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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
August 19, 2008


Governor Paterson Proposes $2.6 Million Cuts for Special Legislative Session Today

The Coalition is carefully following budget negotiations in Albany and working with State officials to protect behavioral health funding as they work to close a $6.4 billion budget gap in 2008-09. The Legislature is meeting today in an emergency economic session to discuss Governor Paterson’s proposed $2.6 billion spending cuts. The Governor recommends budget reductions in the following areas:

  • Local Assistance Spending: A 6% reduction to all unspent local assistance funds except for school aid, welfare, Medicaid, child welfare, youth detention and special education are eligible for reduction. Funding for COLA and clinic restructuring would not be effected by this cut. Proposed Savings: $250 million in 2008-09; $420 million in 2009-10).
  • Executive and Legislative Programs/Member Items: A 50% reduction to new and enhanced programs and initiatives that were proposed by the Governor or Legislature in the 2008-09 State budget, and individual member items that get allocated to specific organizations. These types of cuts could include mental health housing. Proposed Savings: $232 million in 2008-09; $56 million in 2009-10)
  • Medicaid/Health Reductions: Cuts to contain the growth of Medicaid costs for pharmacy reimbursements, hospitals, insurance companies, nursing homes and home care programs. This applies mostly to large institutions. Proposed Savings: $506 million in 2008-09; $1 billion in 2009-10)
  • CUNY Funding: A 7% reduction to place CUNY funding in parity with cuts applied to SUNY on July 31. Proposed Savings: $51 million in 2008-09; $51 million in 2009-10.


DOHMH Forestalls State Aid Cuts for NYC Providers

The Coalition is very pleased with a recent announcement by DOHMH to protect providers from over $1 million in cuts to State Aid for City Fiscal Year 2009 (made in the last round of State budget cuts... they may not be able to protect us from expected new round of cuts). We greatly appreciate the efforts of Dr. David A. Rosin, Trish Marsik and their staff in closely examining the Department’s budget and using City funding to head off reductions in service dollars from State Aid cuts. In the present economic environment, this is a laudable achievement. The Coalition will continue to work diligently with DOHMH leadership in the next few months as potential new cuts in State Aid emerge.


Coalition Continues Push for Change in Social Work License Issues

On August 4, 2008, The Coalition attended a briefing of key stakeholders on changes to professional license provisions including social work. The meeting was held by the Office of Professions at the State Education Building in Albany, NY to discuss the unintended consequences associated with amendments to Title VIII of the Education Law.

In 2002 the Law was amended to restrict the practice of psychology establishing the new professions of licensed master social worker and licensed clinical social worker. At the meeting, imminent matters were discussed including The Coalition’s apprehensions about the exemptions scheduled to expire on January 1, 2010 for certain unlicensed individuals practicing social work and experience requirements for licensure.

The Coalition has actively promoted ideas to make the law more flexible in ways that will be beneficial to nonprofit agencies and its valued workforce. We will resume efforts to make the case to our lawmakers about the troublesome consequences that will emerge if the 2010 exemption expires without change.


Coalition Takes Action on Upper Payment Limit Provisions in CMS Rule

The Coalition in concert with national and local advocates, has urged Congress to place a moratorium on the CMS rule on “Hospital Outpatient and Community Clinic Services.”  Comments to CMS were submitted by The Coalition seeking the withdrawal of the proposed rule in 2007. In addition, letters were written to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of HHS, and the NY Congressional Delegation, regarding the impact of the rule on New York’s health care delivery system.  In our correspondence, we urged officials to support future legislation that would place a moratorium on the rule.

The Coalition is deeply concerned about the rule’s impact on outpatient and ambulatory care services in New York State. It will limit Medicaid reimbursement for hospital outpatient services to those only eligible for Medicare reimbursement. This would cause many services provided by community-based behavioral health agencies to be non-reimbursable, including day treatment, intensive psychiatric rehabilitation and methadone programs. Recent analysis conducted by Governor Paterson’s office has shown that community-based providers, including behavioral health clinics, are at risk of losing over $350 million in Federal Medicaid dollars.

The rule would also change the formula used to determine the maximum amount Medicaid will pay for community clinic services. Moreover, it will impede Governor Paterson’s health system reform agenda, which seeks to assure timely access to effective ambulatory care services and reduce unnecessary and expensive hospitalizations.  Please contact your Representative and ask them to support legislation that would place a moratorium on this rule. You may access the names of your delegates by going to this Coalition sponsored site.


DOHMH Releases Family Support Network Concept Paper

The Coalition has been working with DOHMH over the past year on the restructuring of Family Support Services in New York City.  Recently DOHMH released a revised concept paper called “Family Support Network.” Although we appreciate the Department’s efforts to involve community stakeholders in this process, we feel that the paper does not reflect the recommendations put forth by DOHMH’s stakeholder workgroup. The Coalition will continue to advance its message with Department leadership.

The new structure and services proposed will replace the Department’s existing Family Support Service programs and Parent Resource Center’s (PRC’s). DOHMH intends to develop a transition plan to help families and youth move from current family support programs to the future programs. DOHMH will award a “Family Resource Center” (FRCs) contract in each borough, with the expectation that multiple satellite sites will be developed, and a “Family Support Liaison Center” (FSLCs), which is intended to provide a variety of citywide services. Agencies may submit proposals to operate either an FRC or the FSLC, not both.

The RFP is expected to be released in October 2008. DOHMH anticipates total funding for the Family Resource Centers (FRCs) to be $3,735,234; $285,000 is expected to be available for the Family Support Liaison Center (FSLC). The Family Support concept paper can be downloaded by going to http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/acco/2008/acco-concept-mh-200807.pdf.


City Council Adopted Expense Budget Restorations and Enhancements for Mental Health Services

The Coalition worked closely with City Council officials and staff to secure approximately $5.6 million in funding for the Fiscal 2009 Adopted Expense Budget. We wish to thank the City Council Members and their staff for providing funding to the following Mental Health programs as many Coalition members receive these funds or are awarded contracts under these programs. Particular thanks are owed to Council Members G. Oliver Koppell, Annabel Palma, David Weprin and Speaker Christine Quinn.

  • Geriatric Mental Health Services: $2,400,000
  • Children-Under Five Initiatives: $1,637,000
  • Mental Health Contracts: $968,749
  • Alcoholism/Substance Abuse-Voluntary Sector: $572,000


Around The Water Cooler

Dr. Matthew Warner, formerly Director of Mental Health Services at Odyssey House, has joined St. Vincent Services as the Director of Behavioral Health Services.

Anne Zweiman, formerly the Director of Outpatient Services at Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, has joined the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in her new role as Director of Mental Health Treatment.

The Coalition members and staff wish a fond farewell to David Woodlock as he retires from OMH as Deputy Commissioner and Division Director.

We would like to congratulate Meggan Christman, a Coalition staff alumna and Special Assistant to Executive Deputy Commissioner of Mental Hygiene services at DOHMH, on her upcoming wedding on in late August. We wish her and fiancé the best of luck.


Demonstration of Integrated Electronic Clinic Record and Claim Submission Software Solutions

The Coalition invites you to a comprehensive demonstration of Integrated Software Solutions by Accumedic and DocuTrac for Behavioral Health scheduled for Friday, September 12, 2008 at 9:30am. This demonstration will include an overview of recently updated software and new features. Registration is required.


Accumedic & DocuTrac have more than 4 decades of combined experience serving the Behavioral Health Community. Their integrated solutions are adopted by many behavioral health agencies nationwide. AccuMed & QuicDoc cutting edge software solutions include:


  • Electronic Clinical Records
  • NY State OMH and OASAS Forms
  • Treatment Plans, Progress and Discharge Notes (Individual & Groups)
  • Outcome Measures and Assessment tools
  • Electronic Claim Submission Driven by Business Rules
  • Robust Scheduler and Consumer Appointment Reminder
  • Automatic Remittance Posting and Online Eligibility Verification
  • Custom financial, administrative, and clinical reports
  • Manage NY Medicaid Programs for Article 16, 28, and 31 (including PROS)

Accumedic and DocuTrac are committed to help The Coalition Member Agencies adapt to a more efficient paperless environment by providing the best possible value, excellent service, and innovative software solutions.


The Coalition Launches E-Learning Collaborative 

The Coalition is pleased to announce our partnership with Essential LearningThis collaboration enables Coalition members an opportunity to take discounted accredited online courses in the areas of behavioral health, developmental disabilities, substance abuse and child welfare.

Sign up for an online introduction to The Coalition’s e-learning page and Essential Learning’s Organizational Learning Management System:

When:                         Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 10am

To Register:                  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/160492574

Who should attend?       Executive Directors, Managers and HR


Save the Date – Coalition to Hold Conference on Changes to Medicaid System in New York State

On November 20, 2008 The Coalition will sponsor a conference, The Medicaid Crystal Ball: Behavioral Health Transformation in New York to discuss how Federal Medicaid policy trends will play out in New York State.


September is Recovery Month

The Coalition would like to spread the word about Recovery Month, an effort to promote treatment for alcohol and drug use disorder. More information can be obtained from SAMHSA’s recovery month website. In addition, the following events are being sponsored by OASAS in New York State as part of their Recovery Works Month:

  • 5th Annual Recovery Fine Arts Festival
  • Recovery Conference – September 14-15, 2008
  • Annual Addictions Professionals Day – September 15, 2008
  • Run for Recovery – September 16, 2008


SAMHSA Releases Toolkit for Community and Faith-Based Service Providers

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released “Sustaining Grassroots Community-Based Programs: A Toolkit for Community- and Faith-Based Service Providers.” The toolkit helps organizations develop a plan for long term sustainability by addressing the issues of time-limited grant and categorical funding. Organizations concerned about maintaining critical services, including those for people affected by substance abuse and mental health disorders after a funding period is over may find this to be a useful resource. Order Your Free Copy Now (SMA08-4340)


New Member Announcements

The Coalition is pleased to welcome the following organizations as new members. We look forward to their active involvement in our work.

The Guidance Center serves as a welcoming beacon within the Westchester community. They provide direction, comfort and professional support to children, adolescents and adults of all ages who are struggling with a broad range of behavioral health care needs.

Amy Gelles, Executive Director of The Guidance Center



Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization serving people with mental and physical disabilities, the unemployed, new immigrants, ex-offenders, mature workers and underserved youth. Goodwill’s diverse programs span New York City, Northern New Jersey, Long Island and upstate New York. Goodwill serves more than 110,000 people annually.

Rex Davidson, Executive Director of Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc.


Center Online Resource Directory for Transition Age Youth: Youth Advisory Board Now Being Recruited

As part of an ongoing Youth Initiative, The Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery is developing an online resource guide designed for transition age youth with mental health issues aged 16 to 25.  This web-based guide will provide comprehensive information on relevant resources, services, programs and supports across New York City.

The Center wishes to engage young consumers to incorporate a ‘youth voice” in the building of the website in a meaningful way. To that end, our Youth Advisory Board plans to inform all aspects of project design including website format, content, organization, and other key parameters.

If your agency or program serves youth with mental health issues aged 16 to 25, we would like for you to identify 2-3 youth ages 16-25 who might be interested and willing to contribute. If you have any questions please contact Marc Kutner at mkutner@coalitionny.org or 212-742-1600 x204. Also contact Marc if by September 8 if you have candidates in mind. Youth should also feel free to contact Marc directly.


The Center’s Youth Initiative Hosts Special Seminar: "The TIP Experience"

September 17th, 2008, 9:30--12:00

This seminar will feature the Transition to Independence Process (TIP)--an approach that has gained national recognition for its success in working with transition-age youth, ages 16-25 with emotional and behavioral issues. Model sites in NYC that have received training and technical assistance in this evidence-based practice will share information on the application of TIP in a variety of program settings serving older adolescents and young adults. The seminar will feature:

  • A brief overview of the TIP model;
  • presentations from program staff and youth emphasizing lessons learned from using the model
An interactive discussion between participants and presenters to allow for questions and comments. To register Click here.


State Ban on Smoking in Addiction Treatment Centers Causes Concern for Recovery

New regulations took effect on July 24, 2008 prohibiting smoking in all addiction treatment centers in New York State. Some facilities are worried that the new ruling will deter people who need help for drugs and alcohol from seeking treatment if they are not ready to quit smoking.

Facilities will develop their own plans on how to enforce the tobacco prohibition and when to enforce penalties on clients for noncompliance. They will also be granted a six month grace period by the State where failing to abide by the new tobacco regulation will not be a factor on certification renewal.


Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ New Contracting Opportunities 

On July 11, 2008, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration released a new guidance on Uniform Mental Health Services in VA Medical Centers and Clinics. By clicking this link, you can learn more about the minimum requirements for services provided by the VA medical centers as well as information on collaborations between the VA on and mental health and substance abuse service providers (see pages 13 and 27).


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
5219 Development Associate

Clinical Specialist of MICA Services

5213 Registered Nurse - ACT Team

Site Director


Social Worker

5200 Director, Teen Center



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