An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Mental Health in New York
March 25, 2008
Coalition Testifies on Mayor’s FY 2009 Preliminary Budget
Coalition members and The Coalition testified on budget priorities before the March 11 City Council hearing. Held as a joint hearing of the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services, the City Council focused on the Mayor’s preliminary budget.
Executive Director, Phillip Saperia urged the City Council to restore “funding to a range of community-based behavioral health programs throughout the City,” that were not baselined by the Mayor, but which provide critical care to New Yorkers living with behavioral health disorders. This is an annual ritual. Most years, the Council restores the funds to these worthy programs.
The Coalition also sought restoration of funding for its Professional Learning Center that provides “hands-on” technical assistance and training to community agencies on important financial and regulatory issues that affect them and their consumers, and on Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment training for providers serving individuals with mental health and substance abuse problems. Saperia’s testimony also offered support for a refunding of the City Council’s successful initiatives in geriatric mental health care and care for children under five.
Supporting the Coalition’s thrust, many community based providers testified about the impact of their Council-funded programs and services and they made differences in the lives of New Yorkers.
Chairman Oliver Koppel sharply questioned Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials on their slow progress in getting City contracts to agencies to support Council initiatives and other vital services.
Award Recipients of Distinction
June 12 marks the date of The Coalition’s Annual Awards Reception. Receiving the coveted Leadership Awards this year are Deborah Bachrach, Deputy Commissioner of DOH Office of Insurance Programs and NYS Medicaid Director; Petros Levounis, M.D., Director, and The Addiction Institute of New York; and Alvin H. Perlmutter, distinguished film producer and Director of the Independent Production Fund. Long time supporter, colleague and Coalition Board member, Gayle DeReinzis, will be presented with Coalition’s Founder’s Award. The annual Awards Reception will be held at Pfizer World headquarters, 5:00 to 8:00 PM.
Governor Paterson Proposes Budget Cuts
Without many specifics, the new Governor proposed a cut of an additional $800 million in spending next year. It would be taken as an “across the board” two percent cut for all state departments and agencies as well as a two percent cut to local assistance, except for entitlement programs for health, public assistance and education. The cut is proposed in the context of forecasts for vastly declining revenues and a deteriorating economic climate. The Governor exhorted the government to emulate the “thousands of New York families facing difficult financial circumstances,” and “live within our means.”
The Coalition will remain watchful and promote the concerns and interests of its members and their constituents.
Center Seminar: Youth with History of Domestic Violence
“Working with Youth with a History of Domestic Violence,” is the topic of the Coalition’s free seminar for providers of behavioral health services on March 28, 2008. The seminar will focus on the effects of domestic violence on adolescents and young adults who may have been witnesses or victims to that violence. Participants will discuss possible consequences such as gang involvement, traumatic reactions, replicating abuse situations, low self-esteem, and isolation.
Participants will be exposed to best practices for helping young people gain insight and cope with domestic violence. Register at: http://www.coalitionny.org/ccrr/seminars/registration/registration.php?series_id=1010
Coalition Honored by National Council
The Coalition will receive the 2008 Grassroots Advocacy Award from the National Council of Behavioral Healthcare at its 38th annual conference in Boston on May 2, 2008. The award will be presented to Coalition leaders at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in the company of the event’s Honorary Chair, Christopher Kennedy Lawford.
Chosen from among many applicants, The Coalition is honored to receive this award for its work on Article 31 clinic rate methodology reform and our potent advocacy on this issue in New York State.
AARP Honors F·E·G·S
F·E·G·S has been named AARP Foundation’s first nationally certified WorkSearch Center. In the context of a population that is living longer and healthier, the purpose of the Center is to help older workers prepare for and find new employment opportunities. The Coalition congratulates is F·E·G·S Health and Human Services System on this groundbreaking project.
House Passes Historic Parity Bill
In a significant vote, the U.S. house of Representatives has passed the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, signifying a historic day for people who live with psychiatric and addictive disorders. This bill would end discrimination in insurance policies that typically offer greater benefits for primary care than for behavioral healthcare. It would require parity in coverage. Approved by a vote of 268-148, the new bill will offer a strong voice in the Conference Committee deliberations with the U.S. Senate whose Senator Kennedy has championed his own similar bill. The Coalition has been working with our national and State colleagues to support mental health parity on the federal level that will enhance and not diminish our own NYS Timothy’s Law.
Center’s “Working on Recovery” Program Sites
We are happy to announce that Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services’ Continuing Day Treatment Programs, the Institute for Community Living’s (ICL) TAP program, F.E.G.S. Riveredge Community House, Gateway Counseling Center, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center Continuing Day Treatment Program, and the William F. Ryan Community Health Center’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic have chosen to participate in the Center’s Working on Recovery initiative, a new approach to meeting the workplace learning and organizational development needs of New York City’s mental health provider community. Working on Recovery involves in-depth agency commitment and a significant investment of time and staff resources.
Co-Occurring Disorders Conference Scheduled for May 14, 15 and 16
“Partners for Recovery: People First,” a second annual conference on co-occurring psychiatric and addictive disorders will be held in Albany on May 14, 15 and 16. Co-sponsored by Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of NYS (ASAP), the NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, the NYS Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NYSCCBH) and The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies,
Featured speakers to date include Commissioners Hogan and Carpenter-Palumbo; Deputy Commissioner Deborah Bachrach; and Dr. Petros Levounis, Director of the Addictions Institute. Sessions will be held on cultural competence in all its forms. Also featured will be issues of harm reduction, addictions and brain injury, and speakers on federal public policy trends and national election campaign positions. Many other leading experts have been invited. Stay tuned for more details and registration information.
OASAS Goes Smokeless
On March 12, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) published a proposed rule on “Tobacco Free Policy for all Certified or Funded Providers,” The rule would prohibit tobacco use in or on the grounds of any certified or funded provider of chemical dependency services. This rule will affect many Coalition providers, among others.
The new regulations would prohibit use of all tobacco products in facilities, grounds and in vehicles. It prohibits patients, family members and all visitors from bringing tobacco and smoking paraphernalia on program grounds. Controversially, the regulations would prohibit staff from using tobacco products while at work and during work hours. It would make available education and treatment on smoking and prevention.
OASAS officials promote the regulation to “reduce addiction, illness and death caused by tobacco products; to provide a healthy environment for staff, patients, volunteers and visitors” to programs.
Effective July 24, the rules are published at http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2008/mar12/pdfs/rules.pdf.
The Coalition encourages providers and other interested parties to review the proposed rule and send comments to OASAS, which will be accepted until May 13, 2008. Direct all comments to Patricia Flaherty, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, 1450 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203-3526. Questions regarding the rule can also be directed to Ms. Flaherty at 518-485-2317 or by email at Patricia_Flaherty@oasas.state.ny.us.
Protect Medicaid—Write Your Member of Congress
Congressmen John Dingell (D-MI) and Timothy Murphy (R-PA) have introduced The Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008 (H.R. 5613) to delay implementing new CMS regulations that will restrict and reduce recipient’s access to rehabilitative services, case management, school-based transportation and outreach services, graduate medical education payments and hospital clinic services. The Coalition has joined scores of Governors, elected officials, families, providers, consumers and advocates in opposing these changes to federal regulations. The Bush administration has ignored all entreaties, despite the negative impact on both providers and consumers.
H.R. 5613 will delay implementation of these regulations until April 9, 2009, when another administration will be in power and possible be open to other more sensible approaches.
Contact your Member of Congress today to urge him or her to co-sponsor the Dingell-Murphy legislation, imposing a moratorium on all seven harmful Medicaid regulations. Please act before April 1. To find your Congressperson’s home office, go to www.congress.org or go to www.coalitionny.org and click on “Advocate for Mental Health”.
Affordable Housing Advocacy
The Coalition has joined over 100 advocacy and housing groups in New York State to urge the legislature to establish and allocate dollars to the Housing Opportunity Fund. The fund of $400 million would strengthen neighborhoods and provide decent homes for poor and disabled New Yorkers.
Center Presents: Comprehensive Benefits Trainings
The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery will be presenting a Comprehensive Benefits Training on April 15th -17th, 2008, from 9:30am - 4:30pm at The Coalition’s conference room, 90 Broad Street, 8th floor.
Ed Lopez, Esq, will present this three day intensive training designed for direct service staff whose positions require expertise in benefits counseling.
Participants will learn how to utilize the Social Security Administration’s work incentive provisions to help consumers achieve their employment goals. Our expert trainer will discuss how recent legislative changes may affect consumers. Participants will have an opportunity to apply newly acquired systems knowledge through in-depth case studies.
Fee for the training is $100. To register, please click here: REGISTER NOW » or visit the Center’s webpage at www.coalitionny.org/ccrr. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register yourself or your staff as soon as possible. (All Center trainings qualify for credit hours toward the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) credential.)
Professional Learning Center Presents Renowned Expert on Medicaid and Medicare
Derek Jansen, a nationally known consultant, and a member of the American Association of Professional Coders, the Medical Billing Association of America, and the Healthcare Financial Management Association will be at The Coalition from April 7th through April 9th to present on a variety of different topics related to the billing and proper documentation of Medicaid and Medicare.
Please visit the Coalition’s website www.coalitionny.org to register for these free seminars through our Professional Learning Center.
Coalition Job Boards
Coalition Members advertise staff positions for free on The Coalition’s Job Board! Here's a sample: