An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Behavioral Health in New York
April 27, 2011
The SAGE Commission Meets – Behavioral Health on the Agenda
The Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission met for the first time on Monday, April 25, 2011. At the meeting, the Commission was asked by aides to the Cuomo Administration to examine state agency operations in six areas. One area comprises the Department of Health (DOH), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the Office for the Aging. The Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) and the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for People for People with Disabilities, two oversight agencies, were also included in this group. In another area, the Commission will look to streamline services provided by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and Office of Temporary and Disability Services (OTDA). Both of these agencies used to be part of the Department of Social Services until the 1990s.
SAGE was created by Governor Cuomo to streamline state agencies, authorities, and commissions that have overlapping functions and missions. The Commission is chaired by Paul Francis, an aide to Governor Cuomo, and Antonio Perez, CEO of Kodak. Reforms can range from sharing operations along common function or overlap, to full consolidation. This includes the creation of a secretariat to coordinate policies and programs across the health/behavioral health agencies, or the amalgamation of back office functions such as IT, legal, regulatory compliance and quality assurance. The Commission will meet again in mid-May with a goal to develop an initial reorganization plan by June. Final recommendations are now due to the Governor by November.
PCIP Offers Coverage to People with Pre-Existing Conditions
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) was established under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to make health insurance available to people who have difficulty obtaining coverage due to a pre-existing condition. PCIP covers a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. It does not charge patients a higher premium just because of their medical conditions.
To be eligible for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, you must 1) be a citizen or national of the United States or residing in the U.S. legally; 2) have been uninsured for at least the last six months; and 3) have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage because of your health condition. The name, setup and plan details can vary by state. Therefore, it is important to check out the State Plans page on the PCIP website to learn more about how the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan works in your state. In New York State, the premiums range from $362 to $421 per month, with no deductible, and out of pocket limit of $5,950.
For more information and how to apply, go to www.pcip.gov. You can also call a toll-free line at: 1-866-717-5826 (TTY 1-866-561-1604). The Call Center is open from 8 AM to 11 PM Eastern Time.
FY 2011 Federal Budget: Update on Housing & Homeless Programs
On April 15, 2011, President Obama signed the FY 2011 budget into law, which included an unprecedented $38 billion in cuts. FY 2011 covers the period of October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011. Although programs in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were not spared from these cuts, the “good” news (in this fiscal environment) is that some housing and homeless programs remained level or saw slight increases.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance program was funded at $1.9 billion, a $40 million (2%) increase over FY 2010. Most of this increase will be allocated to fund Emergency Solutions Grants to fund Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing (HPRP) programs. While this will help offset the ending of HPRP funding that was allocated in the stimulus bill, it is unlikely that new McKinney-Vento programs will be able to be funded this year. Existing McKinney-Vento funded programs should remain intact.
Other details in the FY 2011 budget for HUD include $50 million funding for HUD-VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) voucher program to subsidize 7,690 new vouchers for veterans who are homeless, though previous bills called for $75 million to fund 10,000 vouchers. Both the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs and Housing for People with AIDS (HOPWA) were kept at FY 2010 levels ($116 million and $335 million respectively).
Unfortunately, zero funding was allocated to the Housing and Services Demonstration Project. This program would have streamlined rental assistance for supportive housing to prepare localities for accessing and providing housing services under health care reform. In addition, the HOME program was cut by 12%, making it more difficult for New York State and New York City to access capital funding to build new supportive housing. Congress is on recess now, but is scheduled to return on May 2, 2011, to begin deliberations on the FY 2012 budget. Stay tuned for more updates.
Coalition Welcomes New Members
The Coalition is proud to welcome to the Coalition family, the following new members:
The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center provides sensitive, quality health care and related services primarily to New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities—in all their diversity—regardless of ability to pay. To further this mission, Callen-Lorde promotes health education and wellness and advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender health issues.
Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County operates 1) a comprehensive network of services in the field of alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment; 2) an early learning center; employment assistance services; 3) a housing resource center, which provides eviction prevention and other types of housing-related assistance with the Orange County Department of Social Services and other community-based agencies; 4) social services, consisting of a variety of bilingual services to individuals and families that includes information and referral, case management/service coordination, emergency assistance for rent, utilities, transportation, food and clothing, entitlement assistance and advocacy; 5) immigration services, 6) maternity and adoption services; as well as 7) affordable health care.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC Metro) is a grassroots organization that provides support, education, and advocacy for families and individuals of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds who live with mental illness. As the largest affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI-NYC Metro works collaboratively with their state and national affiliates, and with other stakeholders in the community to educate the public, advocate for legislation, reduce stigma, and improve the mental health system.
The New Horizon Counseling Center provides diagnostic evaluation, psychotherapeutic, and aftercare services to those experiencing depression, anxiety, phobias, psychosomatic illnesses or other emotional stresses. Children, teens, adults, seniors, and families have received New Horizon Counseling Center services for 25 years. With nine locations and outreach to the community (homes, schools, workplaces, adult homes, etc.), The New Horizon Counseling Center is one of New York's largest community nonprofit agencies.
SCO Family of Services is New York’s largest child and family services agency – touching the lives of over 30,000 children and families with a variety of needs throughout New York City and Long Island. Founded in 1895, SCO has been transforming lives for more than a century. SCO’s core programs include developmental disability services, homeless services, family counseling and community services, early childhood programs, foster care and adoption, youth services, mental health services, special education schools and schools for at-risk teens, and programs in public schools
Sephardic Bikur Holim is a nonprofit mental health and social service agency dedicated to caring for people in need with compassion, discretion, and respect. They provide for the health, sustenance, support, and well-being of children and adults, the infirm and the disadvantaged through an ever-expanding spectrum of services, programs and resources.
To become a member, download a PDF Membership Application/Dues worksheet. Return the completed application and worksheet via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 212-742-2080, attention Jason Lippman.
Earlier this month, The Coalition announced a new policy and advocacy blog called “The Coalition Briefs Blog.” You can access it at the following link: http://coalitionny.wordpress.com/. This new resource will allow our members and other stakeholders to keep up-to-date on The Coalition’s advocacy and related policy news. The blog will be an important tool during the upcoming City budget negotiations, as well as in all future state budget plans. We encourage you to visit the blog and sign up to receive “brief” updates.
This popular half-day training, facilitated by Center Director Dr. Courtenay Harding, will provide evidence from the eleven long-term studies of serious and persistent psychiatric problems, which revealed that most people can significantly improve and many even recover over time. The stories about how staff participated in helping people reclaim their lives inspire us all. Dr. Courtenay Harding will show that hope, temperament, and human resilience of both staff and consumers all play roles in the recovery process. This free workshop will take place at the Coalition on May 19, 2011, from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Register now »
In response to requests for additional training as clinics implement Part 599, the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) will offer a webinar on clinic restructuring on May 12, 2011, from 9am to 12pm. The webinar will be comprised of a training and discussion on the basics of clinic restructuring, with finance issues being covered by Glenn Gravino, and program issues being covered by Donna Bardbury. Gary Weiskopf and Gwen Diamond will go over policy updates related to clinic reform. You can register for the webinar at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/528391417. Questions can be sent in advance to email@example.com.
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) invites you to attend a mental health planning forum. It will be held on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at 125 Worth Street, 2nd Floor Auditorium (ID required to enter). The purpose of this forum is to help DOHMH determine systematic goals and priorities to improve the City’s mental health service system. This is an opportunity to share suggestions, speak about unmet needs and highlight priorities for 2012.
The meeting format will involve public testimonies (three minutes per individual or organization). Participants may also provide DOHMH with a copy of your testimony at the meeting. If you would like to submit a testimony by email, please do so by 1:00 pm on Wednesday, May 11th to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reserve your seat by calling the DOHMH Call Center at (347)-396-7960 by 5:00 pm on Friday, May 6th. Seating is limited.
Carol Raphael will step down as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VSNY), after 20 years. While an exact date has not been set, Ms. Raphael says that she is looking to leave at the end of this year (or longer if necessary). During her career, Ms. Raphael has been appointed to numerous advisory commissions, boards and councils. She currently serves on Governor Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team. Prior to joining VNSNY, Ms. Raphael held positions as Director of Operations Management at Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration in charge of the Medicaid and Public Assistance programs in New York City. She has authored papers and presentations on post-acute, long-term and end-of-life care and co-edited the book Home Based Care for a New Century. Ms. Raphael has an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and was a Visiting Fellow at the Kings Fund in the United Kingdom. Ms. Raphael was recently listed in Crain’s New York Business 50 Most Powerful Women in New York City.
Bronx children will be able to get their health care in a brand new facility, thanks to a project spearheaded by The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) with financing from the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC). CAS acquired the 40,000 square foot replacement facility for its Bronx Family Center, nearly doubling capacity for its existing medical, dental and mental health services programs. The building, located in the Morrisania area of the Bronx at East 172nd Street, will provide over 15,000 visits per year to 4,000 children living in foster care, as well as children participating in other CAS programs.
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has begun the development of the site of Our Lady of Loreto Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Catholic Charities will use the site to develop 64 units of affordable housing, while maintaining the church for community use. The housing will be designated for families with incomes up to 60% of Area Median Income, with preference given to residents in Community Board 16. This $18,000,000 project is financed through the NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), the Housing Trust Fund, as well as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Additional subsidies are being provided by the City of New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
Astor Services for Children & Families has received a $200,000 grant from Robin Hood of New York, a poverty-fighting organization. The money will support an Astor program in the Bronx that "helps children with serious emotional problems transition from the Lawrence F. Hickey Center for Child Development and the Early Childhood Day Treatment Program into public school with ongoing supportive services." Read more in the Poughkeepsie Journal.
Odyssey House’s Family Center of Excellence will hold an open house on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, from 12-3 at Odyssey House Manor Family Center. Address is 219 E. 121st Street. RSVP to Ayodelle Carnagie at 212-987-5110.
The 6th annual National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day will be held on May 3, 2011. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day National is a day to promote positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. This year, the national theme will focus on building resilience in young children dealing with trauma. Communities around the country will participate by holding their own Awareness Day events, focusing either on the national theme, or adapting the theme to the populations they serve. On Awareness Day 2010, more than 1,000 sites held Awareness Day events and nearly 11,000 children and youth participated. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is a key strategy of the Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign (the Campaign), which is part of the Public Awareness and Support Strategic Initiative by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. It highlights the importance of children's mental health and how it is essential to a child's healthy development from birth.
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