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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
                       March 14 , 2012

Coalition Just Back from Albany for Advocacy Days

Coalition members and staff brought our message to Albany last week, calling on state lawmakers and officials to protect and reinvest in community-based services. During our Albany Advocacy Days last week, The Coalition met with senior staff from OASAS, OMH and DOH on Day 1. At the meetings, we discussed issues related to Medicaid redesign, the rollout of Health Homes, reinvesting state savings accrued from care coordination and other initiatives, as well as OASAS/OMH collaborations. On Tuesday, March 6th, we met with legislative leaders and key committees in the Senate and Assembly on reinvestment, and other issues, including the Governor’s proposal to cap executive compensation & administrative service caps for all providers in the health and human services world. Among the lessons derived from our visits is that The Coalition will need to aggressively advocate for the preservation of the continuum of behavioral health services before the transition to managed care takes place.

Budget Update: The Coalition’s Albany Advocacy Days were planned just in time. On Friday, March 9th, the Assembly released its one house budget proposal, and the Senate released its version over the weekend. Legislators in both houses were in session on Monday afternoon, March 12th to cast their votes on the related budget bills. Legislators in both houses were in session on Monday afternoon, March 12th, and have since passed their own budget resolutions. As of Wednesday evening, March 14, a deal seems near between the two chambers and Governor Cuomo for an early budget adoption.

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One House Bills Alter Executive Compensation & Administrative Caps Proposal

Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget contains legislation for an across-the-board proposal to cap executive compensation and administrative expenses in health and human service agencies receiving state funding. A complementary Executive Order was also issued for such statewide caps. While this plan is a means to go after the organizational outliers that were highlighted in newspaper headlines and that took advantage or manipulated the system, a one-size fits all cap does not recognize the variations among organizations (size, complexity, geography, etc.). It also tars all organizations with one brush and assumes the worst about our values-driven sector. An approach like this could impair the recruitment of qualified leaders and provision of services on behalf of the state. Chiefly among those affected would be not-for-profit service providers who represent a significant part of the New York State economy. The sector employs more than a million New Yorkers, provides the lion’s share of health and human services to all New Yorker’s and ensures New York’s safety net for our most vulnerable citizens.

Instead, The Coalition and a consortium of 17 advocacy organizations have advocated for targeted, fairer and more workable approaches to address legitimate concerns on executive compensation and administrative service costs. It appears that our advocacy has had some resonance. The Senate one house resolution contains a bill to advance an alternative approach, by largely incorporating federal IRS standards for overseeing compensation and administrative expenses, an approach we conceptually support.

The Assembly’s resolution only revises Governor’s Cuomo’s proposal by adding language for due process. This would allow providers to appeal a termination or non-renewal of a state contract for noncompliance with state compensation and administrative expense standards. However, the scope of such a hearing seems likely to be very limited. The Coalition is calling on the Legislature to agree on language that is more in line with the approach put forward in the Senate’s bill.

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City Budget Advocacy Begins

The Coalition is preparing to testify on the Mayor’s FY 2013 Preliminary Budget at the NYC Council’s hearing held by the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services on Monday, March 19th. Our testimony will largely consist on asking the Council to restore funding for the behavioral health initiatives it supports annually, as well as reinstating past cuts to these services. We also will seek some expansion in behavioral health funding.The initiatives below have been cut between 25% and 55% since FY 2009. In FY 2012, the City Council funded the:

  • Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative 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.
  • Geriatric Mental Health Initiative (GMHI) was funded 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 program was funded 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).
  • Alcoholism/Substance Abuse Voluntary Sector program was completely cut in FY 2012. This program used to fund 8 agencies in all five boroughs of New York City to operate a range of alcoholism and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for children, adults and families struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.

The Mental Hygiene Contracted Services PEG at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) was partially restored by the City Council in the FY 2012 Budget. This was an initial $4.86M cut that was restored at $2.66M. Funding for this program was not included in the Mayor’s FY 2013 Budget.

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Announcements from our Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery

Courtenay Harding, Ph.D. Elected to Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care

Courtenay M. Harding, Ph.D. has been elected to the Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, a newly formed, international community foundation. The Foundation, through its research, practice, education initiatives, and program development, seeks to demonstrate that most people diagnosed with severe mental illnesses can significantly improve and many even fully recover. More information on the Foundation can be accessed here.

Pat Feinberg Named Certified Benefits Planner

The Coalition is proud to announce that our Peer Educator, Pat Feinberg, has recently been installed as a Certified Benefits Planner through Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute. With this certification, Ms. Feinberg is a credentialed benefits and work incentives practitioner within the New York State Work Incentives Information Network (WIIN). This certification enables her to be among the select few to provide a higher level of individual benefits counseling to consumers and is a testament to her hard work and dedication.

Center Training: Benefits of Recovery: Introduction to Benefits Management
This introductory training is intended for staff new to the subject of benefits
Register now »

Learn the nuts and bolts of benefits management, including the latest changes in the Social Security Administration guidelines by attending this training. It is free, and is being offered in various locations throughout New York City. Participants who attend will have the opportunity to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of the Social Security System
  • Comprehend the difference between SSI, SSDI, Medicaid and Medicare
  • Gain knowledge of work incentives that support consumers in their working goals
  • Learn how to help consumers effectively use benefits and resources to support their recovery

Trainers:      Margie Staker, CQSW & Patricia Feinberg, MS, Certified Benefits Planner
Fee:            FREE for community-based behavioral health providers
Dates:         March 29th, April 12th,19th, & 26th  
Time:          1:00 – 4:30pm
Locations:    Four to Choose from in NYC!  Click on registration link for details: Register now »

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Around the Water Cooler

ICL HealthCare Choices and the Institute for Community Living announced a new integrated mental and medical health care facility, ICL HealthCare Choices Clinic at Borden Avenue (ICL HCC Borden). The recently constructed clinic will offer services to people of all ages, with a special focus on the homeless, elderly, immigrant, low-income and the uninsured. Located adjacent to ICL Borden Avenue Veterans Residence in Long Island City, Queens, the clinic will be especially accessible to homeless veterans (and their families) who are not eligible for Veterans Administration healthcare benefits and services and are in need of medical and psychiatric care.

Peninsula Counseling Center, or PCC, serving the Southwest Nassau community, announced a sponsorship relationship with PSCH, one of the region's leading providers of comprehensive services for people with developmental, psychological and behavioral disabilities. In so doing, PCC joins Suffolk's Pederson-Krag Center in uniting with PSCH to form a growing regional network, now stretching from New Jersey to Suffolk County, of behavioral/mental health providers--finding new economies and broadening their services to adapt to the new rules of the changing health care environment. The combined entities have an annual operating budget of approximately $130 million.

The Mental Health Association (MHA) of Westchester and Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health’s Care Coordination program is profiled as an innovative program by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. In “The Back Story”, a case study, profiles how Care Coordination helped one participant to turn his life around. It also documents how care coordination improvise one’s quality of life and reduces the costs of providing services to adults with serious mental illness.

Brooklyn Community Services has announced that Marla G. Simpson, Chief Procurement Officer and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services will become its Executive Director next month. As a senior member of the Bloomberg Administration since 2003, Simpson led a number of reforms to better manage how the City purchases services and supplies. Simpson’s initiatives streamlined procurement practices and helped modernize the City’s procurement data, making it transparent and more accessible to the public.

Palladia’s Fox Point supportive housing residence in the Bronx has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 48-unit residence, which opened in 2009, provides housing for formerly homeless and low-income families and individuals.

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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
6418 ACT Director
6420 Employment Service Coordinator
6422

Licensed Practical Nurse (PT)

6424

Intake Coordinator, Bronx

6429 Registered Dietician
6433` Recovery Specialist - Kitchen and Maintenance

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