An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Behavioral Health in New York
August 10 , 2010
State FY 2010-11 Budget is Finally Complete
The final piece of the FY 2010-11 Budget was put in place as lawmakers returned to Albany on Tuesday, August 3, 2001. By a 32-28 vote, along party lines, the Senate approved a bill to raise over $1 billion in new revenue to help close a $9.2 billion deficit. The Assembly had already passed the revenue bill earlier, after the entire Legislature approved all necessary appropriation bills in piecemeal throughout the spring. Budget appropriations for Mental Hygiene and Human Services programs were passed on June 14, 2010, with $151 million in cuts to Mental Hygiene and $175 million to Human Services.
Revenue actions passed this week include a disappointing reduction in allowable tax deductions (from 50% to 25%) for charitable donations made by individuals earning over $10 million per year. This will likely make it more difficult for not-for-profit agencies to raise philanthropic revenue from wealthy donors. Nonprofit service providers already have been operating with fewer charitable donations and less government funding due to the economy and budget cuts in the public sector. The State will also raise revenue from the expansion of operating hours for video lottery terminals and racetrack casinos, charging sales tax on clothing purchases under $110 and online hotel reservations, as well as deferring a number of tax credits for businesses. The tax on sugary beverages, championed by The Coalition and fellow advocates, also failed to pass.
Federal Senate Passes FMAP Extension; State Approves Contingency Plan
On Thursday, August 5, 2010, the Senate in passed a $26 million State Aid bill, which included $16.1 billion to extend enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Payments (FMAP). The House is expected to pass the bill on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. As of now, the existing enhanced FMAP is scheduled to expire after December 31, 2010. New York State now receives FMAP at the rate of 56.2% (normal rate is 50%). While the bill would lower this rate to 53.2% from January – March 2011, and then 51.2% from April – June 2011, it would bring in about $2 billion more in Medicaid funding for New York State, of which $530 million would be provided for New York City.
Just last week, State lawmakers passed an FMAP contingency plan to make up for a $1.1 billion shortfall in New York State’s budget should Congress fail to extend enhanced FMAP. It would call for an across-the-board cut to unspent local assistance funds beginning September 16, 2010, including Medicaid. The NYS Division of Budget has been given authority to release an allocation plan with more details on how the State would realize these cuts. Right now, since Congress appears poised to pass an FMAP extension, cuts in the NYS budget FMAP bill are likely to be less dramatic than originally feared.
City Council Approves FY 2011 Funding for Geriatric Mental Health & Autism Initiatives
The City Council voted to pass FY 2011 funding for its own Geriatric Mental Health Initiative at $2M and its Autism Awareness Initiative at $1.25M on Thursday, July 29, 2010. Both programs were cut by 17% from FY 2010 allocations. In conversations with City officials, The City Council will vote to approve funding appropriations for the Alcoholism/Substance Abuse – Voluntary Sector, Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative and Mental Health Contracts this fall. In the FY 2011 Budget approved by the Council on June 29, 2010, these programs were significantly cut, and are funded at $335K, $1.25M and $450M repeatedly. Negotiations continue on these latter initiatives and likely will not come to a final conclusion until the end of September.
House Passes HUD Appropriations Bill
On Thursday, July 29, 2010, the House passed appropriations bill HR 5850, which includes FY 2011 in funding allocations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). On the Senate side, the Senate T-HUD Appropriations Committee has marked up its spending bill, but the full Senate has not yet voted on it. The House bill allocates:
For more information on the House bill, click here
Around the Water Cooler
Aaron Vieira, Associate Director of The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery, was presented with an award for Distinguished Service to the mental health community by the Trustees of Columbia University – Community Support System (CSS) Program. It was presented at the CSS program’s 15th Annual Client Recognition Day ceremony at the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem. The award recognizes the work Aaron has done to promote and guide recovery-oriented practice within community mental health programs in New York City. Aaron’s colleagues take pride in this tribute to him.
The Coalition congratulates our member, the Institute for Community Living (ICL), for receiving an unqualified three year CARF accreditation for the fourth period in a row. In addition, the CARF survey identified ICL for meeting 17 "strength based" domains and exceptional practice in the area of staff mentorship.
Association of Vocational Rehabilitation in Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (AVRASA) Annual Conference 2010 will be held at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on November, 17, 2010, from 8:30am to 4:00pm, at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, New York 10037. This year’s them is: Emerging Practices: Transdisciplinary Approaches in Rehabilitation.
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OASAS & OMH to Hold Strategic Planning Discussions
OASAS Comprehensive Plan Dialogue
Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo of the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) will host a dialogue to discuss the Statewide Comprehensive Plan 2010-2014: A Strategic Plan for New York State’s Addiction Services System on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. The dialogue will be held via simultaneous videoconference at the following New York State Office For People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) sites around the state: New York City, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse and West Seneca. To register for the Planning Dialogue, please use the online form at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2010DialogueRegistration.
OMH Public Hearing on State Plan
Commissioner Michael Hogan of the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) will host a public hearing on its State Plan Along with development of the Plan via videoconference on Tuesday, August 24, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. It will link three regional sessions to be held in New York City, Albany, and Syracuse to allow for conversation and dialogue about the challenges and opportunities faced by constituents. Please read more about the public hearing on the OMH web site.
Breach Notification Final Rule
On July 28, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it was temporarily withdrawing the Breach Notification Final Rule from review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to allow HHS further time to consider the regulations. The breach notification rule requires covered entities to notify individuals whose protected health information (as defined by HIPAA) has been compromised or breached. HHS intends to publish a final rule in the federal register in the coming months.
The Interim Final Rule for Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information, issued pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, was published in the Federal Register on August 24, 2009, and became effective on September 23, 2009. Following a review of submitted comments, HHS developed a final rule, which was submitted for review to OMB on May 14, 2010.
HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules
On July 14, 2010, HHS’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) proposed significant changes to HIPAA administrative simplification rules as required by the 2009 HITECH Act. In addition to the Breach Notification reporting requirements, HITECH created new privacy requirements and applies the provisions and penalties of the HIPAA Privacy and Security rules to business associates and subcontractors.
After the Proposed Rule is finalized later this year, covered entities and business associates will need to review their HIPAA policies, procedures and existing business associate agreements (BAA) to ensure compliance with these new rules. Business associates will also need to ensure they have agreements in place with subcontractors that receive, create or transmit protected health information.
Although many of the provision under the HITECH Act took effect on February 18, 2010, OCR has recognized the difficult in complying with the Act until final rules are issued. OCR therefore intends to allow up to180 days after the effective date of the final rule for covered parties to comply with the new or modified standards and implementation specifications. In addition, a grandfathering status will apply to existing HIPAA compliant business associate agreements allowing providers to continue to operate under existing agreements for up to one year beyond the compliance date.
The federal government has also indicated that it will expand its HIPAA oversight through compliance reviews and audits. Covered entities and business associates should consider conducting internal HIPAA audits and assessments to help identify and address any areas of concern.
Guidance on Risk Analysis Requirements under the HIPAA Security Rule
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for issuing annual guidance on the provisions in the HIPAA Security Rule. On July 12, 2010, OCR released guidance on risk analysis requirements. The Security rule does not mandate any particular methodology and this guidance is not intended to be universally adopted by all providers. However, going through the exercise of a thorough risk analysis is pivotal to achieving compliance with the Security Rule. This guidance clarifies the expectations of OCR for organizations working to meet the requirements.
White House Announces Coverage for Preventative & Substance Abuse Services Under Healthcare Reform
On Wednesday, July 14, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced new preventative health care coverage made available under the Affordable Care Act. Through the provisions of the Act, new insurance plans are required to provide preventative care without cost-sharing, which would remove financial barriers to care. Insurers may also provide other preventative services, such as screening and brief intervention (SBI) of substance abuse. For more information, go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/first-lady-michelle-obama-dr-jill-biden-hhs-secretary-sebelius-discuss-new-preventi.
HHS Strategic Plan Available on Web for Comments
The draft HHS Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010–2015 is posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Open Government Web site. You can review and comment on the draft plan as well as see the comments posted by others. The public comment period will end August 14, 2010. To comment now, click here.
Americans with Disabilities Act Reaches 20th Anniversary
July 26, 2010 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Act protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination and provides them with equal access an opportunity. The ADA specifically protects 3 categories of individuals: (1) people who have a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) people who have a record of a physical or mental impairment and (3) people who are regarded as having an impairment, whether they have one or not. The ADA was a milestone in its time, and set the mark for equal treatment for people with disabilities in this country.
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