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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
                              April 20 , 2010


Still No State Budget Agreement

As of April 1, 2010, the State FY 2010-11 Budget is officially late. The Senate and Assembly have passed three budget extenders to allow the State to continue make local payments through April 25. Lawmakers are back in Albany this week for budget negotiations, but an agreement is not likely to be reached anytime soon.

The State’s deficit for FY 2010-11 is estimated at $9.2 billion. The Legislature has agreed on measures to close about $6 billion of it, but has so far rejected several new revenue raising items proposed in the Executive Budget. They include $450 million from taxing sugary beverages and $250 million in fees related to selling wine in grocery stores. The Coalition and other fellow advocates support these and other revenue-raising measures. The Legislature has also limited a number of cuts proposed by in the Executive Budget. Both Governor Paterson and Budget Director Robert Megna have predicted cash flow problems for the State, claiming that New York could run out of money by early June. This could result in payment delays.

The Coalition is gratified that the Executive’s proposal to extend the exemption for Social Workers and Other Mental Health Professionals from licensing law for an additional four years was included in the Senate’s budget resolution. The Assembly has so far rejected it. The Coalition has aggressively been organizing members and friends to persuade the Assembly to support this proposal.  The law is scheduled to sunset on June 1, 2010.


City to End Illegal Housing of Homeless?

On Wednesday, April 7, 2010, the City announced that it would take steps to end the practice of housing homeless individuals, many of whom have a mental illness, in illegal, unsafe and overcrowded dwellings. City officials have told the New York Times that the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will enforce new rules through issuing fines to shelters that place individuals in illegal boarding houses, and encourage individuals who are homeless to report violations.

While housing advocates applauded the City’s action to stop these kinds of placements, they feel that more needs to be done to end the problem, including endemic housing shortages. Housing codes and regulations need to be reformed so that affordable housing options can be developed. According to an article in the April 13, 2010, edition of City Limits there are 100,000 illegal units in New York City. Historically, most are located in Queens, followed by Brooklyn and the Bronx. Ending this problem could very likely result in longer shelter stays. In a counterintuitive move, The City plans to enforce rent payments from homeless people living in shelters, and require homeless families to have jobs in order to receive rent vouchers. For more details, please see an article that appeared in the Times on April, 14, 2010.


OCFS Commissioner Gladys Carrion Visits The Coalition

Gladys Carrion, Commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and key staff presented and led a discussion with Coalition members on juvenile justice reform at a Coalition Children’s Committee meeting on Monday, April 12, 2010. OCFS wishes to create a therapeutic environment that draws on the best practices to meet the needs of children who enter the juvenile justice system, and is developing the New York Model to do so. One of the goals of Commissioner Carrion is to engage community-based providers in developing programs that will provide in-community options for many juveniles who are caught up in the criminal justice system, rather than sending them to upstate juvenile detention facilities.

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice found several OCFS facilities in violation of the Constitutional rights of youth offenders. Juvenile detention centers are usually located upstate, many hours away from New York City where most juvenile offenders live. In many instances, youth are reported to be harmed and abused by detention center staff and/or placed in environments that facilitate and enable youth to become career criminals.


Around the Water Cooler

Commissioner Robert V. Hess of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will resign after four years of leading the helm at DHS. Commissioner Hess will be moving on to a new position at the Doe Fund.

Meggan Schilkie, a Coalition alumna, is now the new Deputy Director for Mental Health at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Meggan has served for more than four years with the Office of the Executive Deputy Commissioner in the Division of Mental Hygiene. We congratulate her and look forward to working with Meggan in her new role.

Dr. Lloyd Sederer has published an article on the challenges of getting shelter for the homelessness. “What does it take to get something done?” appears in the April 8, 2010, edition of the Huffington Post.

Michael Friedman, Founding Chairman of the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York, will retire at the end of June 2010 after 40 years of devoted service to the field of mental health Since founding GMHA in 2004, Michael successfully promoted the need to address the mental health of older adults. These efforts led to the enactment of the Geriatric Mental Health Act of New York.

The Veterans Mental Health Coalition of New York City will hold the May edition of the Spring 2010 Lecture Series called “Veterans’ Treatment Courts.” Presentations will address judicial diversion programs available to Veterans who are non-violent offenders. It is scheduled for Thursday, May 13th, 2010 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM at Hunter College School of Social Work – Auditorium, 129 East 79th Street (Between Lexington and Park Avenues), New York, NY 10075. You can register at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/645139630 or contact Beth LaPorte at blaporte@mhaofnyc.org or 212-614-5767.

Member Notes

Carmen Collado, of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS), was inducted as President of the Association of Hispanic Mental Health Professionals at its March 5th meeting. For more details please see this article in the New York Nonprofit Press (NYNP).

Services for the UnderServed (SUS) has elected three new board members: Peter Friedland, Marcus Mayo and Amelia Wright Brewer, their bios can also be read in the New York Nonprofit Press (NYNP).

Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA) received $10,000 in Federal funding for its Grandparents Connection Program, a caregiver program in Co-op City to help local youth and strengthen family ties. The program will support after-school activities, including tutoring, homework help and family programs. See more information in the Daily News.

Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) received a $20,000 grant to support its Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program. The funds will enable WJCS to secure the safety of child abuse victims and work with the non-offending parents to provide a safe home environment for their children. This program engages in treatments that restore the child victims to normal developmental functioning and reduce symptoms and behaviors of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To learn more go to www.wjcs.com.

The Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and The Metropolitan Center for Mental Health invite you to The Broken Self: Injured States In the Transference/ Countertransference Matrix (a Scientific Meeting) on Friday, April 23, 2010 at 8:00 P.M. at The Karen Horney Psychoanalytic Institute and Center, 329 East 62nd Street (1st & 2nd Avenues), 1st Floor Auditorium, New York, NY 10021. For further information: (212) 496-2858, email mitppnyc@aol.com or visit www.MITPP.org.

Service Program for Older People (SPOP) will hold its Spring symposium: “Psyche and Soma Integrating Healthcare for Older Adults” on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. The keynote speaker is Jeffrey N. Nichols, MD; with panelists: Melinda S. Lantz, MD; William R. Wagner, LCSW, ANP-C/GNP and Laura Osinoff, LCSW Deputy Director of SPOP. For more information, please visit: SPOP's website or call 212-787-7120 x520.

Astor Services for Children & Families has received a $25,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan to expand its Lean Six Sigma program. Astor plans to make support improvements to the delivery of services to children, ages zero to five, and their families in Dutchess County.


OASAS to Hold Managed Care Panel Discussions

The NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS) is having a panel discussion to explain the complaint resolution process for claims against health insurance and managed care companies. The discussion is being organized with the NYS Department of Insurance (DOI) and NYs Department of Health (DOH), and is scheduled to be held in OASAS’s Albany and New York City locations.

The panel will offer direction and answer questions on how providers can better interact with insurance and managed care companies so that they may provide care to individuals with a substance use disorder and their families.

Dates & Locations

Albany: Monday, May 17, 2010, from 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. at 1450 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203.
New York City: Tuesday, June 1, 2010, from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at 501 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10018.


National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is May 6, 2010

In the spirit of children’s mental health awareness, The Coalition would like to inform you of the following Click to visit http://www.samhsa.gov/children/postnow.aspxtwo children’s conferences being organized by the New York Zero to Three Network:

“Justice for Juveniles: A Call to Ethical Action” – April 24, 2010

This conference aims to create a coalition of concerned organizations, citizens, and the media to demand and help facilitate immediate restructuring and reform of the existing statewide juvenile justice system in New York State. Register online at: justice4juveniles.eventbrite.com . For more information call 212.874.5210 x118.

“Trauma and Resilience in the Lives of Young Children and Their Families” - May 10, 2010

This conference will explore the concept of both trauma and its equally important, but more elusive, counterpart: resilience. Speakers will define trauma and resilience and illustrate through case studies the impact of intra-family traumas, such as abuse, and extra-family traumas, such as those occurring on September 11, 2001.

For more information or to register online please visit www.nyzerotothree.org.


New PLC Trainings for PROS and Clinic Restructuring

The Coalition's Professional Learning Center (PLC) is please to offer two new training series in Documentation and Billing.  One series is geared toward Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) and the other is meeting the new Part 599 Clinic documentation and billing requirements.

Both of these series will be lead by Dr. Derek Jansen of Practice Management Alternatives.  Dr. Jansen is a member of the American Association of Professional Coders, the Medical Billing Association of America. He specializes in regulatory compliance for healthcare entities operating under the purview of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Jansen also has had extensive experience assisting other PROS providers in NYS for the past several years.


Documentation: For Providers and Supervisors
Learn how to properly document PROS services. Examples and templates will be presented.

Two sessions to choose from:
Monday May 10, 2010 | 9am - Noon
Tuesday May 11, 2010 | 1:30 - 4:30 pm

Billing Coding and Operations - It's all very simple, really
Learn about the complex service tracking necessary to bill under PROS.

Two sessions to choose from:
Monday May 10, 2010 | 1:30 - 4:30 pm
Tuesday May 11, 2010 | 9am - Noon

For more information about the PROS training series and online registration go to our website »

Meeting the OMH Clinic requirements

Coding for Clinic Administrators and Billers
Learn how to bill using CPT/HCPCS codes and modifiers identified by OMH for the new clinic service array.

Choose from one of two sessions:
May 12, 2010 | 9:00am - Noon
May 13, 2010 | 1:30 - 4:30pm

Documentation for Clinical Staff
This session will help clinicians understand how to properly document services to conform to the new clinic service array.

Choose from one of two sessions:
May 12, 2010 | 1:30 - 4:30pm
May 14, 2010 | 9:00am - Noon

For more information about the OMH Clinic series and online registration go to 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
5791 MHD Billing Specialist/Patient Services Representative
5795 Accountant
5796 Clinical Coordinator - Outpatient Addiction Services

Job Developer

5799 Utilization Review Specialist - LCSW or RN
5803 Social Worker LCSW



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