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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
              November 21 , 2013

City Elections Mark Transition, Coalition to Release Policy Position Paper

New Yorkers went to the polls earlier this month and elected a number of new leaders. Most notably, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, to whom we offer a hearty congratulations and look forward to working with him and his administration on the issues affecting behavioral health policy in the City. We also applaud: Scott Stringer who won the Comptroller’s race and Letitia James, who will be our next Public Advocate. In addition, 21 new Members will join the City Council in January. They are listed below by borough.

In the Bronx: Andrew Cohen, Ritchie Torres and Vanessa Gibson.

Brooklyn: Antonio Reynoso, Laurie Cumbo, Robert Cornegy, Rafael Espinal, Carlos Menchaca, Inez Barron, Alan Maisel, Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch.

Manhattan: Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine.

Queens: Paul Vallone, Costa Constantinides, Rory Lancman and Daneek Miller.

Staten Island: Steven Matteo.

In the Borough President races, Ruben Diaz maintained is seat in the Bronx, and Eric Adams of Brooklyn, Gale Brewer of Manhattan, Melinda Katz of Queens and James Oddo of Staten Island were newly elected.

We look forward to working with all the new elected officials, and continuing our relations with those currently in office. To that end, we will soon issue a new Position Paper called “Behavioral Health for New York City’s Future: 2014.”  Look for it on our website shortly.

On November 20th, Mayor-elect de Blasio announced his 60 person transition team.


Final Health Parity Rule for Mental Health & Substance Use Benefits Released

On Friday November 8th, the Obama Administration issued the historic and long awaited final rule on parity for mental health and substance use benefits with medical and surgical benefits in group and individual health insurance plans. This final rule implements the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.  Beginning on July 1, 2014, these plans will be required to set insurance copays, deductibles and visit limits for mental health and substance use benefits that are at least equal to physical health. The Coalition celebrates this ruling, which will allow millions of Americans to access the mental health and substance use care they need.


Patrick Kennedy to Keynote Coalition Conference on January 23rd

With the release of the final parity rule, we are even more excited to have Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy as our Keynote Speaker at The Coalition’s annual conference scheduled for January 23, 2014. Mr. Kennedy championed the Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act when it was signed into law five years ago, and has been an outspoken advocate for parity and the issuance of the final rule. Stay tuned for more details on the full conference program and registration.


Coalition Signs on to Second Chance Act Letter

The Coalition has signed onto a letter in support of the federal Second Chance Act Reauthorization Act of 2013. The Second Chance Act provides grant funds to local governments and providers to support re-integration services for persons leaving jail and prison. People released from prison face a number of challenges when they re-enter the community, such as finding a home, obtaining a job, seeking social supports and caring for physical and behavioral health needs. With adequate community support in place, they are more likely to successfully reintegrate and avoid recidivism.


4 New Members Join The Coalition!

The Coalition is pleased to welcome the following new members:

Concern for Independent Living is committed to helping low income persons and persons with disabilities to live in the community with dignity and enhanced opportunities through the provision of housing and support services. Concern offers a variety of housing options with individualized support services designed to support personal growth and independence.

Family Residence and Essential Enterprises (FREE) provides innovative services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness or traumatic brain injury on Long Island. Its interdisciplinary team ensures that those served can access all of the residential, day, medical, therapeutic, vocational and other services that best meet their goals and preferences.

VIP Community Services offers a continuum of services to individuals with histories of chemical dependency. They provide a wide array of behavioral health and medical services, social services, housing, and community development to people with chemical dependency, mental illness, HIV infection, and health and employment needs.

We also are thrilled about our newest affiliate member:

Optum helps doctors give better care. They help hospitals and health plans run more efficiently. And most importantly, Optum helps people understand their benefits and navigate the health system so they can get and stay healthy.


In Memory of Marie Mantel

Marie F. Mantel passed away on October 21, 2013 at the age of 101. Marie was the first woman and layperson appointed the Director of Child Guidance Institute of Catholic Charities. Among her services to the community were a seat on the Board of Directors at the Riverdale Mental Health Association and volunteering at St. Gabriel's Church. Marie was also involved in the founding of The Coalition. Read more about her in the New York Times.


Around the Water Cooler

Congratulations to Coalition Board Member, Elliott Klein, Executive Director of New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center, who was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Center for Long Term Care Research & Policy at New York Medical College.

We are pleased that Carmen Collado, Chief Government and Community Relations Officer at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS) was elected as Co-Chair of the New York State Board for Social Work. We look forward to continuing our work together on social work issues.

Donna Corrado, Ph.D will be the new Executive Director of Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services Inc. (CCNS), an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ). We wish her the best in her new role.

Congratulations to Wanda Figueroa-Kilroy and Eileen Hanley, who were promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer, respectively, of GuildNet, a managed long-term care subsidiary of Jewish Guild Healthcare.

Lauren Pareti, Director of the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) Institute, will step down from her position at CUCS effective November 27th. Aaron Levitt has been named as the Director of the CUCS Institute. He currently serves as CUCS’ Director of Research & Planning. We send good wishes to both colleagues.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
7414 Housing Outreach Specialist - Manhattan
7415 Substance Abuse Specialist - Manhattan ACT Team

Director, Healthcare Finance & Administrative Services


Case Manager, Scattered-Site Apartment Programs


Peer Specialists

7425 Senior Medical Assistant/Secretary
7431 Psychiatric Registered Nurse (PROS)



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