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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
                          June 23, 2011


Come celebrate The Coalition's 27th Annual Awards Reception on Wednesday, July 13, 2011. This year, we will be honoring Linda Gibbs, NYC Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services; Michael Hogan, Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health; and Linda Rosenberg, CEO, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare; with Leadership Awards. In addition, Carmen Collado, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services; and Ed Ross, Director of Behavioral Health at International Center for the Disabled; will receive Member Service Awards. The Leadership Awards event is scheduled to run from 4:00pm - 6:30pm, at Pfizer World Headquarters: 235 East 42nd Street, New York City (between 2nd & 3rd Ave). Click here: to register.


City Council Budget Advocacy Heats Up

With news of City Council behavioral health restorations remaining in jeopardy, The Coalition continues to push for sustained funding of the mental health and chemical dependency programs that reach New Yorkers who are currently underserved. As the Council’s budget negotiating team (BNT) reaches its final stages before the Mayor and Council announce an agreement by June 30th, The Coalition continues to engage BNT members. Throughout the budget advocacy season, we have also helped to coordinate City Council Member briefings and press conferences, as well as advocacy among Coalition members.  

May 26th – Council Member G. Oliver Koppell holds Briefing & Press Conference for the Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative. The Children Under 5 Mental Health Initiative is a $1.25 million Council Initiative that supports 8 diverse agencies, in all 5 boroughs of New York City. It provides needed mental health services to children, and their families, who have experienced significant trauma. The “Children Under Five” providers serve a cohort of children who exhibit behavioral difficulties because they have experienced or been exposed to violence and abuse. Left untreated, these issues will likely worsen and bring larger costs later on, both financially and in terms of life outcomes. Providers of the Children Under Five Initiative run programs that utilize trauma-informed interventions with linkages to child services like pediatricians, preschool teachers and child welfare workers. The City Council’s funding helps to support the hiring of clinicians (creative arts therapists, psychologists experienced with projective drawing and play therapists) who are proficient in the types of interventions that work well with young children who may not be able to verbalize their experiences. To date, this initiative has helped over 4,000 children and their families.  To show your support for “Children Under Five,” please contact your local City Council Member.

June 7th – Council Member G. Oliver Koppell holds Briefing & Press Conference on the Geriatric Mental Health Initiative. The Geriatric Mental Health Initiative (GMHI) is a $2 million Council Initiative that provides mental health services in nontraditional, neighborhood-based settings that are places of trust and comfort for older adults. Since 2005, the City Council has designated GMHI funding to a diverse range of community-based mental health providers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. From the beginning the intent of the Geriatric Mental Health Initiative has been to enhance and expand the capacity of community-based organizations that provide mental health services to older adults, many of whom live in isolated settings. This funding greatly enhances the ability of 25 experienced organizations to provide a range of mental health services in “non-clinical settings” such as senior centers, drop-in centers, religious institutions, social clubs, homeless prevention programs and in the home. The need for this initiative has increased substantially, as offsite visits to homebound geriatrics with mental illness will no longer be covered by Medicaid. To show your support for the Geriatric Mental Health, please contact your local City Council Member.

Mental Health Contracts

Mental Health Contracts is a Council program that provides $450,000 to 7 distinct agencies, Citywide, including $85,000 for The Coalition’s Professional Learning Center (PLC). The PLC provides quality learning opportunities, technical assistance and training to staff and leadership of publicly funded community-based behavioral health agencies throughout New York City. At this critical stage in Medicaid redesign, providers are relying more heavily on The Coalition to help them navigate through the mandatory enrollment into behavioral health organizations (BHOs), the eventual transition to managed care, maximizing Medicaid and Medicare revenues, compliance with audits by the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) and seeking funding opportunities through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Mental Health Contracts also funds community-based agencies that provide diverse but essential behavioral health services in a variety of delivery models. Examples include a transitional living community for homeless women with psychiatric disabilities; mental health and substance abuse outreach to Asian immigrants; the NYC LINK Program to connect individuals with severe mental illness to who are homeless and currently or have been in jail, prison or on parole; and a health and consultation center for seniors which offers affordable primary and mental health care. To show your support for Mental Health Contracts and The Coalition’s PLC, please contact your local City Council Member.

Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Programs

The City Council designates $335,000 to 8 diverse agencies, Citywide, that provide a range of alcoholism and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for children, adults and families struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. One program supported by this initiative provides substance abuse treatment to impoverished Asian-American immigrants who lack health insurance. Program staff is able to speak 16 different Asian languages. Another program subsidizes substance abuse treatment to adolescents who lack health insurance, and also enables staff to offer guidance to parents of substance abusing teens, a services that is not reimbursed through Medicaid or other third party insurance. To show your support for these Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Programs, please contact your local City Council Member.


The National Council’s Hill Day is July 19th & 20th

The Coalition is joining the National Council for its 7th Annual Public Policy Institute and Hill Day on July 19-20, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C. Each year at Hill Day, hundreds of behavioral health providers, administrators, board members, consumers, and community stakeholders come to Washington for a full day of sessions and workshops on federal behavioral health policy, followed by visits with their elected officials on Capitol Hill to advocate for our field's priorities. Here are links to policy issues and resources related to Hill Day: Healthcare Reform I Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Centers I Health Information Technology I Mental Health Block Grant I Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Block Grant | Community Mental Health I Medicaid I Primary Care - Behavioral Health Collaboration I Social Security Disability I Expansion of Education & Prevention Practices I Parity. We strongly encourage all Coalition members to attend.


Coalition Representatives Named to MRT Behavioral Health Workgroup

Donna Colonna, Executive Director of Services for the UnderServed & President of The Coalition, and Phillip A. Saperia, Chief Executive Officer of The Coalition, have been invited to participate on the Medicaid Redesign Team’s (MRT) Behavioral Health Reform Work Group. The mission of the Behavioral Health Workgroup is to consider the integration of substance abuse and mental health services, as well as the integration of these services with physical health care services, through the various payment and delivery models; examine opportunities for the co-location of services and also explore peer and managed addiction treatment services and their potential integration with BHOs; and provide guidance about health homes and propose other innovations that lead to improved coordination of care between physical and mental health services. The Behavioral Health Reform Work Group will be co-chaired by MRT members Michael Hogan, New York State Commissioner of OMH and Linda Gibbs, New York City Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services.


OMIG Reform Bill Passes!

The Coalition and other advocates are delighted that a bill to begin reigning in the NYS Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) was passed by the NYS Legislature. Bill # S3184A/A05686A sponsored by Senator Betty Little and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried would afford providers due process protections to ensure that OMIG audits are conducted in a fair and consistent manner. As per language included in the bill, OMIG would:

  • not be allowed to re-audit claims within the last 3 years (unless new information arises)
  • have to abide by the laws, regulations, policies, guidelines, standards & interpretations of appropriate State agencies
  • no be allowed to make recoveries on administrative or technical defects (unless there is an intent to falsify or defraud)
  • have to provide a detailed written explanation of the extrapolation method employed
  • allow providers the opportunity to correct technical errors and resubmit these claims within 30 days of notice.

The OMIG reform bill was passed by the Senate on Monday, June 20th and the Assembly on Thursday, June 23, 2011. Although significant provisions have been deleted from the bill as originally introduced, and its effective date would be delayed until 10/1/11, we will continue to keep our fingers crossed that it will be signed into law by Governor Cuomo.


Extension of Corporate Practice Waiver Deadline Passed by Legislature, Bill Awaits Governors Signature

Last week, both the Assembly and Senate passed legislation to extend the deadline for nonprofits to apply for a waiver to the corporate practice prohibitions against employing licensed social workers and other licensed professionals. Bill number A8298/S5713 sponsored by Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick and Senator Owen Johnson would extend the filing deadline until February 1, 2012. Due to prohibitions in New York State law against the "corporate practice" of the professions, certain not-for-profit, religious and education corporations that are providing professional services must apply for a waiver to continue providing those professional services. Information on the Waiver process and applications can be found at the SED Office of the Professions website.


Governor Announces Five Year Labor Agreement w/ CSEA

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on June 22, 2011, that his administration has reached a five-year labor agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA).The agreement includes a freeze on base wages for 3 years and a redesign of the employee health care contribution and benefit system, saving $73 million this fiscal year and $93 million next fiscal year. If adopted by the state's other collective bargaining units, the agreement will reduce workforce costs by $1.63 billion over the course of the agreement, including $1.27 billion of savings in healthcare costs, and would achieve sufficient savings to avoid the need for broad layoffs arising from the gap in the state operations budget. Overall, the five-year agreement if adopted statewide would be $3.8 billion less expensive to the state than the previous four-year agreement reached in 2007.


OTDA Releases Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP) RFP

On Friday, June 17th, the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) announced a funding opportunity under the newly created New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP). The RFP will make approximately $20.4M in funding available statewide for direct services to permanent or transitional housing through support activities designed to promote greater independence and housing stability. This RFP consolidates the Single Room Occupancy Support Services Program (SRO) and the Supported Housing for Families and Young Adults Program (SHFYA) into one program which will be named the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP). 

The NYSSHP RFP provides $17.85M in SRO Support Services funding. This will allow OTDA to fund existing contracts, but not expand to meet the existing state need. The RFP also designates $2.55M in SHFYA funding. Although this is only half of previous SHFYA funding levels, it will allow OTDA to continue to fund SHFYA programs. The Governor’s Budget originally proposed to eliminate SHFYA funding, so half is better than zero. All supportive housing programs that currently have direct contracts with OTDA must respond to this RFP to continue funding. 


Coalition Welcomes New Members

The Coalition is proud to announce that the following new members have joined!

The Brooklyn Center for Families in Crisis (BCFC) is a community-based out-patient mental health clinic conveniently located in the historic Ditmas Park / Flatbush section of Brooklyn. The center offers a comfortable and confidential environment. BCFC is dedicated to excellence in helping families and individuals resolve and cope with stress and emotional problems. To meet this objective BCFC provides a multi-disciplinary approach including: individual psychotherapy, child and adolescent psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, couples counseling, psychiatric evaluation and medication therapy.

Daytop Village provides compassionate, family oriented substance abuse treatment for adults and teens. Daytop is based on the Therapeutic Community (TC) model. Individualized treatment plans provide professional counseling, medical, social and spiritual attention. This program has transformed thousands of lives. The Therapeutic Community (TC) is a style of treatment that engages the whole person in the recovery process and challenges the individual to have a full, positive life with healthy supportive relationships and satisfying work.

The Epilepsy Foundation Metropolitan New York, a non-profit social service organization, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with epilepsy and their families. Program services are available to residents of New York City and Westchester County. The Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York is now in its fifth decade of operations - providing comprehensive social services to generations of New Yorkers.

The Floating Hospital was founded by the St. John’s Guild of Trinity Church in 1866 as NYC’s first pediatric charity hospital. It has served those in need continuously for 145 years, and is currently the largest provider of medical, mental health and dental services to NYC’s homeless family population, including women, children and victims of domestic violence.

The Institute for Family Health’s mission is to improve the quality and availability of family practice services in response to the needs of medically underserved populations. In support of this mission, the Institute develops and operates health facilities on a family practice model integrating the work of a broad range of health professionals; trains health professionals and other health care workers in the family practice model of care; engages in health services research related to primary health care delivery and primary care education; formulates health policy in support of its direct patient care and educational goals; and promotes the diversity of its workforce and provides an environment that encourages personal and professional development for all.

To become a member, download a PDF Membership Application/Dues worksheet. Return the completed application and worksheet via email to jlippman@coalitionny.org or fax to 212-742-2080, attention Jason Lippman.


City Trainings on Capacity Building & Oversight

The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services Capacity Building and Oversight Unit has updated its summer training schedule. On July 12th, they will offer “Best Practices in Human Resources” from 9am-12pm; on July 14th is “Lobbying and Nonprofit Compliance” from 9am-12pm; and “Capacity Building Training for Council-funded Community Partners” will be offered on July 28th from 9am-5pm. These trainings are designed for board members and key management staff, but any staff member can attend if interested. If you have any questions please contact Bryan Epps at bepps1@cityhall.nyc.gov or 212-676-9748.


Around the Water Cooler

Comings & Goings

The water coolers are buzzing about James Sheehan, who heads the Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG), about news reported in the New York Nonprofit Press on June 16, 2011, that he has been asked to step down. The next day, the  Albany Times Union's Capitol Confidential blog  and Crain’s Health Pulse also ran stories on the OMIG’s departure. So far no official announcement made by the Cuomo Administration.

Venture House announces the retirement of its founding Executive Director, David Lehmann. With Venture House since 1988, David has developed an ICCD Certified Clubhouse serving nearly a thousand members with hundreds of them returning to gainful employment. Ninety-two of its members live independently, in the community, with supports from the Clubhouse. David has served as Vice President and Co-chair of the NYAPRS Board. He is a charter member of the ICCD Faculty, as a member of its Advisory Council and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies. David is stepping down as co-Chair of our Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery’s Board Committee.  

Ray Schwartz, Associate Executive Director of Venture House since 1994, has been appointed Executive Director unanimously by the Venture House Board of Directors effective August 1, 2011. Ray is currently the Chair of the NYAPRS Public Policy Committee. He serves on the ICCD Faculty as well as the Organizing Committee of the US Clubhouse Coalition. Prior to joining Venture House, Ray worked at the New York City Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services. He has completed the Executive Level program of the Columbia University Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.

Coalition alumnus, Josh Rubin has joined the Mental Health Association of New York City as Chief Operating Officer. He stepped down from his previous position at YAI Network on May 13, 2011, after almost four years.

Member Galas & Ceremonies

More than 300 friends and supporters turned out to honor Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) Trustee Barbara B. Mann and alumnus Raymond Taylor, at this year’s Celebration of Hope benefit last month. The event raised a record-breaking $875,000 in support of the agency’s services. JCCA is a comprehensive child and family services agency that helps more than 16,000 children and families every year.

Services for the UnderServed honored Rob Davis at “Celebrating Independence,” the Annual Services for the UnderServed gala, held on Monday, June 6th at the Allen Room and Atrium in Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. More than 300 supporters turned out for the gala. The event raised over $375,000 for Services for the UnderServed, which provides housing and supportive services to over 4,000 New Yorkers with diverse special needs and multiple challenges, enabling them to live with dignity in their communities, direct their own lives, and attain personal fulfillment. 

The Mental Health Association of Westchester’s (MHA) was recently honored by Mental Health America, the umbrella agency for mental health associations nationwide. The national group selected MHA’s Nuestro Futuro program to receive the 2011 Betty Humphrey Cultural Competency award, which is given annually to one Mental Health America affiliate for outstanding achievements in providing culturally competent mental health services that address racial, ethnic and cultural disparities.

Fountain House and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital cut the ribbon last week on a new location for The Sidney Baer Center, a new medical facility integrating physical and behavioral health and wellness. A joint project of Fountain House and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, The Baer Center has been providing for the psychiatric and physical health needs of Fountain House members for more than a decade. The renovation of its new location at 347 West 37th Street in Manhattan was funded by the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation. This new project will help poise Fountain House for success in the challenges of healthcare integration.

Northside Center for Child Development celebrated its 65th Anniversary on June 7th. The Gala, which was held at the Plaza Hotel,  raised over $900,000 to support Northside’s educational, mental/behavioral and social services to children and families in East and Central Harlem.

Member Funding Awards

The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services has received a three-year, $465,000 grant from The Irving Harris Foundation. The grant will support JBFCS’ Institute for Infants, Children and Families (IICF) and its  programs address the mental health needs of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families, especially immigrants and children of color living in poverty. These initiatives provide direct services and consultation in community-based settings, professional training, and advocacy, all through a developmental, attachment, strength-centered, and trauma lens.

The Guidance Center of Westchester has received a $35,000 grant from the Westchester Community Foundation to support its Center for College and Careers in Mount Vernon High School. This grant represents a $10,000 increase over previous years funding so The Guidance Center can help low-income students prepare for, get accepted to and succeed in college. 


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
6114 Director of Software Applications, Apps Development and Training
6118 Medicaid Service Coordinator

Program Director - Dept Code JC


Part Time Teacher

6124 Site Director - Residential Therapeutic Community
6128 Spanish Speaking Fee-For-Service Psychotherapist



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