.


Appel Named Director of OMH NYC Field Office

Anita Appel has been named Director of the OMH NYC Field Office, where she had served as “Acting Director” since the retirement of Joe Lazar in February 2006.  Anita has been with OMH for 26 years and at the Field Office since 1983.  She was named Director of Children’s Services in 1989, and became Deputy Director in 1995.

Anita’s tenure at OMH has been marked by her continuous efforts to expand the availability of services for children and adolescents.  Historically, the service options for this population were rather limited and primarily consisted of in-patient settings such as hospitals and residential treatment facilities.  Due in part to Anita’s vision and advocacy, there are now many more available service options for young people with mental health disorders, including family-based treatment, case management, home and community-based waivers, and home based crisis intervention.

The Coalition has worked closely with Anita for many years, and looks forward to continuing this collaborative relationship with her in her new role.  Congratulations, Anita!


Felix Ortiz New Chair of the Assembly Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Committee

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver named Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) to be the new Chair of the Assembly’s Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Committee.  Ortiz replaces long-time Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), who will now chair the Assembly’s Aging Committee.

The Coalition looks forward to working with the new Chair on a number of pressing issues, including those related to workforce retention, reinvesting State resources into detoxification settings with successful outcome measures, and breaking down barriers for integrated treatment for consumers with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.  We also offer our sincere gratitude to Chairman Dinowitz for his deep interest and substantive oversight in alcoholism and substance abuse issues over the years.


DOHMH’s Josh Rubin Moving On

Josh Rubin, Assistant Commissioner at the Division of Mental Hygiene and former policy analyst at the Coalition, is leaving after nearly five years at the agency.  Beginning this summer, Josh will be a Senior Management Fellow at the YAI National Institute for People with Disabilities Network, working on strategic planning and special projects.  His last day at DOMHM will be June 22.

During his tenure at DOHMH, Josh has been involved in many of the major initiatives involving the agency, including the historic NY/NY III Supportive Housing Agreement, the Managed Addiction Treatment Services, Quality IMPACT, the restructuring of homeless outreach, Families as Partners, depression screening initiatives in primary care settings, and many others.

“The City has been fortunate to have someone of Josh’s intellect and insightfulness playing such a key role in the delivery of mental hygiene services,” said Phillip Saperia, Executive Director of the Coalition.  “We know that Josh will bring the same level of energy and dedication to his new role at YAI that he demonstrated at DOHMH and here at the Coalition.”

Josh received his BA from the University of Chicago and his MPP from the Kennedy School of Government.


Coalition Seeks Mental Health Housing Reform Dialogue with OMH

In response to a May 8th policy brief from OMH on mental health housing, the Coalition stated that it is eager to engage the State in a dialogue regarding the reform of existing housing models and funding constructs.  The Coalition’s letter to OMH Senior Deputy Commissioner Bob Myers notes that service delivery should be driven by the needs and expressed preferences of the person being served, not strictly linked to the apartment or residence where they are housed.

We’re very excited at the possibility of a meaningful discussion of reform, particularly since many of the existing housing models are more than twenty years old.  Providers who operate these units struggle to offer nurturing, stabilizing and recovery-based care while abiding by rigid funding and regulatory constraints.


Mental Health Community Mourns Loss of OMH Budget Official

The Coalition was saddened to learn of the passing of Richard Tenenini, a key budget official in OMH’s Finance Department who oversaw the funding of community mental health programs.  We relied heavily on Rick’s vast knowledge of OMH budget details over the years, and always found him eager to help us understand complex funding mechanisms that enabled programs to provide care to those who needed it the most.  The Coalition extends our deepest sympathy to his wife Kelly Haskin-Tenenini, and his entire family.


Update on OMIG Audits for Commercial Insurance Crossover Claims

In February, The New York State Department of Health (DOH) implemented new payment processing logic for commercial insurance crossover claims to Medicaid.  As a result of this new payment process, 255 healthcare providers across the state received recovery letters from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) totaling $10,578,105.

In response to numerous complaints from providers and stakeholder groups, including the Coalition, DOH and OMIG have suspended all recovery efforts until the issues have been resolved.  While no final decisions have been made, DOH and OMIG have both agreed that providers who do not have contracts with commercial insurance carriers are not subject to this new payment logic.  Since OMIG doesn’t know who these providers are, they have agreed to review all claims on a case by case basis.  If you are one of these providers, please document each of your claims and return them to the OMIG.  The OMIG will immediately close out those claims and no further action will be taken.


Some OMH providers have already had dollars recouped as a result of the retroactive OMH rate changes processed a few months ago.  DOH is aware of this and is looking at how to resolve this problem.  If you have any questions or concerns about these issues, please contact Karyn Krampitz at kkrampitz@coalitionny.org or 212-741-1600 x103.


Clinical Advisory On The Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Medications In Children and Adolescents Posted to OMH Website

The New York State Office of Mental Health recently posted a clinical advisory and a “dear family members and healthcare providers letter” on the treatment of children and adolescents with second generation antipsychotic (SGA) medications. The advisory is based on a review of current guidelines and literature regarding SGA use in children and adolescents and is meant to support careful and thorough clinical assessment, treatment planning and ongoing monitoring of care.

Clinical Advisory: http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/sga_advisory/Advisory.html

Letter to Family Members and Healthcare Providers: http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/sga_advisory/cover_ltr.html


Coalition Moderates Panel on HUD McKinney-Vento Funding at Supportive Housing Network Conference

At the Supportive Housing Network’s 7th Annual Conference held on June 7th, the Coalition’s Michael Polenberg, Director of Policy & Advocacy, moderated a panel discussion about how communities outside of New York make creative use of limited HUD McKinney-Vento funding for homeless housing.  Entitled “Managing Today’s Continuum of Care,” the panel discussion featured Mark Johnston, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Special Needs Programs at HUD, as well as Continuum of Care providers from Boston and Chicago.  Both of those localities have chosen to cut existing transitional programs, and in some cases close programs altogether, in order to fund new units of permanent housing.



Youth Initiative Work Group on Criminal Justice Issues

The Center’s Youth Initiative Work Group convened on May 30th to devote its attention to Youth Involvement with the Criminal Justice System, High Risk Behavior, and Gang Prevention.  This particular theme attracted the highest level of stakeholder participation - 43 attendees - as it has become increasingly urgent to change the trend of criminalization of youth with emotional disturbance in New York City.  Three guest speakers brought their crucial knowledge of systems and clinical issues to the table: Felix Castro, Peer Educator and Outreach Specialist at ICD’s YES program, Beth Navon, Executive Director of Friends of Island Academy, and Gerald Landsberg, Professor of Forensic Mental Health and Policy at New York University’s School of Social Work and Director of the Institute Against Violence. 

A conversation ensued as to how to best reach young people involved with the criminal justice system, implementing specific needs assessments and related advocacy efforts, as well as addressing the lack of coordination between mental health, education, ACS, and criminal justice systems in order to better help this population who desperately need to break out of the cycle of recidivism to lead healthier lives.  The next meeting of the Work Group (Wednesday June 20th, 9:30-11:30 am at the Coalition's offices.) will focus on transition services for youth with serious emotional disturbance within the adult system.  For more information contact Amy Smiley, asmiley@coaltionny.org or Alysia Pascaris, apascaris@coalition.org .  RSVPs can be sent to Deborah Short at dshort@coalitionny.org  


AccuMed Software for Behavioral Health - Demonstration

The Coalition will be hosting a demonstration of Accumedic's AccuMed Software for Behavioral Health on June 26, 2007 from 9:30 am - noon.  Registration and a light breakfast begin at 9:00 am.

Accumedic has been working with the NY behavioral health community for three decades, and has helped hundreds of NYS providers adapt to more efficient, paperless environment. AccuMed includes: Electronic Billing, Online Eligibility Verification, Scheduling, Automatic Remittance Posting, Claim "Scrubber", Customized Reports, Appointment Reminder, & more.

Please register on-line at http://www.coalitionny.org/prof_learn_ctr/AccuMed_demo/index.html.

We are grateful for Accumedic's support of our 35th Anniversary and 23rd Annual Awards Reception.


NYC DOHMH to Discuss the Future of Family Support Services at Borough Based Council Meetings

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is scheduled to attend CCSI’s Tier II Borough Based Council (BBC) meetings in June and July.  During these meetings the department will discuss with families/parent advocates certain issues regarding the proposed restructuring of family support services. Listed below are the five BBC meetings and the times and locations of each meeting. The Coalition STRONGLY encourages interested parties to attend.  No RSVP required.

Bronx Borough Based Council

Monday, June 18, 2007 from 10AM – 12PM at:

FRIENDS, 489-493 E. 153rd Street, between 3rd & Bergen Ave., 2nd fl., Bronx, NY 10455

Contact: Marilyn Farmer, NYC Dept. of Juvenile Justice

Manhattan Borough Based Council                         

Thursday, June 21, 2007 from 9:30AM – 11:30AM at:

NYS Office of Mental Health, 330 5th Ave., 9th fl., NY, NY, 10001

Contact: Janet Johnson, Postgraduate Center for Mental Health

Queens Borough Based Council

Monday, June 25, 2007 from 9:30AM – 11:30AM at:

Dept. of Education - Region 3 office 90-27 Sutphin Blvd, Room 133., Queens, NY 11435  

Contact: Anthony Liotta, Queens Children’s Psychiatric Center

Staten Island Borough Based Council

Monday, July 2, 2007 from 10AM – 12PM at:

Seamen’s Society for Children & Families, 50 Bay St., 9th fl., Staten Island, NY 10301

Contact: Deborah Miller, Jewish Board of Family & Children Services  


Brooklyn Borough Based Council                                         

Friday, July 13, 2007 from 10AM – 12PM, at:

Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, 350 Jay St., 19th fl., Brooklyn, NY 11201

Contact: Robert Cizma, Jewish Child Care Association     


The WORKbook, 2nd Edition - Released this week!

The 2nd Edition of the WORKbook, a Guide to New York City’s Mental Health Employment Programs, is now available. The WORKbook is designed for consumers, providers and other stakeholders who are looking for in-depth knowledge about the range of employment services funded to address the needs of consumers of mental health services. Originally released in 2002, the WORKbook is a comprehensive inventory of 106 discrete programs, across the 5 boroughs, offering a range of services and job types. Much appreciation and thanks go to all of the New York City providers who assisted Center staff in ensuring that programmatic information is both current and accurate. The Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery will begin mailing out books this week. Details on how to order additional copies of the WORKbook will be available soon.


Coalition Backs Direct Deposit of Social Security Payments with Go Direct®

The Coalition is pleased to announce our partnership with Go Direct, a national campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Banks that encourages individuals or their caregivers to take the simple step of switching to direct deposit for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

Millions of Americans with disabilities receive federal benefits either directly or through a caregiver, such as a parent or other relative. In many cases, these payments come in the form of paper checks, which places them at risk of fraud and identity theft.

In 2006, more than 57,000 Treasury-issued checks – totaling an estimated $54 million – were stolen or forged.  By switching to direct deposit, individuals eliminate their risk of lost or stolen checks and help protect themselves from financial crimes.  Direct deposit is also convenient, since the money is automatically placed in the account on payment day.

Individuals who are interested in signing up with Go Direct should call the toll-free helpline (800) 333-1795 or sign up online at www.GoDirect.org


Rademacher Appointed Intergovernmental Affairs Director at OMH


Leesa Rademacher has been appointed Director of Intergovernmental Affairs by Commissioner Michael Hogan, a post she held from 1995-2004.  Ms. Rademacher has a great deal of experience with mental health issues, having spent several years working for the State Senate’s Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Committee, where she contributed to the passage of the historic Community Reinvestment Act. 


Kellner Fills Vacant Upper East Side Assembly Seat

Democrat Micah Kellner, an aide to City Comptroller William Thompson, won a special election on June 5th for the State Assembly seat vacated by Alexander “Pete” Grannis who had been appointed to a cabinet position by Governor Eliot Spitzer.  Mr. Kellner defeated Gregory Camp, the Republican candidate and a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.  The Coalition congratulates Mr. Kellner and looks forward to working with him and his staff on issues of importance to the community behavioral health sector.


Coalition Job Boards

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

Job #  Job Title
2779 Assistant Program Director for ACT Team

Director of Mental Health

2766 Peer Specialist

Transition Specialist


Training Specialist

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

Child Psychiatrist - Part Time



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