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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
                       January 10, 2012

Riding the Roller Coaster of Change - A Coalition Conference on Transformation

We’re all geared up and ready for “Riding the Roller coaster of Change: Behavioral Health in Transition.” You still have time to Reserve your seat, register online NOW!  

PLEASE NOTE: Change of Venue!

The conference will now be held at the New York Academy of Medicine 1216 Fifth Ave. at 103rd Street. Directions »

Conference Details

Confused about the multiple initiatives facing behavioral health in New York?  Want to understand the landscape of change? Link up with your colleagues and public officials in unlocking the code of reform.

Please join our keynote speaker, Chuck Ingoglia, Vice President, Public Policy at the National Council for a national perspective of health care changes. Gregory Allen, Director, Division of Financial Planning and Policy, New York State Department of Health (DOH) will talk about new State initiatives and William Fishbein, Executive Director of the newly designated OptumHealth Behavioral Health Organization in NY City.

The afternoon will feature a panel of Health Plans including Affinity Health Plan and Amida Care, a panel of Health Homes including Bronx Accountable Healthcare Network, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center & CBC/FEGS Health and Human Services System, Community Healthcare Network, Institute for Community Living/Coordinated Behavioral Care, Maimonides Medical Center, NYC Health & Hospitals Corp and Visiting Nurse Service of NY Home Care.  The afternoon will conclude with a consumer response to all these changes.

The cost of registration is $175 for Coalition members and $225 for non-members. Seats are going fast so register online NOW to reserve your spot. For questions about your registration please contact Scott at scott@fscgroupinc.com or Negri Management Resources at 518-436-8712. For information on discounted rates for government staff and consumers, please contact Negri Management Resources, LLC at jackie@nycap.rr.com or 518-436-8712.


Governor Cuomo Delivers State of State Address

On January 4, 2012, Governor Cuomo gave his second State of the State address where he called for “holding the line on spending this year,” by planning to close the State’s $2 billion budget deficit with no new taxes or fees.

In his address, Governor Cuomo called for a transformation in the way that the State delivers services to people with disabilities. According to Governor Cuomo, New York spends more than any other state on services and support provided by government, nonprofit and private agencies; yet the State ranks in the bottom quartile among states in serving adults with disabilities. The Governor called for recognition of the barriers faced by each individual served, focusing on quality, prevention, streamlining and simplifying access to services. Governor Cuomo appealed to “guiding” individuals from institutional to community-based care, providing access to affordable and accessible housing, and promoting employment of people with disabilities. The Governor also called for “erasing” the stigmas associated with people with disabilities. Governor Cuomo said that the State must ensure the safety of those in our care, and said that the State is engaged in a comprehensive review of “relevant” programs and we will implement reforms to better protect against abuse and neglect.

Governor Cuomo called for enacting legislation necessary to establish the New York State Health Insurance Exchange. The Governor proclaimed that New York has the unique opportunity to address the problems of 2.7 million people (16% of New Yorker’s) who do not have health insurance by developing an insurance exchange that will be financed entirely by the federal government. According to Governor Cuomo, when the Exchange is implemented more than one million New Yorkers will gain health coverage and individuals who currently buy their coverage directly will see their cost drop by 66%; small businesses will see the cost of providing coverage to their employees drop by 22%; $1.7 billion that taxpayers currently contribute to offset the cost of providing care to the uninsured will be significantly reduced; the increased federal Medicaid match that recognizes New York’s higher Medicaid eligibility levels will bring an additional $18 billion in funds to the state over 10 years


SAGE Commission Recommends Potential OMH & OASAS Merger

The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (SAGE) recommended combining the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) in their report under the heading “other potential mergers.” According to the SAGE Commission’s report, roughly 40% of people served by OMH and OASAS have a co-occurring diagnosis of mental health and substance abuse. Many providers serve both populations, and both organizations have common relationships with counties, Managed Care Organizations and similar field organizations. The full report was issued on December 15, 2011, and can be read here: 12.15 Presentation.


SAMHSA FY 2012 Funding Gets Authorized

On December 23, 2011, President Obama signed the “megabus” bill approved by Congress on December 15, 2011. It contains the remaining nine bills that make up the 2012 budget. The bill includes several noteworthy funding increases for behavioral health programs, considering that the original House proposal included massive reductions.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was cut by $27 million for a total of $3.5 billion in funding. This total amount will be subject to an additional 0.189% cut that was included in the “megabus” bill; details of how this cut will be applied have yet to emerge. Details on SAMHSA funding levels can be accessed here.

Within the SAMHSA budget, several key programs received funding increases. The Mental Health Block Grant is funded at $460.6 million for a $41 million increase over FY 2011. (This was the first increase in the last 10 year). The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant is funded at $1.8 billion, representing a $21 million increase over FY 2011. The SAMHSA portion of the Primary Care and Behavioral Health Integration (PBHCI) is funded at $30.8 million (a 3 million increase over FY 2011.

SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services

The following programs were level funded from 2011: Children’s mental health services ($117 million); Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness ($64.9 million); Jail Diversion ($6.2 million); and Homelessness Prevention ($30.8 million). Youth violence prevention received a $54.3 million cut, from $77.5 in 2011 to $23.2 million in 2012.The Co-occurring State Incentive Grant, which received $2.2 million in 2011, was eliminated, as was the Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative.

SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

The “megabus” bill includes $28.2 million for Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment (SBIRT) (level with FY 2011); $98.5 million for Access to Recovery (level with FY 2011), and $67.6 million for criminal justice activities (+$2.5 million over FY 2011).


Center Announcements

Leading Groups: An Introduction

This full-day training is designed for mental health practitioners who seek to harness the power of groups to support individuals in their recovery. The training may be of particular interest to providers of Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) since group work is the main service modality in PROS programs. Participants will be introduced to theoretical concepts and fundamental skills essential for leading various types of groups, including knowledge-based, skills-based and therapy groups. The focus will be on developing group dynamics that engage and empower group members, motivate them to achieve personal goals and help the group as a whole recover. Through didactic and experiential learning, participants will acquire the skills they need to plan and lead groups that are meaningful and alive. Facilitator: Aaron Vieira, LMSW; Date: January 11; Time: 9:30 - 4:30pm; Location: The Coalition Conference Room. Register now »

Inspiring Stories and Recovery Research: Hope and Resilience for Staff

This half-day training 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. Participants will hear inspiring stories about how staff participated in helping people reclaim their lives. Dr. Courtenay Harding will show that hope, temperament, and human resilience of both staff and consumers all play important roles in the recovery process. Facilitator: Courtenay Harding, Ph.D.; Date: January 13; Time: 9am - 12:30pm; Location: The Coalition Conference Room; Register now »


Membership Updates: New Members Continue Join & Affiliate Category is Approved

The Coalition Welcomes New Members:

The Children’s Village, charitable institution founded in 1851, has joined The Coalition. Today the mission of The Children’s Village remains very much the same as it was at its founding. It helps children and families who are struggling to become productive, independent citizens who will enrich their communities and their future families. The Children’s Village serves thousands of children and family members in the New York metropolitan area with programs that include: (1) Evidence-based programs that prevent troubled teens from re-arrest or the needing for out-of-home care; (2) Family support programs that significantly improve the success rate for family reunifications from foster care; (3) Runaway and homeless shelters that keep teens safe and off the streets; (4) Adoption and foster boarding homes; and (5) Supported housing for homeless teens that help them avoid long-term dependency on social services.

Cerini & Associates, LLP has joined as an Affiliate Member. Cerini & Associates is a full service accounting firm with a staff of nearly 40. C&A serves many industries, including healthcare, not-for-profit, educational providers, retail, manufacturing, technology, small business, and construction. C&A’s specialty services include, but are not limited to, accounting and auditing, business valuation, consulting, litigation support, strategic business planning, financial forecasting, management consulting, trust and estate planning, operational and internal control reviews, and tax planning and preparation.

Coalition Board Approves New Affiliate Membership Category:

The Coalition’s Board of Directors has authorized a new category for membership for vendors and other corporations that wish to join us. The benefits of Affiliate Membership consist of: (1) attending Coalition meetings, workshops and seminars; (2) receiving membership mailings; (3) eligibility for member only discounts for conferences and purchases; (4) access to Coalition senior staff to discuss high priority issues; (5) being listed on the Coalition website as an Affiliate Member accompanied by a brief description and link to your website; and (6) receiving a 20% discount on the package of opportunities related to the annual conference including a table top vendor display, access to the attendee contact list, and the ability to make a special presentation, demonstration or webinar to Coalition members at a later date. For more information, please contact Jason Lippman at jlippman@coalitionny.org.


Around the Water Cooler

Three Coalition members received NYSSHIP grants from the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). They are Common Ground - The Door, $61,159; Comunilife, Inc., $241,920; and Good Shepherd Services, $81,545. The New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP) grants are designed to provide support services to eligible residents of supportive housing programs in order to assist them in moving on a path to economic security.

The Trustees of Jewish Child Care Association of New York (JCCA) have elected Arthur Maslow to the position of President of the Board. Maslow will work closely with outgoing President Barbara Salmanson, who will become the new Chairman of the Board.

Good Shepherd Services has acquired two local not-for-profit agencies, Groundwork, Inc. in Brooklyn and Edwin Gould Academy in Manhattan, to strengthen its outreach efforts supporting at-risk youth and families. Good Shepherd assumed the management of Groundwork effective January 1, 2012 and will do the same with Edwin Gould Academy in the early spring of 2012.

The Bridge broke ground on a new 17 unit building in the Bronx for veterans who are struggling with chronic homelessness and mental illness. The residence, called Bridge Gardens, is the 11th HUD 202/811 program awarded to The Bridge. On-site services will be provided through funding from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene under the NY/NY III program. Bridge Gardens will be located at 2265 Bathgate Avenue in the South Bronx. Construction is expected to be completed by the early spring 2013.   

Samaritan Village has announced a strategic partnership with Outreach. Both are two long-established and well-regarded alcohol and substance abuse treatment centers, headquartered in Queens. The agencies will refer prospective clients to each other and undertake unique collaborations that capitalize on the strengths of each organization. Samaritan Village is a provider of adult residential substance abuse treatment, specialized services for veterans and medically-assisted care, and Outreach is a specialist in treating teens and adolescents, women with children and training programs for behavioral health professionals.

George Nashak, Deputy Commissioner for Adult Services at the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will leave DHS on January 13 to become the Executive Vice President at HELP USA. George has worked at DHS since 2004. Among his notable achievements are his role in the development and implementation of New York/New York III, the re-design of street homeless services, the re-design of services to homeless veterans, the system’s focus on chronic homelessness, and the meeting of the extraordinary demand for shelter during the recession. 

Mitchell Dorfman, Director Community Based Care Coordination & Treatment Services at the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) New York City Field Office will be retiring on March 12, 2012. Mitch began at OMH in 1989, where he helped to develop and eventually oversaw the expansion of case management programs for children & youth and adults in New York City.

Lara Kassel of Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY) was recognized as Consumer Health Care Advocate of the Year by at Health Care for All New York (HCFANY) at HCFANY’s annual meeting on January 5, 2012 in Albany. 


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
6329 Clinic Director - Brooklyn
6330 Clinical Social Worker or Senior Clinical Social Worker - Part Time or On-Call

Mental Health Counselors - Brooklyn & Bronx Sites Scatter Site Programs


Psychiatric Occupational Therapist (ORT/L)

6341 Nurse Practitioner
6345 Accounting Manager



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