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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 28, 2007


New York City Council Prepares To Designate Mental Hygiene Initiative Funding

Although the Mayor and the New York City Council agreed to a $59 billion budget back in June for the fiscal year beginning July 1 (Fiscal 2008), the Council has yet to designate funding associated with several of its mental hygiene initiatives, including: the $2.7 million Geriatric Mental Health Initiative; the $1.6 million Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative; and the $1.5 million Autism Spectrum Disorders Initiative.  The Council is expected to finalize their designation lists and submit them to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the contracting agency for these initiatives, sometime over the next few weeks. Providers, particularly those who received Council funding through some of these initiatives in past years, and who have been inquiring whether their funding will be renewed for the current year, should continue to sit tight until the designation process has been completed.

While the Coalition is grateful to the Council (including Speaker Christine Quinn and Mental Health Committee Chair Oliver Koppell) for allocating resources towards these initiatives, we remain concerned that the designations for the current year have not yet been made.  We look forward to working with our colleagues at the Council to ensure that a more timely process can be put into place in future years. 


Deficit Reduction Act Compliance

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 requires that health care entities which receive or make at least $5 million from Medicaid payments during a federal fiscal year must establish written policies and procedures informing and educating their employees, contractors and agents about the federal and state false claim acts and whistleblower protections.  The New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General requires that these health care entities certify that they have complied with the employee education requirements by October 1, 2007 and each year thereafter by January 1.  The July issue of Medicaid Updates has more details and a link to the OMIG certification.

The Coalition has a DRA Compliance Toolkit available for purchase which includes several policy and procedure templates, language for employee manual, employee training slides and letter for contractors.  For more information about the DRA Toolkit and purchase information please go to our website http://www.coalitionny.org/store/packet.php.


Center Presents Benefits Training Across NYC

The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery is pleased to present the following training:

Introduction to Benefits Management*

A half-day training offered in various locations across the city designed for clinicians and other staff new to benefits. This training will help staff understand the fundamentals of the Social Security System, comprehend the difference between SSI, SSDI, Medicaid and Medicare, and gain knowledge of resources that support consumers in their living and working goals.

  • Thursday, October 4th – AIDS Center of Queens County, 1 – 4pm (sold out)
  • Thursday, October 11th – Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, 1 – 4pm
  • Friday, October 26th – Howie T. Harp Peer Advocacy Center, 1 – 4pm  (sold out)
  • Thursday, November 1st – The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, 1 – 4pm

To register for this free training, please visit the Center’s webpage at www.coalitionny.org/the_center. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register yourself or your staff as soon as possible.

*All Center trainings can be used toward CPRP credentialing.



Project Renewal Wins Grant to Bolster Services For Formerly Homeless

Project Renewal won a five-year federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide intensive case management services to formerly homeless individuals living in HUD-funded apartments who are at high risk of relapsing into substance abuse.  Project Renewal is one of only nine providers across the country -- and one of only two providers in NYC -- to receive this grant, which will provide just under $427,000 in the first year. Project Renewal is a member agency of the Coalition.   

“SAMHSA’s support will allow us to house chronically homeless men and women who have been shut out of traditional residential programs because they cannot achieve the sobriety requirements necessary for admission,” said Stephanie Cowles, Project Renewal’s Associate Director for addiction programs.



Medicare Part D Enrollment Period – Year 3

Monday, October 1, 2007 heralds the start of the annual Medicare Part D enrollment period.  On October 1 Medicare Advantage (HMO type plans) and Prescription Drug Plans can begin their marketing campaigns to lure beneficiaries into signing up with their plans.  The actual enrollment period begins November 15 and ends December 31. 

The Medicare Part D Cost Share for 2008:

Annual Deductible                $ 275

Initial Coverage Limit            $2,510 (25% of which is out of pocket)

Donut hole                          $3,147 (100% out of pocket)

Out of pocket threshold        $4,050

Minimum Co-pay                 $2.25 for generic, $5.60 brand name

Full Benefit Dual Co-pay       $1.05 generic, $3.10 brand name (no copay once out of pocket threshold is met)

Low-income premium subsidy for NY is $24.18.

This year is the first year that late enrollment penalties (LEP) will be collected.   Penalties will be 1% of the national monthly premium for each full month the person was eligible, but not enrolled.  The national average for 2007 is $27.32, so approximately $0.27 would be added for each month the person was not enrolled and eligible for the benefit.   Some people are exempt from the LEP:  those who had creditable coverage and people who qualified for the Extra Help Subsidy in 2006 & 2007.


Second Annual Art Exhibition

The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Office of Consumer Affairs presents its second Annual Art Exhibition featuring consumer artwork from: Community Access, Center for Urban Community Services, Project Renewal, Services for the Underserved and other agencies.

There will be an opening reception on Thursday, October 11, 2007 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at the Office of Consumer Affairs, 93 Worth Street, Room 1205, located between Church Street & Broadway.  Refreshments are being served.  For more information phone (212) 219-5393.


Conference on Assessment & Treatment of Compulsive Gambling Among Asian Americans

The Asian Mental Health Coalition and Hamilton-Madison House is sponsoring a conference on Assessment & Treatment of Compulsive Gambling Among Asian Americans on Friday October 26, 2007 in the Schwartz Lecture Hall E at New York University School of Medicine located at 550 First Avenue in Manhattan.  

The conference objectives include

  • Enhance awareness of the pervasiveness and severity of problematic gambling in the Asian American community in the Greater NYC Metropolitan Area
  • Increase understanding and knowledge base of professionals concerning the causes and impact of problematic gambling
  • Enhance skills in treating individual gamblers and working with their significant others
  • Heighten sensitivity, early detection, and prevention of such compulsions, especially among young Asians
  • Provide tools and resources helpful to Asian Americans afflicted with compulsive gambling and addiction.

Please see the program for more information and how to register.


Around the water cooler…

Barbara Cohn Named Executive Deputy Commissioner for Family Services at DHS

Barbara Cohn, the former Executive Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Office of Mental Health, has just been named Executive Deputy Commissioner for Family Services for the New York City Department of Homeless Services.  In her new role, she will oversee the agency’s entire portfolio of shelters and programs for homeless families, and will play a key role in helping to move toward the goal of reducing homelessness by two-thirds by 2009.  Having worked closely with Ms. Cohn during her tenure in Albany, the Coalition welcomes her to this new challenge here in New York City.

David Pristin Named New Policy Director at the New York City Council

David Pristin is the new Director of Policy & Investigations for the New York City Council.  Mr. Pristin has been with the City Council for 4 years, most recently as a Special Assistant to Speaker Christine Quinn working on a wide range of health and education issues, including expansion of primary care in underserved neighborhoods and the expansion of Pre-K for youngsters.  Prior to that, he was the policy analyst for the Council’s Health Committee.  The Coalition welcomes Mr. Pristin to his new position and looks forward to working with him and his colleagues at the New York City Council on issues of importance to the community behavioral health sector.

Cris Parque Named New Executive Director at Homeless Services United

After a long search, Cris Parque will be the new Executive Director of Homeless Services United (HSU), the trade association of New York City’s adult and family shelter providers.  Ms. Parque was formerly the Associate and Organizing Director of Friends and Relatives of the Institutionalized Aged, and Program Director of First Church Shelter of Cambridge in Massachusetts.   She brings over ten years of organizing and policy development experience to her new job.  The Coalition has collaborated with HSU over the years on a range of issues, and looks forward to working with Ms. Parque in the years ahead.


Coalition Job Boards

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

Job #  Job Title
3058 Supportive Case Manager


3042 Vocational Counselor/Evaluator

Bilingual Case Manager


Administrative Assistant

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



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