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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
                              May 25, 2010

 

Join Us for the 2010 Coalition Leadership Awards Reception

The Coalition will celebrate its 26th annual awards presentation on Thursday, June 17, 2010. This year’s honorees are Anita Appel, Director of the New York City Field Office, State Office of Mental Health; Peter Campanelli, President/CEO, Institute for Community Living (ICL); Michael Friedman, Executive Director, Center for Public Policy, Mental Health Association of New York City; and Fred Scaglione, Editor, New York Nonprofit Press. The reception will commence at 5:00pm, and the awards presentation will begin at 6:30pm. This event will be held at Pfizer World Headquarters at 235 East 42nd Street in New York City. To place journal ads and/or order tickets please visit our website at: www.coalitionny.org.

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Budget Leaders Meet but Impasse Continues

This morning, Governor Paterson and Legislative leaders met to discuss the State budget stalemate; however there still appears to be no deal in sight. The meeting was attended by Senate Majority Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The day after last week’s leadership meeting, Majority Leader Sampson issued Conference Committee assignments. This usually happens once money has been allotted to specific program sectors for the Senators to proceed with passing a budget.

Speaker Silver has said he will not be forming Assembly Conference Committees, saying that they would not be able to accomplish anything without knowing budget allocations to specific program areas. Since April 1, 2010, when the Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget was due, lawmakers have passed weekly appropriations to pay for a “bare bones” budget to keep State government operations functioning.

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Legislature Passes 3 Year Exemption for Social Workers & Mental Health Professionals

The Coalition is relieved that the Assembly and Senate voted to authorize an extension of the exemption for Social Workers and Other Mental Health Professionals until June 1, 2013, even as we prefer a four year exemption that would take us to 2014. Bills A8897A and S05921A would not only extend the exemption for programs licensed under the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), but includes language to correct certain corporate practice issues, and would require a workforce study to be completed by a number of State agencies. The Governor’s Office and members of the Legislature are currently negotiating a potential chapter amendment, which could include language for a four year extension and some changes to the workforce study. The Coalition has been working with a broader alliance of groups to secure a four year extension.

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OMH Clinic Reform Postponed to October 1, 2010

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has changed the implementation date for clinic restructuring to October 1, 2010. OMH has posted more information on clinic restructuring on its website at: http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/clinic_restructuring/index.html.

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Savings Accounts Proposed as Alternative to “Rent” in City Shelters

NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Seth Diamond testified at a City Council budget hearing on May 18, 2010, on the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2011 Executive Budget. According to Commissioner Diamond, talks are ongoing between City and State officials to change statutory regulations, which would require the implementation of a savings plan for shelter residents with incomes above a certain level. Under the proposed policy, a modest portion of earnings would be deposited into savings accounts, a saner and more future looking policy that one which charges shelter occupants for their meager lodging.

Just last month, the City had stated that it would move forward on a controversial plan to charge rent to working people living in shelters. The current State law actually requires that a fee be collected from shelter occupants with income earnings. The City has never fully implemented this policy, but had proposed to expand it. There are several technicalities that still need to be worked out in order for a forced savings plan to be authorized. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Fraud & Abuse Enforcement to Expand Under Federal Health Care Reform

With health care reform will come new compliance regulations on fraud and abuse. Specifically, the government will take on new measures to prevent and prosecute it. On Tuesday, May 13, 2010, Coalition staff learned more about these policies at a seminar on “understanding and successfully navigating the risks of the New York State and Federal payment recovery agenda.” It was presented by the New York Society for Health Planning and featured James G. Sheehan, Medicaid Inspector General of New York State.

Mr. Sheehan explained how provisions in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will enable the Federal government to prosecute fraud and abuse. Like mandatory programs in New York State intended to prevent fraud and abuse, the new Federal law will place responsibility on the provider to notify, report and return  “overpayments.” After retention of an overpayment for 60 days, the payment becomes classified as a false claim. This is important to note, as a “false claim” invokes certain penalties and whistleblower provisions that the provider may not be aware of. Examples of an overpayment can be services induced by kickback, credit balances and services provided to ineligible persons. In addition, changes to the False Claims Act (FCA) expand the liability of providers for payments made to third party vendors. PPACA also permits substantial rulemaking responsibility and discretion to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is still unclear how this process will play out. In the chart below, these laws and compliance programs are briefly explained.

Initiative

Description

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

Provisions make it easier to prosecute fraud and abuse Increases funding for: DOJ, FBI, CMS & HHS-OIG

Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT)

Cabinet level workgroup to address fraud issues.   Coordinates resources to prevent & prosecute fraud and abuse

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA)

Amends False Claims Act (FCA) Expands liability of providers and DOJ authority

Federal State Health Reform Partnership (FSHRP)

Requires NYS to reach Medicaid fraud targets. $644M in FY 2010-11

Source: Arnold & Porter LLP

Also, information has been posted by DOJ and HHS at HealthReform.gov on “new tools to fight fraud, strengthen Medicare and protect taxpayer dollars.” These tools are especially relevant to Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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After 3 Decades, Senator Morahan will not Seek Reelection

Senator Thomas Morahan, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, has decided not to run for re-election this fall. Senator Morahan’s political career extends over thirty years, beginning with election to the Rockland County Legislature in 1977. In his role as Chair of the Senate’s Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities committee, Senator Morahan was responsible for the passage of significant legislation, "Jonathan's Law" and "Timothy’s Law," landmark legislation which ensures mental health parity.

Several months ago, the Senator was diagnosed with an incurable form of leukemia. The Coalition wishes him good fortune and strength in his fight against it. We have been honored to work with the Senator Morahan on behavioral health issues over the years. More information on Senator Morahan’s career can be read here: http://www.lohud.com/article/20105180370 and in his Senate website bio.

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Enterprise-Wide Electronic Health Records (EHR) Demonstration

On Wednesday, June 9, 2010, The Coalition will host a demonstration of Defran Systems flagship software suite, Evolv-CS.  Evolv-CS is a robust case, clinical and financial management system specifically designed to meet the needs of behavioral health and other human services providers.

Evolv-CS handles everything from intake and referral to discharge planning, and includes a fully integrated finance management component that operates as an AR/AP sub-ledger to your agency's GL software. Checks and balances help to ensure proper documentation, resulting in a decrease of denied claims and safeguards against OMIG and other payer take-backs.

Please come early and join us for a buffet lunch at 1:00pm.  The demonstration will take place from 1:30 - 4:30pm at The Coalition's offices located at 90 Broad St., 8th Fl.  For more information and registration go to our website:  http://www.coalitionny.org/prof_learn_ctr/training/series.php?series_id=1004.

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Around the Water Cooler

Trish Marsik, Assistant Commissioner for Mental Health at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has released a detailed Bureau of Mental Health staffing update. As reported in the April 20, 2010 edition of Coalition Briefs, Meggan Schilkie (Coalition alumna) has joined the Bureau as the Deputy Director for Mental Health after her many years in the Executive Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Intergovernmental Affairs. The Bureau has also provided us with an organizational chart.

Coalition Member Notes

The Children’s Aid Society has received its second $1 million grant from The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund for the continuation and expansion of its Subprime Program. They will also receive $900,000 over three years from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support their efforts to expand the implementation of the community schools school-reform strategy across the United States.

The Jewish Child Care Association’s (JCCA) was the benefactor of $752,000 raised to support its programs at the Celebration of Hope cocktail reception on May 6, 2010. The event was held at the Frederick P. Rose, Hall Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. JCCA Trustees Naomi S. Birnbach and Arthur F. Maslow, and the legacy of Mr. Maslow’s father Charles and brothers Lester and Robert were honored at this year’s event. 

Arlene Goldsmith, LCSW, Ph.D., Executive Director of New Alternatives for Children, was honored with the 2010 National Foster Care Leadership Award at the “Who Mentored You to This Moment: A Celebration of Mentors and Mentees Who Make a Difference” on May 15. The award was presented by The Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan, and was co-sponsored by The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Multicultural Audience Development Initiative and the Annie E. Casey Foundation in recognition of Mentorship and National Foster Care Month.  

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Implementing Collaborative (Concurrent) Documentation

Collaborative Documentation is a technique that provides significant benefits in the areas of Capacity Building (Productivity), Compliance, Staff Quality of Life, and Support for Person Centered Services and Client Participation. Studies demonstrate significant time savings and a high degree of both client and clinician satisfaction with the technique.

This training provides a solid practical and conceptual base for the implementation of Collaborative Documentation. A step by step outline of Assessment, Service Planning, and Session elements and approaches will be presented and typical implementation obstacles will be discussed. Finally an implementation plan outline will be presented along with tools to measure client and staff responses and post session documentation time savings.

Two sessions to choose from:

Date:                 June 14, 2010 | 9:00 am – Noon OR June 14, 2010 | 1:30 - 4:30 pm
Where:              The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies | 90 Broad St., 8th Fl.
Cost:                 Free
Facilitator:         William Schmelter, MTM Services
Register online:  http://www.coalitionny.org/prof_learn_ctr/training/series.php?series_id=1121

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OASAS Website Unveils New Criminal Justice Section

A new criminal justice section has been added to the OASAS website to share valuable resources to both consumers and providers. It contains an overview as well as detailed descriptions about the chemical dependence services which are available to individuals in the criminal justice system. Subtopics include: alternatives to incarceration, programs for incarcerated Individuals, transition from prison to community initiative, and vocational rehabilitation and employment retention services. Links are also provided to the DWI and Training sections of the OASAS website and a glossary of Criminal Justice terms.

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CCoC Policy & Advocacy Subcommittee Reconvenes with New Co-Chairs

The Policy and Advocacy Subcommittee of the Coalition on the Continuum of Care (CCoC) met on May 14, 2010, to coordinate its new priorities and ongoing initiatives. The CCoC coordinates homeless planning and policies funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in New York City. The subcommittee will focus on securing McKinney-Vento Reauthorization, HUD contracting issues, expansion of government agency involvement, keeping funding sources whole and collaborating with the other subcommittees on the Continuum.

 At the full CCoC Steering Committee meeting on Friday, May 21, 2010, The Coalition is proud that new Co-Chairs of the Policy and Advocacy Committee, Riva Kelton of the Doe Fund and our own Jason Lippman of The Coalition, were officially approved. The next “PAC” meeting will be held on June 4, 2010, at The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies.

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Savings Accounts Proposed as Alternative to “Rent” in City Shelters

NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Seth Diamond testified at a City Council budget hearing on May 18, 2010, on the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2011 Executive Budget. According to Commissioner Diamond, talks are ongoing between City and State officials to change statutory regulations, which would require the implementation of a savings plan for shelter residents with incomes above a certain level. Under the proposed policy, a modest portion of earnings would be deposited into savings accounts, a saner and more future looking policy that one which charges shelter occupants for their meager lodging.

Just last month, the City had stated that it would move forward on a controversial plan to charge rent to working people living in shelters. The current State law actually requires that a fee be collected from shelter occupants with income earnings. The City has never fully implemented this policy, but had proposed to expand it. There are several technicalities that still need to be worked out in order for a forced savings plan to be authorized. Stay tuned for more updates.

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DOHMH to Hold PROS Educational Forum

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Division of Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) Office of Consumer Affairs will convene a Bronx Consumer Educational Forum on PROS (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services). PROS is a New York State Office of Mental Health initiative that provides integrated rehabilitation, support and treatment services. Topics covered include: services offered by a PROS program, the Individual Recovery Plan, the current status of PROS in New York City, and the effect PROS will have on current services.

The forum is intended for consumers/recipients of mental health services. Providers are welcome to attend; however, the presentation will be geared to the specific concerns of consumers. It will be held on     Wednesday, June 30, 2010 from 3:00pm–5:00pm at Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center, 234 Eugenio Maria De Hostso Blvd (East 149th & Morris Ave) Bronx, NY 10451. If you are traveling via subway, you can take the 2, 4 or 5 train to 149th & Grand concourse. For more information call us at 212-219-5393. I.D. is required to enter building, refreshments will be served.

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Coalition Member Sponsored Events

Coalition Members advertise Events for free on The Coalition’s Member Sponsored Event Board!  Here's a sample:

Date  Event Title
6.2.2010  Ira S. Stevens Conference: Person-Centered Services Part II: On Our Own Terms

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Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
5815  Associate Medical Director
5818 Vocational Specialist
5819 Clinical Operations Training and Assistance Specialist, Behavioral Health and
Behavioral Health Residential Svcs
5820

Project Director Veterans & Families Initiative

5823 Part-Time Social Services: Program Operations / Compliance Assistant
5825 Supervisor of Supported Employment Program

 

 

 

 

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