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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
                       February 2, 2012

Coalition Albany Advocacy Days Set for March 5th & 6th

The Coalition is gearing up for our Albany Advocacy Days on March 5th and 6th. With the release of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal earlier this month, there are several issues for The Coalition to advocate around. First, is the reinvestment of State savings from the various reforms being rolled out: Medicaid redesign, care coordination, the closing of inpatient hospitals, etc., into community-based supports and services. We are also deeply concerned about the Governor’s proposal to cap executive compensation and administrative overhead at not-for-profit corporations providing human services and receiving State funds. We also are vigilant about the creation of a health benefits exchange propelled by the federal Affordable Care Act (which must include adequate behavioral health coverage), and ongoing care coordination and service delivery reforms. Also on our radar are possible collaborations between OASAS and OMH being proposed in the Executive Budget. A more detailed list of advocacy items will be crafted over the upcoming weeks.

Other Important Advocacy Dates

February 6th @ 11:00am: NYS Senate Hearing on Executive Compensation at Not-for-Profit Corporations

February 14th @ 9:30am: Joint legislative hearing on Mental Hygiene Executive Budget Proposals

February 14th @ 9:30am: Government Relations Committee Meeting (members should stay tuned for invitation)


From The Coalition Briefs Blog: Coalition Conference a Huge Success!

On January 20th, The Coalition presented “Riding the Roller Coaster of Change: Behavioral Health in Transition.” A summary of the conference’s highlights and pictures are posted on The Coalition Briefs Blog. On the blog you will also find a link to the conference’s homepage, which contains presentations from our keynote speaker, Chuck Ingoglia, Vice President, Public Policy at the National Council, who spoke about changes and advocacy issues pertaining to the federal environment; our State representative Gregory Allen, Director, Division of Financial Planning and Policy, New York State Department of Health, who talked about State initiatives such as Health Homes and care coordination; and William Fishbein, Executive Director of OptumHealth the NYC Behavioral Health Organization, who discussed BHO implementation plans. You can visit (and even subscribe to) The Coalition Briefs Blog at http://coalitionny.wordpress.com/ for periodic updates on our policy and advocacy activities.


MRT Budget Briefing Q&A on Twitter Tomorrow

Join NYS Medicaid Director, Jason Helgerson, in a live Twitter chat on Friday, February 3rd, from 8:30am - 9:30am to discuss Governor Cuomo's budget proposal for Medicaid. To participate, go www.twitter.com (you will need to sign up if currently do not use Twitter). Then follow the MRT on Twitter: @NewYorkMRT. Ask questions by including #NYMRT in your tweets or send a direct message to @NewYorkMRT. You can also just watch the conversation in your feed just by following @NewYorkMRT. While you are there, follow The Coalition on Twitter too: @TheCoalition_NY

The Q&A is a follow up to yesterday’s MRT Budget Briefing Webinar. It is available on the MRT website at: http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/redesign, along with presentation materials.


The Coalition & NYC Colleagues Say Au Revoir to OMH’s Bruce Feig

On Tuesday, January 31st, The Coalition, government officials and other colleagues gathered at UJA-Federation of New York to celebrate Bruce Feig’s retirement as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health (OMH). He had served in that position since June of 2007, and previously from 1985 through 1994. Guests were treated to a lively slide show with music, which got many laughs from the crowd as pictures from Bruce’s past flashed across the screen with jovial commentary inserted. The festivities were hosted by the OMH NYC Field Office, UJA-Federation of New York and The Coalition.

Mr. Feig has a long and varied career in public service. He served as Chief Financial Officer of the NYS Department of Education, First Deputy Comptroller of the Office of State Comptroller, Deputy Commissioner of then called NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, and Program Associate of Human Services in the Governor’s Office. His private sector work includes healthcare consulting, Chief Financial Officer of a community health center and Vice President of a primary care corporation.

Mr. Feig’s accomplishments in government include the implementation of school-based budgeting in New York City, the development of financial mechanisms for community programs for individuals with mental illness and consumers with developmental disabilities, as well as the development of the original New York/New York agreements for housing and emergency services for individuals with mental illness.

We have enjoyed working with Bruce and wish him well in his future endeavors.


Federal Advocacy Update: A Preview to President Obama’s 2013 Budget Request

President Obama plans to issue his Fiscal Year 2013 budget requests on February 13th (one week later than scheduled). While specific details are not yet available, it is likely that the President’s budget request will adhere to the $1.047 trillion cap on discretionary spending beginning in 2013, as mandated by the Budget Control Act. However, this amount does not include the automatic spending cuts that are due to go into effect in 2013 in the wake of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s failure to come up with a long-term spending reduction plan.

According to the National Council of Behavioral Healthcare, President Obama’s 2013 budget is expected to be shaped similarly to the proposal put forward by his Administration in September 2011, during “supercommittee” negotiations. That proposal outlined a mix of revenue increases and spending cuts to reduce the federal budget deficit by $3 trillion. It called for the implementation of a single, blended matching rate for Medicaid and CHIP, which would have resulted in almost $66 billion in Medicaid cuts over ten years. The plan would have also allowed for increased flexibility in state management of Medicaid benefits, including more flexibility in the requirements for benchmark-benefit plan coverage for non-elderly, non-disabled adults with incomes over 133% of poverty. The President’s September 2011 proposal also proposed $3.5 billion in cuts over 10 years beginning in 2014 to the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. This fund currently supports programs to integrate primary and behavioral health care, as well as Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) and other preventative programs.

On February, 14th, SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. will lead a budget briefing on SAMHSA’s 2013 budget proposal. You can watch it via webcast at 2:30pm at www.samhsa.gov.


Announcements from our Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery

The Fanwood Foundation Awards Grant for The Center’s Young Adult Website

The Center announces the receipt of a funding award from the Fanwood Foundation to update its resource website for young adults, “Where It’s At?”: www.whereitsatnyc.org. This grant makes it possible for the Center to hire two part-time Transition Age Youth with lived experience of mental illness, who preferably have accessed cross-system services. Through their unique perspectives, these youth peers will begin the process of vetting through the vital information on the site, and provide critical information about strategies to improve its user-friendliness. A job description and information on how to apply will be forthcoming towards the end of February.

Stress at Work: Stress Management for Mental Health Providers

If you are feeling stressed at work, you are not alone. According to the recently published American Psychological Association “Stress in America” survey, more than 1 in 5 Americans report feeling chronic “extreme stress.” The report states, “Chronic stress can occur in response to everyday stressors that are ignored or poorly managed as well as to exposure to traumatic events.”

Given the challenging nature of your work, along with the increasing caseloads and expectations of many behavioral health service providers, it is understandable if you are feeling overwhelmed.  The purpose of this half-day training is to help you mitigate the work-related stress that can affect job satisfaction and performance. The trainer will identify common manifestations of work stress, as well as focus on the impact of secondary traumatic stress. Through interactive activities and group discussions, you will have an opportunity to share creative and successful ways you have found to manage stress at work. After exploring various resources and coping strategies, you will be ready to create a personal stress management action plan so that you can increase work productivity and satisfaction. This training is free for community-based behavioral health providers. It will be led by Susan Blayer, LMSW, MDiv on February 22, 2012, from 9:30am - 12:30pm at 90 Broad Street in Manhattan. To register, please visit www.coalitionny.org/the_center/training/.


Coalition Announces New Affiliate Member

The Coalition welcomes Medford Chemists, who has joined as an Affiliate Member. Medford Chemists is located in the heart of Medford, Long Island, and has been servicing facilities for over 40 years. Medford Chemists offers a broad array of products to service the complete continuum of care. They strive to give exacting attention to each prescription within a whole-patient context, to protect against harmful interactions and avoid duplicate medications, by drawing on our network of clinical and business professionals utilizing the latest technology.


Around the Water Cooler

Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) celebrated the 100th birthday of its Pleasantville Campus, where "cottage style” residential living was pioneered in this country. The event, "A Tree Grows in Pleasantville,” was attended by nearly 400 of Westchester's top movers and shakers. It kicked off "Paving the Way: The Cottage Schools Brick Campaign,” raising more than $353,000. Over the last seven years, this benefit has raised over $1.8 million.

Odyssey House has been selected by the NYS Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to receive $499,000 in annual funding to provide 20 permanent supportive housing apartments with case management and vocational services staff. This innovative housing model will target chronically homeless families; families at serious risk of becoming chronically homeless; and other currently homeless families, in which the head-of-household has a substance use disorder.

Greenwich House has announced that it has assumed several programs previously operated by the Children's Aid Society (CAS) at the Philip Coltoff Center in Greenwich Village. When, CAS announced its intention to sell the Center in late 2010 in order to refocus its resources on other high needs communities, Greenwich House saw itself as a natural new home for the Visual Arts Summer Camp and the After-School Program. The Greenwich House Pottery and Greenwich House Music Schools will house much of the program's After-School and Summer Arts curriculum, along with Greenwich House's main building at 27 Barrow Street.

The Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS) has announced the election of officers to the agency's board of directors, as well as the election of three new members to the Board. John G. Tapinis of Jackson, N.J., was re-elected to a second term as board chair. Also re-elected were Lorraine Karelas as vice chair, Anthony DeFazio as treasurer, and Elizabeth Palagiano as secretary. Nancy Myers-Benbow, Dr. Deeptha Nedunchezian, and Melissa Young were newly elected to the board for one-year terms. Read more in the Staten Island Advance.

Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) has been awarded $20,000 from the Arnold E. and Olga C. Feldman Fund of the Westchester Community Foundation. The grant will support Young Parents Achieve!, a WJCS school-based program for pregnant and parenting teens in the Tarrytown School District.

The Guidance Center received a generous $20,000 grant from the Westchester Community Foundation to support Parents Place. Parents Place is where parents of very young children come together to socialize, share experiences, and discuss concerns with each other and with qualified, professional staff who specialize in parenting issues specific to very young children.

Safe Horizon's Child Advocacy Centers in Manhattan and Staten Island have been awarded accreditation by the National Children's Alliance following an extensive application and site review process. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with National Children's Alliance and denotes the excellence in service provision.

Coordinated Behavioral Care (CBC), a not-for-profit (NFP) health care entity that will be operating Health Homes in New York City,has announced the appointment of its first Executive Director, Karin Gallet. A veteran managed care executive with 20 years of experience, Ms. Gallet has served as Clinical Operations Director at ValueOptions and Clinical Director at HealthFirst. She joins CBC as it starts up Health Home programs in Brooklyn and the Bronx in February. 

David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement Association, weighed in on the corporate practice prohibitions and issues associated with State social work licensing law, in an op-ed in Daily News. Mr. Nocenti’s article highlights the problems the law poses for not-for-profit entities who want to hire licensed professionals to provide clinical services in the community.

Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, LMSW has been selected to be the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderheyden Hall, a children and family services agency in the Capital District with a service area of more than 30 counties. Carpenter-Palumbo, a former Commissioner of the NYS  Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), succeeds Linda Mappes who is retiring after 10 years of service.

Catherine Abate, President/CEO of Community Healthcare Network has been named as a Co-Chair of the Business and Labor Corporation of New York (BALCONY). Ms. Abate is a former New York State Senator from Manhattan (1994-1998) and was Commissioner of the New York City Departments of Correction and Probation in the Dinkins Administration. Since 1999, she has been President/ CEO of the Community Healthcare Network, a group of 12 Federally Qualified Health Centers in underserved communities across New York City.

Lillian Rodriguez Lopez will step down as President of the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Federation on February 17, 2012, to assume a new position with The Coca Cola Company. Jose Calderon will be named interim President during the formal search process to be conducted by the Board.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
6366 Front Desk Attendant
6371 Program Director - MH Supported Housing Program

Assistant Director - MBCS Staten Island


Compliance Specialist

6379 Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
6380 Psychiatrist/Medical Director Part Time



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