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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 16, 2009


Join us as The Coalition celebrates our 25th Annual Awards Reception on June 25, 2009 at Pfizer World Headquarters – 235 East 42nd Street in New York City, 5 to 8 pm.

Receiving the coveted Leadership Awards are the Honorable David A. Paterson, Governor, New York State; Honorable Peter M. Rivera, Chair, Committee on Mental Health, New York State Assembly; and Honorable G. Oliver Koppell, Chair, Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services, New York City Council. The Timothy’s Law Executive Committee will also be presented with the Leadership Award. Receiving the Member Service Award are Todd Schenk from Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and Boris Vilgorin of F•E•G•S. Our own Patricia Feinberg will be honored with the Coalition’s Peer Recognition Award.

The reception begins at 5:00 pm with a presentation of the awards at 6:30 pm. To attend this year’s key fundraising event with leaders in government, behavioral health, the corporate and civic communities. Please visit our website at www.coalitionny.org to buy tickets and advertise in our commemorative journal. We look forward to seeing you on June 25th!


The Coalition Brings its Advocacy to Washington, DC

Coalition leaders and staff went to Washington D.C. last week to advocate on key issues facing the behavioral health sector. The Coalition was represented by President, Jonas Waizer (F.E.G.S.), Constance Brown (ICL), Peter Campanelli (ICL), Carmen Collado (JBFCS), Sandra Hagan (Child Center of NY), Dr. Kenneth Popler (Staten Island Mental Health Society), Dr. Jeanie Tse (ICL) and Fern Zagor (Staten Island Mental Health Society). We combined our efforts with members from around the country of the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare during their Fifth Annual Hill Day.

The Coalition met with officials from the Mayor and Governor’s offices in DC, Representative Towns, Engel and Clarke and their staff, and staff from the following members of Congress: Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, and Representatives Crowley, Rangel, and Serrano, all of whom play key roles in the 111th Congress. We urged the NY Congressional delegation to include mental health and addiction services in the national healthcare reform agenda. The Coalition delegation articulated arguments for a minimum benefit package that requires mental health and addiction services as mandatory components within a broader package of medical and health benefits. The Coalition also pressed for including community mental health and addiction services providers in federal Health Information and Technology (HIT) funding opportunities. In addition, we urged the delegation to restore NYS’s appropriation of SAMHSA’s Community Mental Health Services Block Grant and increases for New York State in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.  Read all of the Coalition’s fact sheets and advocacy points.

(See more pictures on our website.)


Senate Leadership Debacle and The Coalition’s Legislative Agenda

At this time in the State’s legislative season, The Coalition is working to move our legislative priorities forward before the current session draws to a close. The legislative session is scheduled to end on June 22nd, however leadership in the Senate has been thrown into turmoil. Last week, two Democrats, Pedro Espada, Jr. of the Bronx, and Hirram Monserrate of Queens, joined with the Republicans to grab leadership from the Democratic majority and Malcolm Smith of Queens. In spite of uncertainty in the Senate, The Coalition remains focused on achieving its legislative goals:

Timothy’s Law

The Assembly, which continues in session, passed legislation to make Timothy’s Law permanent! Bill S.5672/A.8611 eliminates the expiration and repeal of Timothy’s Law, which is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009. Timothy’s Law requires group health insurance policies to offer parity in benefits for consumers who seek treatment for mental health conditions. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate. Passage in the Senate and signature by the Governor would fulfill the work started by the Executive Committee of Timothy’s Law (TLC), which The Coalition will be honoring at our 25th annual Leadership Awards Reception on June 25th, 2009. The Coalition has also written a memo in support of A.8611/S.5672, which was distributed to the entire membership in the Assembly and Senate. We wish to thank Governor Paterson for introducing this bill, and Speaker Silver and Assemblyman Morelle for their leadership in the Assembly on this signal legislative matter.

Social Worker and Mental Health Licensing Law

With the Assembly still in business, and Governor Paterson’s proposal to continue the legislative session beyond June 22nd, we are persistently advocating for legislation to extend the exemption from the current licensing law until July 1, 2011 for social workers and other mental health practitioners who are employed by programs under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Mental Hygiene and Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). This would add an additional year to the proposal that was passed during the Enacted 2010 Budget. The Coalition has been participating in meetings with the Office of Professionals at the State Education Department (SED) to include this provision in the draft bill that SED sent to the legislature, as well language to create a process for entities that employ these professionals to register with SED, and to allow work experience in these organizations to qualify for licensure. Currently, a bill that reflects the SED draft has been introduced in the Assembly by Assembly Member J. Gary Pretlow, A. 8897. We are urging legislative leaders to push this bill through the proper channels for passage, and have circulated a memo of support for A.8897. The Coalition will keep you updated on events that transpire regarding professional licensing law in both houses as well as other events that take place in the Senate.


Coalition Advocates City Council for FY10 Mental Health Restorations

Last night, the Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn held a news conference at City Hall to announce an agreement on the City’s FY 2010 Budget. As of now, we are currently hearing that funding for behavioral health initiatives faired well. The Coalition will keep you informed on specific details as more information comes forward.

Throughout the City Council’s budget negotiating process, Coalition staff met with Council Members and their staff, urging restoration of $2.4 million for the Geriatric Mental Health Initiative, which provides funding for 24 community-based agencies to enhance mental health services for older adults. Funding for this program provides supports in places where seniors are familiar, and feel comfortable, such as in their homes and at community and senior centers. Programs include depression screening, grief counseling, education on mental health and stigma, as well as help with cognitive symptoms that are not part of the normal aging process. We are equally passionate in pressing for the restoration of $1.6 million for the Children Under Five Initiative, which provides funding to 8 agencies to identify children at risk for mental illness, and prevent, decrease and treat symptoms as early as possible. Both initiatives are funded by the City Council through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

The Coalition participated in press conferences and briefings lead by Council Member G. Oliver Koppell, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services (Councilman Koppell will is also be honored by The Coalition at our 2009 Leadership Awards Reception on June 25th). At both the briefings and press events, Council members and their staffs listened to providers speak about the benefits of the Geriatric Mental Health and Children Under Five initiatives, and why it is crucial that they continue to be funded in FY10. We thank Council Member Koppell and all of the City Council Members and their staff in attendance. We are hearing positive news on restoration of these programs in FY 2010.


Courtenay Harding, Ph.D. to Become the New Director of The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery

The Coalition is very excited that Dr. Courtney Harding will join us as Director of our Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery. http://www.bu.edu/cpr/about/images/staff/charding.jpgDr. Harding is a highly esteemed clinician, researcher and teacher with over 30 years experience in the field of rehabilitation and recovery. She is considered a key player in the history of the recovery movement, due in part to her classic studies of schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses with patients from the state hospitals in Maine and Vermont. Throughout the course of her distinguished career, she has consistently conveyed a strong message of hope and recovery for people living with serious mental illness. Her work has helped promote rehabilitation and recovery best practices among innumerable patients, families, service providers, policy makers and clinicians.

Dr. Harding comes to us from Boston University where she is serving as Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine and the Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Resilience and Senior Director of the BU Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Prior to Boston, Dr. Harding held faculty appointments at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine, Cornell Medical School, University of Maryland, and the Smith School of Social Work.

Dr. Harding has been an invited participant, faculty member, and organizer in over 500 local, state, national and international meetings and conferences, as well as author of 80 contributions to scientific journals, books and governmental technical reports. She is the recipient of numerous awards. Please join The Coalition in extending a proud hand of welcome to her.


Around the Water Cooler

CAMBA’s Executive Director, Joanne M. Oplustil and its Morris Manor (housing developed by CAMBA also known as the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association, a Coalition member) will be recognized by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce at the Building Brooklyn Awards ceremony on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009.

Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey has named William J. Forrester to become President and Chief Executive Officer effective July 1, 2009. We are looking forward to Goodwill’s continued participation in The Coalition under William J. Forrester as Rex L. Davidson retires after 30 years. Congratulations to both!

The Guidance Center, a Coalition member from Westchester, has received a two-year grant worth $50,000 from The New York Life Foundation. Funding will support The Guidance Center’s Career Center for Teens, which prepares graduating teens for their future after high school.

Congratulations to Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), for receiving the Ramstad-Kennedy Award for Outstanding Leadership. This award was presented to the Commissioner by the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month Planning Partners at the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors at is annual meeting on June 5th.

Kristin Proud, Deputy Director for State Operations in the New York State Executive Chamber will take on a new role for the State as Finance Secretary in the Senate at the conclusion of this legislative session. We wish her the best of good fortune in her new position.

Cindy Mann, Director of Georgetown University Center for Children and Families has been appointed Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations (CMSO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). CMSO oversees Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at the federal level. The Coalition extends welcome to Ms. Mann in her new position.

Learn about free access to medications at the Healthy Living Forum on Saturday, June 27, 2009 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at Brooklyn College Student Center. RSVP at 718-989-2170 or www.ghlf.org. This is only available to adults age 18-64.


Center Seminar: Storytelling Narrative Therapy for Transition-Age Youth

Date: June 29, 2009
Time: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm (Registration begins 9:00am. Light breakfast will be served).
Location: 90 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004
Facilitator: Amy Smiley, LCSW, Ph.D.
Register: Online at www.coalitionny.org/the_center/youth_initiative

This FREE interactive seminar will focus on how storytelling and narrative therapy can be used as a positive intervention with young people as they make the difficult transition to adulthood. Storytelling encourages young people to find their voice and assert themselves as they navigate a world that often seems beyond their control and helps them solidify their identity. Narrative techniques hone the ability in youth to listen and communicate and moreover reflect on their lives. Such reflection lends itself to revising the way people see themselves, their relationships and goals they may want to pursue. Finally, this particular intervention is an excellent tool for fostering creativity in youth through the different possible forms of storytelling, both written and oral. 

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


CUCS Announces Two Additional HUD Compliance Training Sessions

The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) has added two additional training sessions on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Compliance. These seminars will prepare grantees and project sponsors of the NYC Coalition of the Continuum of Care’s Supportive Housing Program and Shelter Plus Care to better understand and fulfill HUD requirements, and review resources available to support grant management. The trainings are scheduled for Tuesday, June 23rd and Monday, June 29th. Both trainings are scheduled to run from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm at CUCS, which is located at 198 E. 121st Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY. Registration is required please call (212) 801-3331 for more information.  



Funding for the MATS Program is Restored

The NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has announced the restoration of Managed Addiction Treatment Services (MATS) funding, which previously had be been cut in the State’s Enacted FY 2009-10 Budget. A total of $1 million will be restored in Orange, Suffolk, Dutchess, Westchester, Erie and Ulster counties, and an additional $400,000 will be allocated to New York City. To qualify for these restorations, counties statewide had to demonstrate that they have achieved Medicaid savings of at least $2,000 in Medicaid savings per recipient.


News from OMH

Uncompensated Care Data Collection

According to letter from the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) to clinic providers, beginning July 1, 2009, clinics will be required to submit data on the number of self-pay and sliding scale services that they provide. The data will be used to calculate reimbursement from the uncompensated care pool. Participation is a requirement for reimbursement eligibility from the uncompensated care pool, which is scheduled to be in place in 2010.

Training on Treatment for Disruptive Behavior Disorders

The NYS Office of Mental Health’s (OMH) Evidence Based Treatment Dissemination Center (EBTDC) has announced trainings on the treatment of Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBD) during the summer and fall of 2009. The goal of this three-day training and year long clinical consultation is to learn how you can effectively engage the child and parent in a way that will enhance their strengths, teach new skills to interrupt the disruptive cycle and change the course of the child’s developmental trajectory. For details and to register: http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/ebt/.


The Financial Challenges of Funding Universal Coverage in New York State

The Health Policy Research Center at the Rockefeller Institute of Government has released a report on the steep financial challenges New York faces as it works towards universal coverage similar to Massachusetts. The report analyzes the revenue and savings options that New York has at its disposal, including Medicaid, lowering the growth rate of health costs, redirecting existing funds, generating new revenues, and using multiple revenue streams: provider taxes, insurer taxes, sin taxes and possibly employer contributions. The full report can be accessed online at www.rockinst.org.

Last month, Coalition staff attended a policy forum at the Rockefeller Institute called “Mitigating the Effects of High-Risk, High-Cost Populations in the Private Health Insurance Market,” which provided an overview of Massachusetts experience in ensuring universal health coverage and the challenges in expanding care to more high-risk patients in New York.


Stimulus Funds from FMAP Increase Pass Audit

According to Federal auditors at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), New York State has received its fair share of the $15.2 billion in stimulus money that was allocated to the states through increases in Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) funding. The FMAP enhancement comes from a temporary increase in the federal share of Medicaid spending based. The formula for greater federal assistance was based on state unemployment data. In New York State, the federal share is normally 50%, but was increased to 58.78% as a result of this initiative. With FMAP increases as a whole ranging from 6.2% - 13.93%, New York falls just below the middle range. Nevada received the largest percentage increase.


Community Healthcare Network Opens New FQHC

The Community Healthcare Network (CHN) opened its 10th Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) at a second location in Queens. The new FQHC is a partnership between CHN and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which will provide internal medicine and pediatric physicians from Weill Cornell Medical College. An FQHC is a provider that qualifies for enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other benefits by providing health services in an area of underserved populations.


The Professional Learning Center Presents Two Workshops on Addiction and Sexuality

Title:                Addiction and Sexuality for Substance Abuse Clinicians
Date:               Monday, June 29, 2009
Time:               1:30 - 4:40pm
Location:          Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies
Title:                Addiction and Sexuality for Mental Health Clinicians
Date:               Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Time:               9:00am - Noon
Location:          Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies

In this workshop, Dr. Petros Levounis, Director of The Addiction Institute of New York and Chief of Addiction Psychiatry at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City, will explore how alcohol and drugs of abuse influence people's sexual behavior and, conversely, how sexuality determines the use of drugs.

The special case of Crystal Methamphetamine addiction in New York City's gay male community will be discussed in detail. We will also address unique considerations in the addiction treatment of lesbian, gay, transgender, and questioning individuals; sexual compulsions; and addiction to the Internet.

REGISTER NOW!  http://www.coalitionny.org/prof_learn_ctr/training/series.php?series_id=1090



Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
5474 Consulting Psychiatrist

Social Worker - LCSW

5481 Director of Research & Evaluation

Licensed Social worker


Director, Clinical Services

5486 Job Coach
5489 Intake Specialist



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