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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
               October 16, 2013

Patrick Kennedy to Keynote Coalition Conference on January 23rd

We are excited to announce The Coalition’s annual conference on Thursday, January 23rd, 2014, where Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy will be our keynote speaker and will focus on issues of behavioral health parity and healthcare reform. Former Representative Kennedy, along with his late father Senator Edward Kennedy, was a sponsor of the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act, which was signed into law five years ago on October 3, 2008 (pictured above). He also has been an outspoken proponent for the Obama Administration to issue the final rule of the Act, so that people with mental illness and addictions can finally get health coverage equal to those with physical illnesses.


In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act

Nearly fifty years ago, on October 31, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Community Mental Health Act. In celebration of the Community Mental Health Act’s 50th anniversary, Former Representative Patrick  Kennedy will convene a two day Kennedy Forum in Boston on October 23rd and 24th, featuring a gala and policy conference. On hand will be a number of headliners and behavioral health experts and advocates on the progress made to date and what we still need to overcome to achieve President Kennedy’s vision.

The Community Mental Health Act marked a bold new step in our nation’s approach to treatment of people with mental illness. Instead of being “warehoused” in psychiatric hospitals and institutions, individuals could return to their communities and live in more appropriate settings. With advancements in psychotropic medicines, psychotherapy, clinic services, case management, clubhouses, housing services, etc., the community-based system of care was not only more humane, but cost-effective too. Yet even today, issues of parity and stigma still persist, creating unnecessary barriers and roadblocks to treatment and recovery. As we move into a new era of more integrated behavioral health care – mental health, substance use and physical health services – we must remember this moment in time 50 years ago, and how with taking audacious new steps, we must also make smart policy choices and adjustments along the way. 


State Olmstead Plan is Released!

On Friday, October 11th, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the historic and long awaited Report and Recommendations of the Olmstead Cabinet. Hailed as a comprehensive plan to serve New Yorkers with disabilities in the most integrated setting, the report outlines a number of steps to transition and serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, severe mental illness and individuals in nursing homes in more integrated community settings.

Among the community transition plans occurring at the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), the report speaks of the development of behavioral health managed care and special needs Health and Recovery Plans (HARPs) to enhance community integrated health and mental health plans of care. In addition, the Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) initiative at OMH will reduce the number of inpatient psychiatric hospitals in the State from 24 to 15, transitioning 655 inpatient beds into community services. OMH has also established a goal of reducing the number of inpatient “long stays” in psychiatric hospitals by 10% over two years.

In line with the settlement of two federal lawsuits involving individuals with severe mental illness living in nursing homes and adult homes, OMH has awarded contracts for 200 units of supported housing for people living in nursing homes and plans to transition at least 2,000 individuals now residing in adult homes. Finally, as of December 31, 2013, OMH will convert funding for sheltered workshops into programs that support integrated, competitive employment for people with psychiatric disabilities who desire work. A significant number of people with severe mental illness affected by these Olmstead initiatives may also have co-occurring addiction and health disorders. Therefore, in transformations like the move to behavioral health managed care/HARPs, OMH is working in partnership with the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Use Services (OASAS) and the NYS Department of Health (DOH).


Coalition Returns From Washington D.C., Hill Day Advocacy Successful, Shutdown Not Avoided

The federal government may be shut down now, but things were very active in D.C. last month as The Coalition and over 600 behavioral health advocates from around the country were in town for the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2013 Hill Day. We met Senator Charles Schumer (pictured right) and made visits with staff from his office and the offices of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Representative Yvette Clarke, Representative Nita Lowey, Representative Eliot Engel, Representative Michael Grimm and Representative Hakeem Jeffries. While we were unable to broker a deal to keep the government funded and open we did make significant headway in our advocacy efforts on the:

Excellence in Mental Health Act (S. 264/H.R. 1263) to enable community behavioral health organizations to meet the increased demand for robust services by enhancing their Medicaid funding if they meet an advanced standard of care.

Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 153/H.R. 274) to authorize $20 million in grants to fund Mental Health First Aid training programs around the country to ensure Americans can recognize common symptoms of mental illnesses and addictions, de-escalate crisis situations safely, and initiate timely referrals to community mental health and addiction treatment resources.

Behavioral Health Information Technology Act (S. 1517/H.R. 2957) to make available federal incentive payments for the meaningful use of electronic health records under Medicare and Medicaid for mental health and addiction treatment facilities and behavioral health professionals.


Upcoming Trainings at The Center


Thursday, October 31 | 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. | Registration opens at 9 a.m.

Documentation provides a roadmap of the recovery process, a record of service, and evidence that supports billing and confirms medical necessity. It is also proof to auditors and others that program participants are making progress and are receiving appropriate services. Are you documenting with all these in mind? More info » Register now »

CBT and Skills Development in Groups – ADVANCED

Mondays, November 4 and November 18 | 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This training builds on the beginner group work class offered on September 16 and 30, and is designed for those with a strong foundation in group work (see prerequisites for more information. This training is comprised of two half-day sessions. Participants are expected to attend both. More info » Register now »


Mourning the Loss of Frank Modica

The Coalition joins our member, Hamilton-Madison House, in mourning the loss of Frank T. Modica, who led the organization as Executive Director for 34 years from 1976 to 2010 when he retired. Modica, who passed away on Wednesday, September 25th, was credited with transforming Hamilton-Madison House, from a small neighborhood agency with a $1.5 million annual budget to a $15 million agency that includes citywide Asian American behavioral health services. More about Frank and his accomplishments can be read in the New York Nonprofit Press.


Around the Water Cooler

Congratulations to The Coalition’s own Amanda Saake, Senior Program Associate at the Center for Recovery and Rehabilitation, who successfully passed the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s (PRA) Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) certification exam and met all the qualifications of the credential. As a CPRP, she joins over 2,800 CPRPs globally, all of whom share a commitment to the fundamental principle that recovery from serious mental illness is possible.

Donna Colonna, CEO of Services for the UnderServed and Immediate Past President of The Coalition was awarded a New York SmartCEO's inaugural Brava! Award. Donna is one of six women who lead nonprofits in New York City and among 30 in total who received this honor. To be considered for the Brava! Awards, applicants were required to be women executives leading companies that generated at least $1 million in revenue and who encourage local philanthropy, mentor fellow CEOs and set their companies on the path for tremendous growth. The winners were celebrated at the New York Brava! Awards ceremony on Sept. 25, 2013 at the Broad Street Ballroom.

Comunilife celebrated the start of construction on El Rio Residences, its newest supportive housing residence in the Bronx. El Rio, which is located in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx, will provide housing to 26 low-income individuals and 39 formerly homeless individuals living with mental illness. Among those on hand for the celebration, along with Comunilife's partners the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA), were Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda.

The Institute of Community Living (ICL) announced the promotion of Chris Copeland, LCSW to Chief Operating Officer (COO). Most recently, Mr. Copeland held the position of Acting COO, as well as Chief Program Officer until his promotion. He will continue to report to David Woodlock, ICL's President/CEO and the agency will begin actively interviewing replacement candidates for the Chief Program Officer position. In other ICL news, the organization is relocating their corporate headquarters from 40 Rector Street to 125 Broad Street in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

Palladia has named Paul Lieffrig as its Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer. In this position, he will manage and oversee all of Palladia's assets, including the agency's  nearly $50,000,000 annual operating budget. Prior to joining Palladia in August 2013, Lieffrig’s career included several years as Chief Financial Officer at The Fortune Society and positions at Marks, Paneth and Shron LLP, KPMG, and American Express Tax and Business Services. 

Community Healthcare Network's Helen B. Atkinson Community Health Center has a new Director. Lissa M. Southerland will run and lead the Center's day to day operations as well as manage its community educational and outreach programs. Southerland previously worked at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center overseeing Patient Administrative Services which included departments such as Referrals, Medical Records, all front desk staff & operations and general Center operations.

Sister Paulette LoMonaco has been appointed to the Board of Directors of The Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation. Over the past 32 years, as Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services (GSS) Sister Paulette has made an impact on the lives of countless vulnerable NYC children and youth and on the child welfare, education and family support systems. Under Sister Paulette's guidance, GSS has evolved from a small provider of out-of-home care to one of NYC's largest, most respected multi-service agencies. GSS also announced that it officially merged with Groundwork Inc. on September 12, 2013.

Unique People Services has a new Chief Financial Officer. Rosemarie Gooden will be responsible for implementing all fiscal activities in conjunction with the programmatic goals of the agency and maintaining a good relationship with funding sources to meet the increasing demand for social services in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Westchester. Prior to joining Unique People Services, Gooden worked as an auditor for many years and as a consultant to CPA firms and the not-for-profit industry.

Lighthouse International and Jewish Guild Healthcare are merging to become Lighthouse Guild International. The two organizations are both based in Manhattan and provide healthcare and rehabilitation services for people who are blind and visually impaired. They will join forces to improve advocacy efforts and increase affiliations with similar groups nationwide. Read more about the merger in the New York Times.

Westchester Jewish Community Services’ (WJCS) Center lane and The LOFT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Services Center announced a partnership to begin providing WJCS' Center Lane services at The LOFT in White Plains. The LOFT becomes the new White Plains location for Center Lane, whose programs will be transitioned to the Bryant Avenue facility during the next few months. Beginning in January 2014, all services offered at Center Lane's other location in Yonkers, also will be provided at The LOFT in White Plains.

Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens celebrated the completion of its new Monsignor Anthony J. Barretta Apartments, a new $18 million development featuring 64 units of low-income housing in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn. Developed as a partnership between CPC Resources, Inc. and Catholic Charities, the new housing is built on the site of the former school, rectory, and convent of Our Lady of Loreto Church. It will be located at 2354-2358 and 2372-2374 Atlantic Avenue, and 2353-2365 Pacific Street.

Fountain House has received an $840,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). Fountain House will use these funds to develop and implement the e-Supported Sobriety and Recovery project, which will enhance and expand access to recovery supports and treatment services for people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders (COD) via Smartphone e-technology services. Each year 100 people, currently underserved, will be recruited from Fountain House’s membership and from its substance abuse co-provider, Phoenix House.

The Children’s Village was among the six finalists announced by NPCC for the 2013 New York Community Trust-New York Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The Children’s Village works in partnership with families to help society's most vulnerable children, so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.

Community Access was joined by local residents, community partners, and representatives of the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) to celebrate the opening of Vyse Avenue Apartments. The new development features 64 units of affordable housing for individuals with psychiatric disabilities and histories of homelessness, all now fully occupied. The Ribbon Cutting ceremony included speeches by Steve Coe, Community Access CEO, Ramesh Shah, Community Access board member and Moira Tashjian, Director of Housing Development and Support at OMH.


University Settlement will hold “Listen to Me: An Innovative Professional Development Training about Child Sexual Abuse” facilitated by Billye Jones Mulraine, LCSW on Friday, October 18th from 8:00am to 5:00pm at University Settlement Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge, New York, NY 10002. Click here to register today!

Fordham-Tremont Community Mental Health Center invites you to celebrate its 35th anniversary and the launching of its Men and Military Families Program at its professional conference Men of Color and Mental Health: Moving from Alienation to Hope. Mr. Gregory Owens, LMSW of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services will be the keynote speaker. The event will take place on Friday, October 25th at Fordham University McGinley Center from 8:30am to 1:00pm. Call (718) 960-3348 to register.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
7374 Licensed Spanish Speaking Social Worker
7379 Outreach Worker - IWP

Director, SAMHSA Initiatives


Supervisor Disaster Relief


Business Manager - Behavioral Health Services

7387 Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
7391 Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist - LMSW or LCSW



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