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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
January 22, 2009

Coalition Advocacy Day in Albany – February 3, 2009

The Coalition will be holding our annual Albany Advocacy Day on Tuesday, February 3, 2009. Members are joining for meetings with State legislative chairs of key committees that deal with mental health, substance abuse and health insurance policy. We will also be meeting with the new Chair of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, Senator Shirley Huntley of Queens on Monday, February 2, 2009.

The Coalition urges all members to meet with legislators from their districts to explain the impact of proposed budget cuts and regulatory changes on the officials’ constituents, providers and workforce in their communities. It is very important that you let your State representatives know of the consequences to your programs that will result from the financial crisis and State policies being developed to address it.

We will be sending out a detailed budget book outlining The Coalition’s advocacy agenda on revenue raising options, professional licensing issues, Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (SOMTA) reform, clinic rate restructuring, Continuing Day Treatment (CDT) program changes, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cuts and our continued support for designated medical uses from an increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). To participate or express inquiries please contact Jason Lippman at jlippman@coalitionny.org or 212-742-1600 x 102.


State Senator Shirley Huntley to Chair Mental Health Committee

The Coalition passes on hearty good wishes to Senator Shirley Huntley of Queens, on her appointment as the new Chair of Mental Health and Developmental Disability Committee. As ranking member on the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, Senator Huntley has experience collaborating with various state agencies that provide services to people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. According to a 2008 candidate questionnaire answered by Senator Huntley, she favors amending Timothy's Law to cover Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), creating a housing trust fund for persons with disabilities and requiring housing developers to set aside a certain percentage of accessible units for persons with disabilities. We look forward to developing a close relationship with Senator Huntley and wish her luck in her new position.


Federal Agenda for New President and Congress

Increase Medicaid Aid to States

The Coalition congratulates the nation’s 44th President, Barak Obama on his historic inauguration. Earlier this month, Obama announced his plans for economic recovery. In the next coming weeks, Congress will be considering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill. Included in the bill is $87 billion for a temporary increase to the Medicaid matching rate or Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). The bill authorizes a 4.9% FMAP increase from October 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010, with additional increases tied to states with higher unemployment rates. The Coalition and other mental health organizations  have advocated hard for an FMAP increase. We were in the good company of Governor David Paterson, who formally wrote President Obama on the overall stimulus package recommendations and whose DC staff has been diligently pressing for the increase.

Extend Moratorium on CMS Regulations

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill also includes an extension of the moratorium on 6 CMS Medicaid regulations through June 30, 2009. The Coalition will be advocating for the CMS Outpatient Hospital Regulation to be included in the moratorium and for the administration to ultimately withdraw all seven rules. We will keep you updated on the Federal stimulus plan as it evolves, particularly its impact on community-based behavioral health policy.

Reauthorize State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

On January 14, 2009, the Senate Finance Committee passed a bill that would expand the State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover an additional 4 million uninsured children. The vote came one day after the House passed The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (H.R.2). The legislation now moves to the full Senate for approval. H.R. 2 would provide $32.2 billion over four and a half years, bringing the total number of children with SCHIP coverage to 11 million. The reauthorization would be financed primarily by an increase in the federal tax on cigarettes by 61 cents, to $1 per pack. The SCHIP legislation is expected to be signed by President Obama next week.


Coalition in the News

In the January 2009 edition of New York Nonprofit Press, Phillip A. Saperia and Jason Lippman authored an article entitled:  Restructuring OMH Sex Offender Management Program Can Save State Dollars. The article discusses OMH’s plans to reduce projected growth in the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (SOMTA) program and discusses additional areas for efficiencies.

Also, Phillip Saperia is quoted in the January 5, 2009 edition of Mental Health Weekly in an article entitled: Economic Crisis Dominates Readers' Challenges for 2009. In the article, he talks about New York's "year of system transformation in an environment of diminished resources".


Center Training: Recovery is Working

Date:          February 3rd – 4th, 2009
Time:          9:30am - 4:30pm
Location:    The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies
Facilitator:  Aaron Vieira, LMSW  |  Fee: $50

The Coalition's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery is presenting a two day training designed for staff in various roles and settings who seek to help consumers achieve their employment goals. After exploring the role of work in recovery, participants will learn about supported employment as an evidence-based practice and other vocational services in New York City. The focus will then shift toward skill development. This dynamic training will involve participants in a variety of active exercises to help them acquire the key competencies of employment service providers. By the end of the training, participants will be better equipped to inspire, support and advocate for consumers who are pursuing employment and/or career advancement.

To register for this training, please click here Register now » or go to: www.coalitionny.org/the_center/training. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register yourself or your staff as soon as possible.

Note:  All Center trainings qualify for credit hours toward the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) credential.


Around the Water Cooler

Dr. Rosa M. Gil, President and CEO of Comunilife, a Coalition member, continues her media campaign to raise public awareness of the epidemic of Latina Teenage Suicides. Recently, Dr. Gil took the opportunity to speak out on the subject as she was being honored by New York 1 as their New Yorker of the Week. We congratulate her on this achievement.


Coalition Presents on Clinic Rate Restructuring and Medicaid Buy-In

On December 11, 2008, the Coalition’s Executive Director, Phillip A. Saperia presented on Models for Strategic Change/Rate Reform Initiatives at the Connecticut Community Providers Association (CCPA) 39th Annual Meeting on Rescue Strategies: Creating, Implementing and Managing. His presentation focused on New York State’s plan to reform and restructure its clinic reimbursement methodology system and the issues and perplexing questions surrounding it.

On January 12th, 2009, Pat Feinberg, the Center’s Peer Educator, delivered a dynamic presentation on the benefits of the Medicaid Buy-In program to a group of consumers at Inwood Clinic, which is part of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Beyond providing important and accurate information, Ms. Feinberg described the instrumental role that this program has played in her own journey of recovery. The program has enabled her to sustain employment without the fear of losing vital health care coverage through Medicaid. According to Dr. Diana Dragatsi, MD, the Clinic Director, Ms. Feinberg’s presentation sparked excitement about the possibility of working and numerous inquiries from consumers about how to actively search for a job.


Center Training:  Ask the Expert / Dealing with Overpayments

Date:          February 5th, 2009
Time:         9:30am - 4:30pm
Location:    The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies
Facilitator:  Ed Lopez, Esq.  |  Fee: $25

This highly interactive full day training will include updates on legislative and policy changes relevant to benefits management. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their current cases, allowing for both expert guidance and input from colleagues. Participants will also learn how to assist consumers who have received more benefits than they are entitled to, such as when they are hospitalized or return to work.  The focus will be on the most effective ways to respond to overpayments and to advocate for consumers. Participants will be taught how to complete a “waiver of overpayment” questionnaire and will be given valuable tips about how to navigate the Social Security bureaucracy.

To register for this training, please click here Register now » or go to: www.coalitionny.org/the_center/training. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register yourself or your staff as soon as possible.

Note:  All Center trainings qualify for credit hours toward the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) credential.


Medicaid Inspector General Publishes Rules on Mandatory Compliance Programs

On January 14, 2009, the New York State Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) published proposed regulations in the New York State Register that would establish requirements for Medicaid providers to develop mandatory compliance programs to reduce fraud and abuse.

The regulations, which are subject to a 45-day public comment period, call for providers to routinely develop plans to identify compliance risk areas and undertake internal and external audits. Programs would include plans for responding to compliance issues, investigating potential fraud and abuse, correcting problems and reporting compliance issues to OMIG or the State Department of Health (DOH). Providers would be mandated to certify their compliance program wit the State each year. Failure to develop a satisfactory program could result in revocation of a provider's rights to participate in Medicaid

Under the regulations, compliance programs must include:

• a code of ethics or code of conduct for employees;
• a designated employee with day-to-day responsibility for overseeing the compliance program;
• training and education for employees; and
• disciplinary policies to encourage good faith participation in the program by employees.

The regulations are available at http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2009/jan14/pdfs/rules.pdf (pg. 12)


Compliance Survival Tips for New York's Behavioral Health Care Providers

The "perfect storm" is generating increasingly aggressive compliance audits and investigations of health care providers in New York.  Robert Belfort, Partner, Healthcare Industry group at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips will lead a discussion on compliance survival tips that behavioral health care providers need to know about including:

• New OMIG Regulations
• Tips for defending against government audits and investigations
• When and how to disclose compliance problems to government authorities

Find out more and register now for this important training to be held on Monday, February 9, 2009 from 9:30am - 11:30 am.


State Office of Mental Health (OMH) Briefings

OMH Expands Number of NYC Designated SED Clinics

OMH awarded an additional 19 agencies with the designation of Interim Specialty Clinics for Socially and Emotionally Disturbed (SED) children and adolescents. Such agencies supply significant, ongoing treatment to SED children and adolescents enrolled in managed care. The Coalition applauds our 7 member agencies that received this designation:

  • Bleuler Center for Psychotherapy
  • Coalition of Hispanic Families
  • Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center
  • International Center for the Disabled
  • Pesach Tikvah
  • Safe Horizons
  • Visiting Nurse Child and Adolescent Clinic At Friends

OMH Unveils New On-Line Version of OMH News

OMH announced the publication of a new online version of OMH News. It will appear on OMH’s website and provide mid-monthly updates on current trends in New York State mental health. To subscribe for monthly newsletter notifications, please visit the following link: http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/resources/newsltr/listserv.asp.

For information on submissions, please contact the editor at mailto:OMHNews@omh.state.ny.us.


The Center Sponsors Second Annual FREE TAX PREPARATION for Working Individuals with Mental Health Disabilities Living in NYC

The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery is once again partnering with Seedco to provide FREE Tax Preparation for people with mental health disabilities who live and work in New York City. This service is designed to help working consumers file their income taxes and potentially gain access to valuable benefits. IRS-certified tax preparers will conduct a pre-screening process to determine whether consumers qualify for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit and other benefits, such as Food Stamps. Once all relevant information is gathered, the tax preparers will complete and confidentially file taxes for consumers.

To maximize the value of this service, it is important that you bring the following information:

  • Photo ID
  • Birth dates for everybody on the return
  • Social Security cards for everyone on the return
  • W-2 forms for all jobs held in 2008
  • 1099 forms for other types of income
  • Childcare Provider name, Employer ID or SSN and amount paid, if claiming childcare credit
  • Bank account and routing numbers
  • If filing with spouse, he/she must be present.
You have the option of registering for either the morning or afternoon session on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 or Wednesday, February 18, 2009 to secure your appointment for FREE tax preparation. For more information or to register, please click here Register now » or go to: www.coalitionny.org/the_center/training. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible. Registration preference is on a first come, first serve basis.


  Understanding the new IRS 990

On January 26, 2009 at 9:30am the Coalition will be presenting a comprehensive seminar on the new IRS form 990.   The new 990 significantly changes the disclosures provided by nonprofit organizations and the information that such organizations need to track. It will change the way nonprofit organizations will be viewed by funders and key stakeholders. The seminar, lead by Ken Cerini, Managing Partner, Cerini & Associates, will discuss the changes to the form, point out areas of concern and provide ideas and practical solutions for implementation. In addition, sample policies will be provided.

January 26, 2009, 9:30 - 11am   Register now!


Service Program for Older People (SPOP) Offers Trainings

February 12, 2009

SPOP Educational Seminar Series: a training opportunity for all who work with seniors and mental health.

Psychiatric Medications & the Psychiatrist: What the Treatment Team Needs to Know. Presenter: Henry Mallard, MD. 9:00 -11:00 AM at Service Program for Older People, Inc. 302 West 91st Street, NYC. Fee $15.00 For information and registration: 212-787-7120 x515 or www.spop.org.

March 12, 2009

SPOP Educational Seminar Series:  a training opportunity for all who work with seniors and mental health. In Sickness & In Health: Understanding & Supporting the Older Couple. Presenters: M. Kenney, LCSW, C. Chase, LCSW, L.Marcigliano, LCSW. 9:00 -11:00 AM at Service Program for Older People, Inc. 302 West 91st Street, NYC. Fee $15.00 For information and registration: 212-787-7120 x515 or www.spop.org.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
5333 Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director

Sr. Accountant

5328 MICA Program Coordinator

Fee for Service Social Worker


Case Manager / Instructor

5285 Director, Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery



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