An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Behavioral Health in New York
October 10, 2012
With the State and City almost simultaneously releasing budget call letters last month (along with all the rapid changes occurring around behavioral health managed care and integration) The Coalition will certainly have our advocacy work cut out for us once again this budget season.
The State Budget
Citing Governor Cuomo’s goal to keep State spending growth at 2% or less, State Budget Director Robert L. Megna released a call letter on to the State Agency Commissioners calling for zero growth in the 2013-14 Budget. Funding for State Operations and Aid to Localities will remain flat in next year’s budget. However, Medicaid and education funding are excluded, as they already are subject to their own 4% caps. The call letter specifically states that budget requests cannot use “fiscal gimmicks or one-time actions” to achieve zero growth. Therefore, any funding requests for new initiatives must be offset by cuts to other programs in each agency’s budget. Agency Commissioners have until October 16, 2012 to submit their budget requests to the State Division of Budget (DOB).
The City Budget
On the City level, Mark Page, Director of the City Office and Management and Budget (OMB) has called on City Agency Heads to reduce their budgets by 5.4% in the current fiscal year (FY 2013) and 8% in the next year (FY 2014). Forecasting a $2.5 billion budget gap in FY 2014 (which is projected to grow to over $3 billion annually in FY 2015 and FY 2016) the City is seeking to save $2 billion over the next year and a half (through June 30, 2014). Last week, City agencies submitted their budget proposals for review to OMB. Stay tuned for more updates from The Coalition.
The Medicaid Redesign Team’s (MRT) Behavioral Health Subcommittee, on which The Coalition is represented, will meet again on October 18, 2012. The Subcommittee will go over updates on behavioral health managed care planning and gather stakeholder input. Recently, OASAS and OMH posted draft agreements outlining the formation of Special Needs Plans (SNPs) and Mainstream/Behavioral Health Organizations (BHOs) in “Phase 2” of behavioral health managed care. The meeting will take place in New York City at the OASAS Field Office from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Because seating is limited, a live webcast and link will be provided the day of the meeting.
On October 1, 2012, New York State submitted its Essential Health Benefits benchmark plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In meeting the requirements set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Accordingly, New York selected as its benchmark plan the state’s largest small group plan, Oxford EPO. The benchmark plan will form the basis of the essential health benefits for New York's individual and small group markets, both inside and outside the exchange, in 2014 and 2015. In addition to the selection of a benchmark plan, the state also indicated the coverage areas in which benefits will be supplemented in order to meet ACA requirements. Included in them is parity for mental health and substance services.
The election is less than one month away! With so much at stake related to healthcare and other social service benefits, Mental Health America has created an online voter guide with information on the 2012 elections and resources to help behavioral health providers and consumers get out the vote. The voter guide website provides links to voter registration information, a November election action checklist, questions for town hall and candidate forums, a “letter to the editor” and talking points guide, a review of party platforms, relevant resources and more. Included in the Mental Health America website is information to help individuals with mental illness, substance use conditions and disabilities understand their voting rights.
Throughout October and into November, The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery will present a four part training series on motivational interviewing techniques. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counseling approach to help consumers improve motivation to change behaviors identified as barriers to their life-role goals. MI techniques are useful to reduce or end substance use, mental health barriers, and are particularly helpful for working with dual-disorders.
The training sessions will occur on October 12th, 19th, 26th and November 2nd. Each session will run from 9:00 AM to 12:45 PM at The Coalition’s offices at 90 Broad Street, 8th Floor in lower Manhattan. They will be presented by Laura Travaglini, MA, Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Programs at Columbia University Eastside. Ms. Travaglini specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of dually-disordered consumers through evidence-based interventions.Registration conditions: Participants must be a provider in a PROS program, and register for and attend all four sessions. Register online now! Registration for each session begins 8:45am. A light breakfast will be served. This workshop can either compliment previous IDDT training series or be taken without any previous knowledge of dual-diagnosis techniques.
The Coalition has appointed Naomi Weinstein as Director of its Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery. She will begin work here on October 22. Ms. Weinstein will oversee the Center as we seek to bring the principles and practices of rehabilitation and recovery to all the professionals in behavioral health as well as those who will be partnering with them in the new integrated care environment. Currently, Ms. Weinstein is the Director of The Center on Addiction and the Family at Phoenix House, a large national substance abuse treatment and prevention provider since 1967 and member of The Coalition.
The Coalition has engaged as a consultant our former colleague, Bob Yankowitz to enhance our reach and strength in the arena of substance use policy and services. Bob is a clinical administrator with more than 40 years of experience in program management and service provision for people with serious mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness. Many in The Coalition have worked with Bob in his most recent position at The Bridge, where he was the Chief Operating Officer for 11 years.
We mourn the passing of Tony Reisman, Associate Executive Director of The Child Center of New York, who tragically died from injuries sustained in a car accident on September 21, 2012. Reisman joined The Child Center in 1990 as Clinic Administrator and was promoted to his position as Associate Executive Director for Mental Health services in 2007. He was a consummate professional and extremely dedicated to The Child Center and the children it serves. He will be greatly missed. The Child Center is conducting a memorial breakfast for Tony on October 11, 2012 between 10 AM and 12 AM at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, 135-20 39th Avenue in Flushing, Queens. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goddard Riverside Day Care Center has celebrated the opening of its new Books for Kids Library, made possible by the Books for Kids Foundation and the Mario Batali Foundation. The library is located at the Goddard Riverside Day Care Center at 114 West 91st Street. The opening ceremony was held on Thursday September 13th and attended by Mario Batali and board members of both foundations.
Safe Horizon has announced a partnership with the NYC Mayor's Office Survivors of Human Exploitation Working Group and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) to provide an introductory guide to healthcare providers on identifying and responding to possible victims of trafficking. The guide “Recognizing Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Health Care Providers” is available online at the Mayor's Office anti-trafficking and on Safe Horizon's websites.
The Mental Health Association of Westchester County (MHA) has announced a new collaboration with the esteemed initiative, “Her Honor Mentoring.” The program which is in its sixth year, created by Judge Judy Sheindlin of TV's famed show Judge Judy and Nicole Sheindlin, offers a professional apprenticeship to 40 promising high school senior girls in Westchester.
Coalition Members advertise staff positions for free on The Coalition’s Job Board! Here's a sample: