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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
              December 18 , 2013

Register Now for The Coalition’s Annual Conference with Keynote Patrick Kennedy!

Registration is up and seats are going quickly. Latch on to yours today! The Coalition’s annual conference “Rising to the Challenge” will take place on January 23, 2014. We are thrilled to have as our keynote speaker, former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, who championed the Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act when it was signed into law five years ago, and worked with the Obama administration to get the long awaited final parity rule issued.

Joining our keynote speaker, will be a select set of key State and City government officials who are tasked with launching major systemic changes and new models in behavioral healthcare, not the least is the transformation to managed care and the implementation of Health Homes. Confirmed speakers include Jason A. Helgerson, Medicaid Director at the NYS Department of Health (DOH), and Ann Sullivan, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH). Others will be announced as soon as we verify their acceptance of our invitation. Also, joining the lineup will be officials from managed care companies who will discuss their understanding of the brave new world we are preparing to enter. Stay tuned for a full agenda, which will be posted online, where you can also register now! 


RFI for Behavioral Health Managed Care/HARP Benefits Released

Last week, DOH, OMH and OASAS jointly released the Request for Information to gather stakeholder input on New York’s draft proposal for qualified health plans to apply to manage behavioral health (mental health and substance use) benefits in New York State. The proposal includes stepping stones for experienced managed care plans to climb in order to be eligible to manage not only mainstream behavioral benefits, but those to be offered under Health and Recovery Plans (HARPs). HARPs will be a new specialized and integrated “product line” of eligible managed care plans for people with serious behavioral health needs. Eligible HARP enrollees will have access to Home and Community Based (1915i-like) Services, which would include recovery oriented services such as peer supports, crisis respite, habilitation and rehabilitation services. The Coalition is diligently studying the RFI and compiling responses with ideas and suggestions from our members and staff. The RFI is available online. Also available is the PowerPoint presentation delivered at a State webinar, providing an overview given on Tuesday, December 17, 2013. Responses are due by January 10, 2014, and should be emailed to bho@omh.ny.gov.


MRT Affordable Housing Work Group Reconvenes

The Medicaid Redesign Team’s Affordable Housing Work Group met on Tuesday, December 17, 2013, with Coalition members and staff represented: Coalition President Tino Hernandez, President & CEO of Samaritan Village, Coalition Past President Donna Colonna, Chief Executive Office of Services for the UnderServed, Coalition Board Member Tony Hannigan, Executive Director, Center for Urban Community Services, Rosa Gil, President & CEO of Comunilife, Bobby Watts, Executive Director at Care for the Homeless, Maureen Friar, Strategic Development Officer at Community Access, and Jason Lippman, Director of Policy & Advocacy at The Coalition.

Conversations at the work group meeting were guided by a slide deck, which first covered an update on the MRT 1115 Waiver Amendment, particularly related to housing services. The State’s initial request included $750M in capital and rental subsidies for high users of Medicaid who were precariously housed. That request was determined to be “un-fundable” under the waiver by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Instead, the State will pursue support for housing dollars through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Plan, where funding can be made available to “safety net providers” from savings derived from reductions in inappropriate hospitalizations. Information was posted online about DSRIP funding earlier this week. DOH also stated at the meeting, that it is in the process of compiling its budget request for State fiscal year 2014-15, and will ask workgroup members for ideas and feedback on MRT housing initiatives when the group meets again in January. This led into two presentations and discussions on the need to coordinate capital, service and operating funds when MRT awards are released, as well as housing and health integration.


OASAS Launches New Veterans' Web page

American FlagNew York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez announced that OASAS has launched a new veterans' web page on the OASAS website that contains resources and information specifically for veterans, returning service members and their families struggling with addiction to alcohol and other substances.

The web page provides:

  • the new OASAS brochure entitled The Long Journey Home and the Need to Heal, to help veterans and their families recognize the complex issues many of them are facing and provide direction on how and where to seek help,
  • a list of OASAS-certified treatment providers who have developed veteran-focused and specific services. These providers offer trauma-informed care in environments that embrace the military virtues of service and devotion to duty, and
  • a newly created e-mail address, veterans@oasas.ny.gov, which may be used to contact OASAS veterans services personnel directly.


Before You Pop Open That Bottle of Champagne…End-of-Year Compliance Certifications Are Required

With a new year upon us; holiday celebrations, travel and time spent with loved ones, we must stop and remember one thing: compliance certifications!

First we pause to recall the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) Certification requirement, where healthcare entities receiving greater than $5M in Medicaid payments in a federal fiscal year must annually certify that they have written policies and procedures in place informing and educating employees, contractors and agents about federal and state false claim acts and whistleblower protections. This year, due to some confusion by New York State Medicaid providers that must complete a federal DRA certification, the only option available on the DRA form when prompted, will be “October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013”. DRA certification must be completed by the January 1st. 

Next on your list should be the New York State Social Services Law Section 363-d and 18 NYCRR Part 521 Certification – NYS Mandatory Provider Compliance Programs, where healthcare entities licensed under Article 28 or 36 of the New York Public Health Law, or Article 16 or 31 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law, are required to adopt and implement an effective compliance program. Compliance programs must include elements such as a code of conduct, written compliance policies, training and education of employees and Board members, audits and risk assessments, and more. Certification is required annually every December.

The Coalition has policy and procedure templates available for purchase which comply with both the DRA and Part 521 requirements. They make the perfect holiday gift!


Trainings at The Coalition

You can check out and register for the latest trainings being offered at The Coalition’s Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery and our Professional Learning Center online. Upcoming seminars include trainings on PROS Advanced CBT and Skills Development in Groups on January 13th and Managed Care 2014 and Beyond on January 15th.


Around the Water Cooler

Congratulations to Lilliam Barrios-Paoli on her appointment by Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio to be the next Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services for New York City. Ms. Barrios Paoli is currently the Commissioner for the NYC Department of Aging (DFTA). She’s former Director of Safe Space—a member of The Coalition—and a friend and wise person about behavioral health. We look forward to working with Ms. Barrios-Paoli and the next administration.

 Dr. Peter Beitchman, Chief Executive Officer of The Bridge will be retiring on July 1, 2014, after 30 years of service there. Dr. Beitchman will truly be missed in The Coalition world. He is currently the Secretary of our Board’s Executive Committee, has served as a Board Member and once headed The Coalition prior to his time at The Bridge. We wish Peter a rewarding and fulfilling retirement.

Phoenix House announced three months ago the appointment of Andrew Kolodny, M.D., a nationally recognized psychiatrist and public health advocate, as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Kolodny joined Phoenix House from Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where he had served as Chair of Psychiatry since 2008. He brings with him “a wealth of clinical experience in addiction medicine.”

Congratulations to Marc D. Kutner, who has been appointed to the Board of Directors of New York State Rehabilitation Association (NYSRA). Kutner currently is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Services for the UnderServed (SUS), a Coalition member. He is also a Coalition staff alumnus, serving as the Director of Special Initiatives in our Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery.

The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (JBFCS) has announced three new leadership appointments. Leonardo Rodriguez and Rebecca (Becky) Wulf will become Executive Program Director for Child & Residential Services and Executive Program Director for Community Treatment & Support Services, respectively. New hire Thea Jandzio will serve as Executive Program Director for Adult & Family Residential Services. We wish them great success in their new roles.

Service Program for Older People (SPOP) has appointed Dan Del Bene, LCSW, as Director of Administration. He joins the staff with over 20 years of experience in community-based social service programs, and will supervise all administrative functions at SPOP. We wish him good fortune in his new position.

The Institute for Community Living (ICL) announced the promotion of Maureen Italiano, LCSW-R to Chief Program Officer (CPO), effective January 2, 2014. She will be responsible for the oversight of all the program operations of the agency, including the agency's newest Adult Home Supported Housing Transition initiative. With this appointment, Ms. Italiano will be the last member to complete the new Executive Team. We send our good luck wishes to her.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
7477 Borough Manager
7479 Bilingual (Spanish or Chinese) LMSW/LCSW - Full-time and Per Diem

Director, Wellness & Entitlements




Associate Director of Programs

7488 Outpatient Psychiatrists or Nurse Practitioners
7492 Court Liaison



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