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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
             May 27, 2014

Coalition Members Excluded from DSRIP Safety Net Provider Status

On May 15, 2014, the State Department of Health released its lists of “Designated Safety Net Providers”, those providers eligible to participate in the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.

Serving in its “watchdog” function, The Coalition immediately reviewed the list of OMH Providers and Diagnostic & Treatment Centers. We determined that a number of our members had been wrongly deemed to be ineligible or did not appear on the list whatsoever.  The criteria for non-hospital based providers, not participating as part of a state-designated health home, are that the provider has at least 35 percent of all patient volume in their primary lines of business and must be associated with Medicaid, uninsured and Dual Eligible individuals. The providers we identified clearly met this standard.

The Coalition sent an alert to all of its providers and based on their responses we compiled a list of the improperly excluded providers. We submitted the list to the SDOH & OMH via email on May 16 and followed this up with in-person meetings with senior agency officials on Monday, May 19. The following day OMH contacted The Coalition and advised us that they were submitting a supplemental list of as many as 70 providers that had been improperly excluded from Safety Net Provider status. OMH officials also told The Coalition that an updated list would be posted on the DSRIP website shortly.

Additionally, The Coalition sought advice on the appeals process for providers who wanted to dispute non-designation. The DSRIP FAQ states that there will be such an appeals process and form, but neither was available on May 15 when the lists were posted.  The Coalition contacted the DSRIP Team and the appeals process and form was posted on May 19.

Be assured, that The Coalition will be closely monitoring the DSRIP website for updates and will be in contact with the relevant SDOH and OMH officials to ensure that all members that are eligible are included on the Designated Safety Net Provider list.

If you believe you have been incorrectly excluded from the list, which can be found here: http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/redesign/docs/safety_net_omh.pdf, please contact Jamin Sewell, Counsel & Managing Director for Policy and Advocacy at 212.742.1600 X 102 or jsewell@coalitionny.org.


Mayor de Blasio Issues Executive Budget

On May 8, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio presented New York City's Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which his office describes as "a fiscally responsible plan that reflects the administration's priorities and moves the city in a new, progressive direction."

The de Blasio administration is also claiming to be continuing efforts begun under the preliminary budget to end the "budget dance" by further reforming the budget process and moving forward shared priorities with the City Council.

The “budget dance,” as it came to be described during the Bloomberg Administration, was the Mayor's refusal to baseline or permanently adopt City Council funding initiatives and priorities that would ultimately return year after year in the final budget agreement. Examples include the Geriatric Mental Health and Children Under 5 Mental Health initiatives, which consistently received outstanding reviews by the Administration, but were excluded from the Mayor's Preliminary and Executive Budget proposals.

The choreography of the "dance" included requiring providers, The Coalition and our advocacy partners to spend significant time and resources every year to fight for restoration of these initiatives.

Former Mayor Bloomberg finally “baselined” all of the Council initiatives in the waning days of his administration. Mayor de Blasio has accepted this decision and the formally Council initiatives are now part of his Executive Budget proposal. This action will provide more certainty to providers and allow The Coalition to advocate for expanded or new funding opportunities for our members in future budgets.

Although there is no specific mention of mental health and substance abuse treatment services in the Mayor's statements on the budget, we applaud his focus on affordable housing and protecting the most vulnerable.

The Coalition will be closely monitoring the negotiations over the final budget to help ensure the baselined funding is allocated to current recipients and at current fiscal year levels.


House Subcommittee Approves Budget $2 billion below Administration’s FY 2015 Budget Request

On May 7, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) approved by voice vote its fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bill. The spending legislation contains a $40.3 billion dollar budget for the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), approximately $2 billion below the President’s FY 2015 Budget Request and $770 million below currently enacted FY 2014 spending levels.

The proposal cuts rental assistance programs, public housing capital & operating funding, Community Development Block Grants and Place Based Initiatives below FY 2014 levels.  Homeless and Supportive Housing programs were level-funded at FY 2014 levels.

The full House Committee on Appropriations will mark up the FY 2015 THUD bill the week of May 19, at which time amendments will be offered.


Brennan and Ranzenhofer Introduce Bill to Provide More Time for Compliance with Non-Profit Executive Compensation Rules

Cognizant of the burden that the new executive compensation rules place on non-profits, Assemblymember James F. Brennan and Senator Michael H. Razenhofer recently introduced a bill to delay the effective date of compliance to March 15, 2015. The current law (Chapter 549) requires non-profits with revenues under $10,000,000 to be in compliance by January 1, 2015. Additionally, the legislation, A.9600/S.7341, would defer the compliance date for all non-profits, not just those with revenues under $10,000,000.

The Coalition strongly supports this legislation and we urge our members to contact the sponsors and their State elected officials to express support at as well.


The Coalition Supports Legislation that Allows for Expanded Access to Anti-Opiate Medication

S.6477B/A.8637B, An Act to amend the public health law, in relation to use of opioid antagonists, was introduced this session by Senator Kemp Hannon and Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz. Due to the increase of opioid abuse, expanded access to Naloxone has become a necessary priority to save lives. The legislation allows for non-patient specific prescriptions that will permit community-based health organizations to deliver overdose prevention education and Naloxone to those in need.

Expanding upon the success of existing programs, more lives could be saved if Naloxone was available to drug users, their families and other people likely to be in a position to assist a person at risk of an opioid related overdose. Under this legislation one prescriber would be able to issue a non-patient specific order to numerous programs, allowing for increased access. Currently, parents and family members of drug users are being turned away from Naloxone training programs or are attending the programs and not receiving Naloxone due to the shortage of prescribers participating in such programs. This legislation will also allow for expanded access through pharmacies. By increasing access, this legislation will equip individuals likely to discover an overdose victim with the ability to save his or her life.

The bill has passed the Assembly and the Senate. The Coalition will strongly urge Governor Cuomo to sign this bill.


The Coalition Awarded NYCTrust Grant to Prepare OASAS Providers for Managed Care Transition

The Coalition is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $125,000 grant from the New York Community Trust. The funds will be used for a “Holistic Integration Initiative” which will provide training and technical assistance to community-based substance abuse providers, preparing them to navigate the transition to managed care and emerge stronger and better prepared to serve their communities.

We are attempting to secure additional funding in order to increase the scope of the initiative in order to incorporate more substance use agencies in the project.  We look forward to working with eligible agencies once the Initiative comes to full fruition.


OMH Announces Over $4 Million in Grant Awards to Benefit Aging New Yorkers

Coalition Members FEGS Health & Human Services, Catholic Charities and Odyssey House were among the few Statewide providers who received grants from OMH for programs that offer both physical and behavioral health care services to older adults.

Kudos to these members for their innovative programming!


The Coalition Joins the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing

The Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing is consortium of supportive housing operators and other advocates calling on Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to negotiate a new City-State agreement to create 30,000 units of supportive housing for homeless individuals and families with disabilities over the next ten years. See attached for the proposal, along with the growing list of endorsers, and if you haven't already, you can join the campaign as an endorser by clicking HERE.

In addition to your endorsement, please consider joining the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing next Thursday, May 29th at 11:00AM for a rally and press conference on City Hall’s steps to show your support of a new Supportive Housing Agreement.

Speakers will include leaders from the field, supportive housing tenants, and individuals and families who would benefit from a new supportive housing agreement. Please spread the word and encourage your community to attend so we can demonstrate the need, and encourage the City and to negotiate with the State for a new agreement.

We will also be rallying via Twitter. Have your organization tweet its support using the hashtag #4NYNYhousing.


The Coalition Welcomes New Members & Associate Members

Since our last issue of Briefs several new agencies became members or associate members of The Coalition family.

New Members

Acacia Network, a consortium of Latino based agencies, opened in 1969, offers a unique constellation of services in the area of health, housing and economic development. Its mission is to partner with its communities, lead change, promote healthy and prosperous individuals and families. Acacia is statewide in its reach.

Community Health Action of Staten Island provides a broad array of services including HIV prevention, care coordination for people with chronic illness, education for inmates and re-entry support for parolees, addiction treatment, opioid overdose prevention among others. It also has a food pantry, an LGBT community center and mobile health units that all offer programs in many locations. Community Health Action of Staten Island works with people, their relatives and their neighbors to improve health outcomes and promote resiliency.

The Fortune Society is a social service and advocacy organization, founded in 1967, whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities.  As part of its broad range of services, the Fortune Society maintains an Article 31 mental health clinic, called The Better Living Center.

For over three decades, Outreach, has been a provider and champion of quality, life-changing drug and alcohol abuse treatment and training services. Outreach specializes in outreach, engagement and treatment for youth and families.

New Associate Members

Beacon Health Strategies is an NCQA-accredited managed behavioral health organization (MBHO). Its mission is to deliver care that is person-centered and data-driven.

MetroPlus is a prepaid health services plan that offers low or no-cost health insurance to eligible people living in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx through the following plans: Medicaid Managed Care, Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus, Medicaid HIV Special Needs Plan (SNP), Partnership in Care, and Managed Long Term Care. MetroPlus emphasizes primary and preventive care.

Phillip Saperia, The Coalition's CEO, welcomes the new members. We all are delighted that they have joined The Coalition. "On behalf of our leadership and staff, I extend to you a hearty welcome to our family and community. We are looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship."


Around the Water Cooler

Catherine M. Abate, President and CEO of Community Healthcare Network, died this weekend after a two-year battle with cancer. She had a distinguished career as a public servant and a pioneering CEO of Community HealthCare Networks (CHN). Ms. Abate began her professional life as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society in New York City, and eventually became director of training in its Criminal Defense Division.  She served in the New York State from 1994-1998, as Governor Mario Cuomo’s executive deputy commissioner of the state's Division of Human Rights from 1986-1988 and in 1988, to the position of Chair of the New York State Crime Victims Board. Under former under David N. Dinkins she served first as Commissioner of the Department of Probation and later as Commissioner of the Department of Correction.

Since June 1999, she was the President & CEO of CHN. CHN provides access to affordable, culturally-competent and comprehensive community-based primary care, mental health and social services for diverse populations in underserved communities throughout New York City. CHN is a member of the Coalition. Catherine was a strong advocate for affordable health care, diabetes prevention and community health care.

She is survived by her husband, Ronald Kliegerman, and son, Kyle Kliegerman. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name are requested for CHN, 60 Madison Ave., fifth floor, New York, N.Y. 10010, designated for the Holistic Center.

Teena Brooks has been appointed Assistant Director for the Office of Consumer Affairs of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Health. In this role, she will represent the consumer/peer perspective in the planning, policy development, advocacy and innovative service development activities within the Division.  Teena has worked at the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project for a decade and during that time worked on a variety of advocacy campaigns. Teena has also been very active with the New York Association for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) for which she has held a variety of leadership positions over the years.

Neal Cohen, MD has joined the Senior Staff Team at OMH as the Senior Medical Advisor to the Commissioner on System Redesign and Managed Care and will be based in the New York City Field Office.  Just previous to OMH, Dr. Cohen served as Associate Provost for Health and Social Welfare at Hunter College and Interim Dean of the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. Dr. Cohen has a distinguished career as a community psychiatrist both in public policy positions and as the director of community and hospital based services.  He served as the Commissioner of NY City’s Department of Mental Health in 1996, and from 1998 to 2001 assumed the position of Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health.  Previously, he was the Vice Chairman of Mt. Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Community Psychiatry.  He was the Director of Psychiatry at Gouverneur Diagnostic and Treatment Center on the Lower East Side of NY City. The Coalition has a long history of partnership with Dr. Cohen and welcomes him to his new position at this time of rapid change.

Joel Copperman, CEO & President of CASES and Coalition Board Member, was appointed by Governor Cuomo as a Member of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice. According to the Governor, the Commission "will provide concrete, actionable recommendations regarding youth in New York's criminal and juvenile justice systems by the end of this calendar year.”

Sandra Hagan, former executive director and current senior adviser at The Child Center of NY; and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center were the winners of the fourth annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. The awards were administered by Hunter College and awarded to individuals and nonprofits for contributions to urban public health.

On May 22, 2014, PSCH announced that its Westchester Square Mental Health Clinic had been designated as a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) approved site.  This Clinic is situated in the Bronx, and is in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), where there is a definable shortage of mental and behavioral health providers.  The Westchester Square Mental Health Clinic is recognized as providing essential services to the under-served population in this area.

The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP) presented its 2014 Stuart Nichols Award to Rainbow Heights Club, a program of the Heights Hill Mental Health Service, a Coalition member.  The award was accompanied by a $500 honorarium from AGLP to support the work of the agency in 2014

Allison Sesso was named Executive Director of the Human Services Council of New York (HSC).  Allison served as Deputy Executive Director of the Human Services Council beginning in 2003 and was appointed to the position of Executive Director in March of 2014. Allison's past professional experiences include working at a prominent investment bank, at the New York Public Interest Research Group, and as the coordinator of a program for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Florida. As a Fellow at SUNY Albany's Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, Allison worked with the Empire Justice Center on statewide child care policy issues. She worked on policies responsive to the needs of the disabled during her internship with the Belize Government in Central America while earning her undergraduate degree at SUNY Cortland. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch/CUNY's School of Public Affairs. We have a continuing professional association with Allison and applaud her as she assumes leadership at HSC. 

Jamin Sewell has joined the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies as its Counsel and Managing Director for Policy and Advocacy. Jamin comes to the Coalition from a political consulting firm, where he served as Director of Lobbying and Government Relations.  He previously served as Counsel to former NYC Council Member Oliver Koppell.  Koppell chaired the Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services.  In his new role, Jamin will be responsible for monitoring and managing the Coalition’s legislative, regulatory, policy and budget agendas on all levels of government. Jamin is also an attorney and will provide advice to the Coalition on a variety of legal matters.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
7777 Worksite Supervisor, Queens Justice Corps (P/T)
7779 Staff Psychotherapist

Director of Housing Development


Reentry Coordination Liaison


Program Director

7801 Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
7807 Mental Health Recovery Counselor
7813 Administrator Health Home
7823 Director of Medicare Compliance



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