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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
                             September 20 , 2010

 

Primary Day 2010

New York’s Primary Elections were held on Tuesday, September 14, 2010. Predictably voter turnout was low. However, the results did include some surprises. Below are the outcomes from notable races in the New York primaries. Statewide results for all races can be found at: http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/primaries/new-york

The Governor’s Race

Carl Paladino, of Buffalo, New York, defeated former Congressman Rick Lazio in the Republican primary for Governor. While Lazio had the backing of the Republican Party establishment, Paladino infused his campaign with over $3 million of his own money and had the backing of the Tea Party. Paladino will now challenge Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Democrat, who was not contested in the primaries.

Attorney General

Senator Eric Schneiderman won the Democratic primary for Attorney General with a narrow victory over Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney. Other defeated candidates in the race were Sean Coffey, Assembly Member Richard L. Brodsky and Eric Dinallo. Schneiderman will now face Dan Donovan, the Republican Staten Island District Attorney in the general election, who was not contested in primary.

U.S. Senate

Joseph J. DioGuardi, a former Congress Member from Westchester County, who defeated David Malpass and Bruce A. Blakeman in a tight Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. DioGuardi will run against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat, who defeated Gail Goode, a lawyer from New York City, in the Democratic primary. Gillibrand was appointed by Governor Paterson two years ago after her seat was vacated by Hillary Clinton to serve as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration.

Jay Townsend beat Gary Berntsen to win the Republican primary and run against Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat, in the November election.

U.S. House

Representative Carolyn Maloney defeated Reshma Saujani, a lawyer who used to work for a hedge fund, to win the Democratic primary for Congressional District 14. Maloney has served in Congress since 1994, and is favored to win her 10th term against David R. Brumberg, the Republican primary winner, in November.

Representative Charles B. Rangel easily defeated 5 challengers, which included Adam Clayton Powell IV. Rangel, who represents Congressional District 15, has served in Congress for 40 years. Earlier this year, he stepped down from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means committee in the wake of alleged ethics violations.

State Senate

Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada lost to Gustavo Rivera, a first time candidate with backing from the Democratic establishment and unions, in the Democratic primary for District 33. Espada is known for leading a Senate coup last year that brought the chamber to a standstill. He is currently being investigated for allegedly siphoning public dollars out of his health care clinics and living outside of his Bronx district.

State Assembly

Francisco Moya defeated former State Senator Hiram Monserrate in the Democratic primary for the 39th Assembly District in Queens. Monserrate, who was also instrumental in last year’s Senate coup, had been voted out of the Senate by his colleagues after a misdemeanor conviction for assault.  

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OMH Clinic Reform Update

The big news is that the proposed APG reimbursement system has not yet been approved by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, (nor have they approved the indigent care pool or permission to bill for offsite services) but the implementation of the regulations still is planned to go forward on October 1, 2010. Billing during the interim will be complex, utilizing a combination of the 588 rate codes and billing rules and 599 procedure codes and modifiers.  Instructions have just been distributed by OMH describing how to bill during the interim and how to test APG claims.

This last minute change in billing instructions and lack of CMS approvals has provoked real concern by numerous agencies and The Coalition regarding the complexity of the billing; the fear of cash flow problems in an already tight economy; and the probability of some consumers not being served such as the elderly homebound.   A quick member survey done by The Coalition last week indicates that close to 1,000 elderly individuals will be at risk of losing over 20,000 annual services. 

The latest 9-14-10 handouts from the OMH clinic trainings are available on our website.

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FMAP Contingency Cuts Take Effect

The contingency plan approved by the State Legislature for reductions in the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) payments went into effect on Thursday, September 16, 2010. As such, there will be a 1.1% cut on all Medicaid and State Aid payments (with some exemptions) from September 16, 2010 through March 31, 2011. Providers will see this decrease in their payment vouchers from the State.  A bill (S.8479) was introduced in the Senate to repeal the cuts, but did not get much traction despite lobbying from trade groups. There is currently no companion bill in the Assembly.

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Third Annual Recover Rally Set for September 25

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, in support of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, thousands of New Yorkers will gather for the 3rd Annual New York Recovery Rally to celebrate the reality of recovery from addiction and offer hope to those who have yet to find recovery. This national media event at Randall’s Island Park in New York City, made possible by founding sponsor A&E Network’s The Recovery Project and a number of other supporting organizations, will include celebrities, nationally recognized entertainers, leaders from government and non-profit organizations, as well as individuals and families in recovery. For more information on the event, please go to: http://www.oasas.state.ny.us/pio/press/recoverymonth2010.cfm

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Governor Paterson Names Health Care Reform Advisory Committee

On August 31, 2010, Governor Paterson appointed 37 representatives to the Health Care Reform Advisory Committee. The Committee will advise the Governor's Health Care Reform Cabinet on implementing Federal health care reform in New York State. The Advisory Committee includes organizations representing health care providers, consumers, businesses, organized labor, local governments, health plans and health insurers, and health policy experts.

The Health Care Reform Cabinet will be responsible for identifying deadlines for health care reform provisions, determining which provisions are mandatory, evaluating which optional programs are appropriate for New York State to pursue, assessing the State’s capacity to carry out health care reform, identifying laws and regulations that need to be changed to implement the reforms and providing public outreach and education. Our colleague from The New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Lauri Cole, was the sole behavioral health advocate to be appointed to the committee.

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Around the Water Cooler

Michael F. Hogan, PhD, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has been named to the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. This newly-formed public-private collaboration was announced by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday, September 10, 2010.

Good Shepherd Services was awarded $375,000 over three years from the New York Life Foundation to support its Aiming High afterschool program. The program provides leadership, community service and career exploration for at-risk youth in high poverty areas of the Bronx.

Institute for Community Living (ICL) Health Care Choices (HCC) will hold a health education forum on Promoting Consumer Healthcare Management on October 15, 2010. This event is designed to foster dialogue between peers who serve people with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness. Click here to get more information.

FEGS Health and Human Services System has: 1) hired Judith Pincus as Senior Vice President, for the WeCARE Division; 2) received a license extension from OMH to all them to serve 2,500 clients who formerly received services at the Adult Mental Health Outpatient Clinic of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center, and 3) will participate in four of the HEAL 17 grants awards over two years, receiving combined awards of $275,000.

Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey has undergone an executive restructuring. Mauricio Hernandez was named as Executive Vice President Business Operations. Karen Means is now Executive Vice President for Government and Community Relations, Public Relations/Marketing and Communications. Linda Turner has been named Executive Vice President, Programs and Services. Sandy Weinstein has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

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Social Security to Offer Webinar on Applying Online for Disability Benefits

Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 6th at 2:00 p.m. EDT.  We will be offering a webinar at www.socialsecurity.gov that will cover changes to the online disability application process that make it easier and more convenient to use.

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HHS Launches Consumer Fused Website in Spanish 

On September 8, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled CuidadodeSalud.gov (http://www.cuidadodesalud.gov/enes/). CuidadodeSalud.gov is the partner site of HealthCare.gov, which was launched in July 2010, and is the first website in Spanish to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options. The website is also a one-stop-shop for information about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as well as other health care resources.  In October 2010, CuidadoDeSalud.gov will include price estimates for health insurance plans. In the weeks and months ahead, new information on preventing disease and illness and improving the quality of health care for all Americans will also be posted.

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Coalition to Host EMR Demonstration

The Coalition will be hosting a comprehensive demonstration of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for Behavioral Health by Accumedic on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9:30am – 12:30pm. Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 9:00 am. AccuMed™ EMR features include:

  • Form Designer (customize any form, including NYS OMH and OASAS Forms)
  • Treatment Plans, Intake, Progress and Discharge Notes (Individual & Groups)
  • ePrescription and eLabs
  • Case Load Management
  • Alerts, Tasks, and Reminders
  • Robust Appointment Scheduler

AccuMed™ EMR can be accessed from anywhere. It enables clinicians to easily manage the entire process from the initial appointment to electronic clinical documentation and the creation of accurate and compliant claims.

Register online at http://www.coalitionny.org/prof_learn_ctr/training/series.php?series_id=1004.

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IRS Provides Guidance on OTC Drugs

On January 2, 2010, all employer-sponsored health care plans (both grandfathered and non-grandfathered plans), must comply with the new definition of eligible medical expenses as outlined in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA). This applies to employer-provided accident and health plans, including Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. PPACA also revised the definition of “qualified medical expense” for Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). To address these revised definitions, the IRS issued guidance (Notice 2010-59) on September 3, 2010.

As of January 1, 2011, over the counter (OTC) medicines and drugs will generally not be eligible expenses for employer-sponsored health plans. Medicines and drugs that may still be reimbursed under employer-sponsored plans are:

  • • Medicine or drugs that require a prescription under Federal law;
  • • Medicine or drugs that do not require a prescription under Federal law (OTC drugs) if the individual obtains a prescription; and
  • • Insulin.

PPACA did not change the status of over the counter items that are not medicines or drugs. Equipment such as crutches, supplies such as bandages, and diagnostic devices such as blood sugar test kits continue to be eligible expenses.

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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
10.17.2010 

MHA on the move: Run/Walk!

10.17.2010 MHA on the move: Celebration - An Evening of Inspiration!

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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
5892 Mental Health Clinic Supervisor
5893 Utilization Review Specialist
5907

Senior Instructor

5908

Unit Assistant

5910 Vocational/Educational Specialist
5912 Case Assistant/Peer Advocate

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