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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
                          July 14, 2011

Coalition Celebrates 2011 Annual Leadership Awards

The room overflowed with warm feelings on Wednesday, July 13, 2011, as The Coalition celebrated its 27th Annual Leadership Awards Reception. The event recognized various individuals for their outstanding leadership and commitment to improving the lives of people with behavioral health disabilities, for helping to promote their recovery and for dedicated efforts to preserve and nurture New York’s community behavioral health sector.

This year, The Coalition honored with its Leadership Award 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. We also presented Member Service Awards to our own 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.

The Leadership Awards event was held at Pfizer World Headquarters: 235 East 42nd Street, New York City, and was attended by over 250 people. Among the attendees were Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz who chairs the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Council Member Gale Brewer, who chairs the Committee on Governmental Operations and sits on the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services; Jamin Sewell from Council Member G. Oliver Koppell’s office; and representatives from Assembly Member Felix Ortiz’s office. Dr. Adam Karpati, Executive Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and Marla Simpson, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Contracts were also on hand. Thank you to everyone who turned out for this special event last night.

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City Council Passes FY 2012 Budget with Behavioral Health Restorations

On June 29, 2011, the City Council voted to adopt the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget. Overall, behavioral health funding fared pretty well (with some exceptions). Thank you to the City Council for supporting the community-based behavioral health programs in this year’s budget and to all Coalition members who helped with The Coalition’s FY 2012 City Council advocacy.

In the FY 2012 Budget, the Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative was fully restored at $1.25 million. “Children Under Five” is a 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 Geriatric Mental Health Initiative (GMHI) was completely restored at $2 million. GMHI is a Council Initiative that provides mental health services in nontraditional, neighborhood-based settings that are places of trust and comfort for older adults. This funding greatly enhances the ability of 25 experienced organizations to provide a range of mental health services in “non-clinical settings.” Mental Health Contracts was totally restored at $450,000. This Council program funds 7 community-based agencies that provide diverse but essential behavioral health services in a variety of delivery models, including The Coalition’s Professional Learning Center (PLC). To our dismay, the City Council’s Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Programs was completely cut. Last year, $335,000 was allocated to 8 agencies across the City that provide a range of alcoholism and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for children, adults and families struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.                                                                 

The City Council also made partial restorations to the NYC Mental Hygiene Contracted Services PEG at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). This was a $4.86M cut that was restored at $2.66M. The Council also fully restored a $3.1M PEG at the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC).

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The Coalition Heads to D.C for National Council’s Hill Day  

Next week, The Coalition will be joining the National Council for its 7th Annual Public Policy Institute and Hill Day at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C. on July 19th and 20th. 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.

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Governor Nominates James C. Cox for NYS Medicaid Inspector General

On July 8, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the nomination of James C. Cox to serve as the New York State Medicaid Inspector General. If confirmed, he will replace James Sheehan, the current Medicaid Inspector General.

For 23 years, Mr. Cox has worked in the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General's Office of Audit Services. He served most recently as Regional Inspector General for Region V, which consists of six Midwestern states. In this role he coordinated national and regional audits for Medicare and Medicaid, and helped create a joint Department of Justice and Health and Human Services task force to combat waste, fraud and abuse in government programs. Previously, Mr. Cox was Supervisory Auditor for Region II, responsible for three field offices; Puerto Rico, New York City, and Albany. He organized joint efforts between Federal and State law enforcement and auditing agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, New York State Office of the Comptroller, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He served as National Audit Manager, during which nine audit reports were issued resulting in disallowances totaling $35 million. Prior, Mr. Cox was a Senior Auditor in the Albany Field Office.

Advocacy on the NYS Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) policy has been a priority of The Coalition and a network of statewide advocates who pushed for a bill to curb the actions of OMIG auditors in the field. Last month, both houses passed bill # S3184A/A05686A, sponsored by Senator Betty Little and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, to afford providers due process protections and ensure that OMIG audits are conducted in a fair and consistent manner. Recently, The Coalition was one of over 600 organizations to sign-on to a letter urging Governor Cuomo to sign the bill into law.

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New Member Announcement

We are pleased to welcome to our ranks, Community Access. Led by Steve Coe, Chief Executive Officer, and Deputy COO’s Cal Hedigan and Alysia Pascaris (a Coalition alumna), Community Access assists people with psychiatric disabilities in making the transition from shelters and institutions to independent living. They provide safe, affordable housing and support services, and they advocate for the rights of people to live without fear or stigma.

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Around the Water Cooler

ICD-International Center for the Disabled has been selected as one of 31 vendors across the nation – including just three nonprofits – to be awarded a contract for Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) services with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). During the five-year contract period, ICD will provide initial assessment, case management, job placement, education and vocational counseling services to veterans across the area, from New York City to Albany.

Greenwich House has fully assumed the operation of three senior centers of The Caring Community, which had been a year-long alliance between Greenwich House and The Caring Community to help preserve senior services in Greenwich Village. The three programs (located at 20 Washington Square North, Our Lady of Pompeii Church and Independence Plaza) will now operate under the name of The Caring Community at Greenwich House. Implementation and planning of this move, which will provide financial stability and preserve much needed services, was assisted with the support of the New York State Health Foundation.

The Institute for Family Health (IFC) has purchased the six-story Harlem building that had been the home of North General Hospital located at 1824 Madison Avenue. At this site, IFC plans to operate 28 primary care exam rooms, a dental suite, a 14-room counseling center, an eight-room medical specialty suite, a WIC program for pregnant and postpartum nutrition assistance, and a community space for health education and meetings. The IFH clinic will operate seven days a week, including holidays.

Dr. Philip H. Levy, announced his retirement as Chief Executive Officer and President of the YAI Network upon the conclusion of his contract on June 30, 2011, after 40 years of service to the agency. Stephen E. Freeman, L.C.S.W., Chief Operating Officer of the YAI Network, who has worked at YAI for 35 years will now be the new Chief Executive Officer.

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Schneiderman Announces Members of A.G.’S Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on June 27, 2011, the members of his Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization. This task force is composed of 29 leaders in the nonprofit sector from across New York State. They will be charged with presenting a series of recommendations to the Attorney General to reduce the regulatory burdens and costs on nonprofits, while strengthening accountability. Among the appointees are Richard R. Buery, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Aid Society; Cecilia Clarke, Founder and Executive Director of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project; Fatima Goldman is the Executive Director and CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Inc.; James A. "Jack" Krauskopf, Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management in the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College; and Michael Stoller, Executive Director of the Human Services Council (HSC).

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NYS DOH to Present Webinar on Medicaid Health Homes

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) will convene a webinar to discuss the draft Health Home State Plan Amendment for Individuals with Chronic Medical and Behavioral Health Conditions and the Health Home provider application. It will occur on Thursday, July 21, 2011 from 2:00pm - 3:30pm, and will be led by Greg Allen, Director, and Lauren Tobias, Asst. Director of the Div. of Financial Planning and Policy will be presenting. Space is limited, so reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/396952888. A draft version of the State Plan Amendment on health homes was released on June 30, 2011. If you would like to have your questions answered during the webinar, please submit them to HH2011@health.state.ny.us by Tuesday, July 19th.  

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OMH to Hold Smoking Cessation Webinars on July 27th & 28th

The NYS Office of Mental Health’s (OMH) Bureau of Cultural Competence is hosting two webinars on smoking cessation. The first one titled “Epidemiology of Tobacco Dependence in People with Serious Mental Illness and Pharmacologic Treatment” will occur on July 27th from 10:30am -12:30pm. The second will be held on July 28th from 10:30am – 12:30pm, and it is titled “Assessment and Counseling Strategies to Help People as part of Recovery from Tobacco Dependence and the NYS Partnership Plan.” Register Now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/592835553.

The smoking cessation webinars will be presented by Dr. Gregory Miller: Medical Director, Adult Services NYS OMH; and Teresa Armon, RN MS NPP, OMH Adult Services, Tobacco Cessation Initiative Co-Director. They will cover OMH’s Smoking Cessation Initiative that will involve efforts to increase “Assessment & Counseling” and “Medication” access and resources for tobacco cessation to form an important strategy. This presentation will discuss important strategic directions that OMH is pursuing such as the disseminating specialty training, engaging recipients and advocates for people with SMI to work with us to promote our efforts, driving policies and regulation that encourage wellness and tobacco dependence treatment in all mental health treatment settings. We know that it is possible for people to stop smoking, even when they live with serious mental illness. Our goal is to give all of our recipients all the opportunity and help they need to quit smoking.

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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
6133 Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC)
6139 Forensic Case Manager
6142

Director of Communications

6146

Director of Mental Health Services

6147 Bilingual (Spanish/English) Fee-for-Service Psychotherapist
6151 Attendance Outreach Liaison

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