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The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. Coalition Briefs
An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Behavioral Health in New York
                              March 2, 2010


Governor Paterson Ends Campaign for Governor

Governor David Paterson held a news conference on Friday, February 26, 2010 to announce that he will no longer seek election for a full four-year term. The Governor and members of his administration are under investigation for their possible involvement in a domestic violence case concerning a top aide. While the Governor needs to focus his attention on the State’s fiscal situation and passing a budget by March 31, there is much speculation on how the investigation will impact budget negotiations between Governor Paterson and the Legislature, and whether Governor Paterson can focus his full attention on the State’s fiscal needs. Many officials throughout New York State are calling for the Governor to resign or pass over budget authority to Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch. Given these circumstances, The Coalition is particularly concerned about the impact of this power vacuum and other Albany political maelstroms on the budget negotiations. We will keep you up to date on volatile budget and political developments as they emerge from Albany.


Coalition Wields 2 Days of Determined Advocacy in Albany

The Coalition coordinated a strong membership presence in Albany on February 23 & 24, covering approximately 50 meetings with State Legislators, key committee staff and Agency officials at OMH and OASAS. Our advocacy focused on mitigating the impending crisis of care in community-based clinics, reauthorization of State agency exemption from the social worker and other mental health professionals license requirements for four years, defining and limiting the powers of the Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG), promoting the behavioral health service infrastructure by funding a pass-through for supportive housing services and supplemental IT investments, as well as a set of revenue enhancement proposals to offset service cuts. Coalition members were particularly forceful in arguing against proposed OTDA cuts to services in supportive housing. The Coalition’s briefing materials from advocacy day are available on our website.


Judge Orders State to Move Residents with Mental Illness Out of Adult Homes

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn found that New York State must begin moving thousands of residents in adult home facilities into supportive housing arrangements in the community. The decision was reached on Monday, March 1, 2010, in follow up to a September ruling that cited New York State in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for failing to house 4,300 individuals in the most integrated settings according to their needs. Judge Garaufis decision calls on New York State to create at least 1,500 supportive housing units each year over the next three years. This plan was proposed by advocates and supported by the Federal Justice Department. The State had proposed its own plan as mandated by the September court ruling, which the judge found inadequate. It called for only a total of 1,000 units to be developed over a five year period. The judge also noted in his findings that it is less costly to provide supported services in the community then housing them in adult homes, approximately $7,500 less per year as noted in the New York Times. According to a statement from Governor Paterson’s office, the State is considering an appeal.


NYC Members May Apply for City Council Dollars: Applications Available for FY 2011 City Council Discretionary Funding

The New York City Council has posted documents online to apply for fiscal year 2011 funding. They can be found at: http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/fy2011.shtml.

Requests for funding from Council Members should be submitted directly to that member. For a list of Council Members’ contact information please visit: http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml. Each member has their own funding deadlines, so it is important to check with them.

Requests for funding through Speaker initiatives and City-Wide initiatives should be submitted by March 24, 2010 to Scott Crowley, NYC Council, Finance Division, 250 Broadway, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10007.

To request funding from the Council’s Manhattan Delegation, you are required to complete an expense funding request form and a notarized Organization Qualification Form to be submitted to the Manhattan Delegation, c/o Council Member Gale A. Brewer, 250 Broadway, Suite 1744, New York, NY 10007. These documents must be delivered together and received by Wednesday, March 10, 2010.


DHS Issues RFP for Rapid Re-Housing Services

The New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) released an RFP for Rapid Re-Housing Services  to fund approximately 125 homeless families. The program is intended for families who have shown the longest length of stay in shelter and possess barriers to permanency, the most significant of which are mental illness, substance abuse disorder or disabling medical conditions. The maximum available funding for the first two years is expected to be $1 million. Proposals are due by March 16, 2010 at 2 PM. A pre-proposal conference will be held on February 24, 2010. DHS also issued Addendum #1 to this RFP on February 26, 2010.


Around the Water Cooler

Donna Frescatore has been appointed Medicaid Director and Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Health Insurance Programs (OHIP) at the NYS Department of Health (DOH). The Coalition heartily welcomes her to her new position. Ms. Frescatore has been serving as Interim Medicaid Director since December 2009 and Deputy Director for OHIP since September 2007. She originally joined DOH in 1998, serving in progressively responsible positions in the Office of Managed Care.

Deborah Bachrach has been appointed inaugural Visiting Fellow at the NYS Health Foundation, and will advise the Foundation on its efforts to expand health insurance coverage to all New Yorkers.

Member Notes

The Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS) has named Rob Morrison, Ph. D. as Director of its Day Treatment Center at PS/IS 25 – South Richmond High School, and Zabrina Stokes, LCSW as Assistant Director. The Day Treatment Center provides special education to children with severe emotional and behavioral challenges

The Jewish Board of Family and Children Services (JBFCS) has elected Tony Mann as its new Board President. Mr. Mann has served at JBFCS for twenty years.

F•E•G•S has named Yolanda L. Robano-Gross as Vice President, Developmental Disabilities/Residential Services. She will oversee an extensive network of over 100 residential programs and homes throughout New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The Coalition congratulates the Institute for Community Living (ICL) for being the first organization to win a national award for excellence in risk management from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. The award includes a $10,000 grant from the Mental Health Risk Retention Group and Negley Associates.

Center Notes

The next Center Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 9:30 AM. Please RSVP to Deborah Short at dshort@coalitionny.org.


Organizational Changes in the Division of Mental Hygiene at DOHMH

The Coalition has recently learned of changes at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) Division of Mental Hygiene. Lily Tom, DSW, is now serving as Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of Children, Youth and Families (formerly Bureau of Child and Adolescent Services). The Bureau's former chief, Myla Harrison, MD, will continue as Medical Director. In addition, Janice Chisholm, will assume the role of Director for Contracting within the same Bureau. Howard Grossman is now the Acting Director of the Office for Program Review and Evaluation (OPRE), and will report to Gerald Cohen, the Director of Clinical Affairs. Other changes include the decentralization of the Offices of Policy and Planning; Continual Quality Improvement (CQI); and Health Integration. Staff from these offices will be assigned to the various Bureaus.


OMH Announces 2010 Training for Clinics on the New Survey Process

In the spring of 2010, the Office of Mental Health (OMH) will implement a new process for certification visits in all clinic programs. This new procedure uses the Standards of Care for adults and Standards of Care for children, available on the OMH website. 

The standards emphasize access, collaboration among service providers, engagement of the individuals and families served, risk assessment, person centered mental health treatment, and attention to both physical health and co-occurring disorders.

You may register for an OMH led two hour training session by using the contact information provided on this OMH webpage http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/News/2010/pr_clinic_survey_trng.html.


Compliant HIPAA Business Associate Agreements

Did you know that provisions in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) required modification of Business Associate Agreements (BAA) by February 17, 2010? Did you know that enforcement of the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, which also requires new language in the BAA, started February 22, 2010?   

The changes in these regulations are focused primarily in three areas:  

  1. Requirements for Business Associates (BAs) to comply with specific sections of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules
  2. New language surrounding breach notification and the securing of data
  3. New disclosure-related requirements where Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are concerned

To help providers comply with these regulations The Coalition commissioned two template guidance documents from Lewis Creek Systems, LLC, which meet the requirements in currently published regulations. 

1)  Amendment language to be used with pre-existing business associate agreements. The language meets requirements for both Security and HITECH changes: (3 pages).

2)  A complete Business Associate Agreement document based on the proposed language put forth by the US Department of Health and Human Services under the Privacy Rule, with the HITECH-related amendments and Breach Notification Rule integrated into a "standard" agreement: (6 pages).

For more information about the regulations and our guidance templates, please visit our Professional Learning Center Store web page.


Medicare Suspends Enrollment to Fox Insurance Co. Medicare Part D Plan

On Friday February 26, 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) told Fox Insurance Company of NY to immediately suspend marketing and enrollment of new members in their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. CMS imposed this sanction because of Fox’s inability to meet the prescription needs of the newest members of their Part D drug plan, posing a serious risk to members’ health and safety.

The plan, without CMS approval, hindered timely access to Part D drugs by imposing prior authorization and step therapy requirements, did not meet necessary appeals deadlines and did not meet requirements to transition new enrollees to the covered drugs.

“Current Fox drug plan members who are having difficulty in getting their prescriptions filled should contact 1-800-MEDICARE or their local state health insurance assistance program for help,” said Jonathan Blum, acting director of CMS’ Center for Drug and Health Plan Choices.


OMH and DOL Launch Training & Employment Initiative for Service Recipients

The NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are launching an exciting new initiative in partnership with the City University of New York (CUNY) to provide free training in Wellness Coaching for recipients of services in mental health programs. Service recipients who successfully complete a certificate program in Wellness Coaching at CUNY will be qualified to assume wellness coach or similar positions in mental health agencies that agree to sponsor the recipients.

It is expected that the employment opportunities described here will benefit the provider community by adding enthusiastic, hard-working individuals to the work force. For service recipients, the benefits include increased stability and purpose, thus improving recovery outcomes. The Center strongly encourages agencies to sponsor qualified applicants for this initiative. For more information about the initiative, please download the documents below:

Overview of the CUNY Wellness Coaching Certificate Program

Application to the CUNY Wellness Coaching Certificate Program

OMH / DOL Initiative Eligibility Certification form

Selective Service Documentation for OMH / DOL Initiative

DEADLINE: Applications must be received by March 29th, 2010.


Co-Occurring Disorders (COD) Training Opportunities

The Center for Practice InnovationsSM (CPI) (formerly named the Evidence-Based Practices Technical Assistance Center) is accepting applications for the Co-occurring Disorders Distance Learning Initiative Spring rollout. Practitioners, supervisors and clinical leadership can accumulate training hours when they participate in this initiative funded by OASAS and OMH.

CPI offers free online modules designed to help programs implement integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders (COD). The trainings help practitioners gain a firm foundation in evidence-based integrated treatment for COD including screening and assessment, stage-wise treatment, motivational interviewing and more. Other modules help clinical supervisors develop their managing skills and guide agency leaders through changes to ensure sustainability of integrated treatment.

To learn more about the features of CPI’s COD Distance Learning Initiative and apply for participation, please visit the CPI Web site at: www.practiceinnovations.org. To watch an informational webinar describing the Spring rollout, please follow this link: https://cpi.megameeting.com/?page=guest&conid=COD_Webinars and dial: 888-346-3659 code 0210. Webinars are scheduled at the following times: Tuesday March 2nd 2010 from 3-4 PM; Wednesday March 10th 2010 from 12-1 PM; and Thursday March 11th 2010 from 3-4 PM.


Management Training Series Offered by the Professional Learning Center

The Coalition Fifth Annual Advanced Management Training Series is well under way and seats are still available for the remaining workshops. This free series is geared toward helping transition individuals to top tier positions, as current executives and managers retire from the field. Sign up for any or all of the remaining workshops while seating is still available.

Utilizing Performance Indicators / Maximizing Revenue
March 23, 2010, 9am - 12 Noon
This session provides tools for utilizing performance indicators and productivity measures to effectively manage and evaluate services.

Understanding and Interpreting Basic Financial Statements
April 7, 2010, 9am - 12 Noon
This session will provide the primary concepts and principles necessary to read and understand the basic financial statements.

Planning and Managing Large Projects
April 27, 2010, 9am - 12 Noon
This session provides the manager with project planning, management tools, and time management skills

Preparing for Survey and Financial Audits
May 25, 2010, 9am - 12 Noon
This session provides the manager with a fundamental understanding of regulatory requirements for behavioral health organizations.

Behavior in the Workplace
June 8, 2010, 9am - 12 Noon
The session will discuss action steps managers must take to eliminate inappropriate language or behavior in the workplace.

More information and online registration available on our website » 


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
5765 Development Director
5766 Cook
5768 Controller

Program Management Coordinator

5771 Bilingual (Spanish/English) Social Worker
5773 Psychiatrist



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