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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
             June 25, 2014

The Coalition’s 2014 Awards Reception

On June 19, 2014, The Coalition held its Annual Leadership Awards Reception.  Phillip Saperia, The Coalition’s Chief Executive Officer, presented the Public Service Award to Mary Travis Bassett, MD, MPH, the newly minted Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Coalition honored 3 individuals with Leadership Awards: Peter D. Beitchman, DSW, LMSW, Chief Executive Officer, The Bridge, Norwig Debye-Saxinger, Vice President, Government Relations, Public Policy and Licensing, Phoenix House of New York and Jonas Waizer, Chief for Healthcare Policy, FEGS. Coalition President Tino Hernandez presented the award to Mr. Debye-Saxinger. Mr. Beitchman and Mr. Waizer, longtime colleagues, presented awards to one another. Entertainment was provided by Robin Baxter and Hippie Lou who regaled the assembled guests with the songs “Crazy” and “I’ll be Seeing You”. The Coalition's website has photos from the event.

Mr. Saperia’s inspirational closing remarks emphasized the social justice in the everyday work of Coalition members.


NYC Council Approves $1 Million Funding Initiative to Address the Mental Health Needs of Court-Involved Youth and their Families

With support from the Coalition, Council Member Deborah Rose (D-Staten Island) has secured $1 million in the Fiscal Year 2015 Expense Budget for a new program entitled, “Court-Involved Youth Mental Health Initiative.” Ten organizations, including The Coalition will receive funding in the amount of $100,000 each:

Astor Services for Children & Families
Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services
Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, Inc. (CASES)
The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc.
Fortune Society, Inc.
Jewish Child Care Association of New York
Safe Horizon
SCO Family of Services
Staten Island Mental Health Society, Inc.
The Children’s Aid Society

According to budget documents released on June 24, 2014, “This allocation will fund the following: implementing an effective risk assessment tool to determine whether juveniles are in need of mental health services early in the arrest process engaging families of court-involved youth through family counseling, respite services and other evidence-based practices; and connecting community-based providers to other non-governmental organizations that have familiarity with the courts, Administration for Children’s Service, Department of Corrections and other relevant City and State agencies.”

At Council Member Rose’s request, The Coalition was very active in advocating for this initiative. We provided research and analysis for Council Member Rose; attended meetings with individual Council Members to educate them on the issue and elicit their support; facilitated an email and phone call campaign with Coalition Members; and maintained a presence at City Hall.

This initiative is a perfect complement to Mayor de Blasio’s newly appointed Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System that will examine and develop additional new approaches to the problems of criminally involved youth who have emotional problems.

Thank you to the entire Council, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Rose for recognizing the pressing need to provide mental health treatment for this vulnerable population.


Governor Cuomo Signs a Package of Bills Targeting the Abuse of Heroin and Other Opioids

On June 23, 2014, the Governor signed legislation designed to combat the growing epidemic of heroin and other opioids in communities across the State. The Governor and legislative leaders reached an agreement on multiple bills that include new programs and insurance reforms to improve treatment options for individuals suffering from heroin and opioid addiction; measures to strengthen penalties and put in place additional tools for law enforcement to crack down on the distribution of illegal drugs; provisions to ensure the proper and safe use of Naloxone, an overdose antidote; and support for enhanced public awareness campaigns to prevent drug abuse.

Our colleague, Laura Darman, of Malkin & Ross, drafted a summary of the bills.

The Coalition issued a memorandum in support of one of the bills, A.10164 (Cusick)/S.7912 (Seward), which amends the Insurance Law to require that health insurance policies provide coverage for  inpatient and outpatient diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders, including detoxification and rehabilitation services—particularly during the QA and appeals process. Such coverage must be consistent with the federal Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act of 2008. Coverage may be limited to facilities in New York State and be subject to annual deductibles and co-insurance.

The Coalition is reviewing the entire package of bills to ascertain what their impact, collectively and individually, will have on our members.


The Coalition, COFCCA and CMHNY Respond to NYSDOH’s Children’s Health Home Proposal

In a letter of June 12, 2014, The Coalition, the Council of Family & Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA) and the NYS Coalition for Children’s Mental Health Services (CMHNY) provided comments on NYSDOH’s children’s Health Home proposal.

The Coalition, COFCCA AND CMHNY expressed cautious support for the proposal:

“We embrace the principles laid out for children in Health Homes and Managed Care in the March 4, 2014 presentation, Tailoring New York’s Health Home Model for Children. We endorse the goals of the health home, - to improve the well-being of children, improve the quality of services, better integrate services in the community and improve access. We also endorse the goal to improve quality of care and outcomes while reducing health care costs.”

The three organizations stressed that the final model for Children’s Health Homes must engage and be inclusive of families. In addition, they argued, that the complexity of working with families must be woven into all decisions regarding eligibility, acuity, rate setting and case load size.


The Coalition Responds to the OASAS Draft Proposal for Intensive Residential

The Coalition set forth its comments on OASAS draft proposal for “Intensive Residential Modeling.” According to OASAS, the new model will have a “[p]hilosopy of intensive residential programming based on ‘Community as Method.’ [It will employ] trauma informed and evidence based treatment within the therapeutic milieu that uses behavioral and social interventions to influence pro-social and pro-community norms of respect, work, value of others, and self.”

The Coalition’s response was developed in consultation with Coalition Members who currently provide residential treatment services.


The Coalition’s Professional Learning Center Winds Down Successful Season

The Coalition’s Professional Learning Center (PLC) is winding down its current season of workshops. We were very pleased this month to host a SAMHSA sponsored 3 day grant writing workshop which covered the grant writing process, foundation grants and federal grants. Special thanks go to Dennis Romero, regional SAMHSA Administrator for Region II, for making this valuable learning experience available to our members and other providers.

Since the implementation of the new ICD 10 (International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization) has been postponed until October 2015, the PLC also hosted a series of 3 timely webinars covering the use of the DSM 5 (the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the APA) with the ICD 9 diagnosis codes. OASAS has indicated that they will require the use of DSM 5 beginning in January 2015, up until then, use is optional. OMH has not set a date for the required use of DSM 5, but indicates that CAIRS and NIMRS are expected to accept DSM 5 by late June. Use is optional. Please note that NYS DOH Medicaid will continue to require the use of ICD codes on claims.


ACCESS NYC for City, State and Federal Benefit Programs

ACCESS NYC is New York City’s website to screen for eligibility and facilitate applications for more than 30 City, State and Federal benefit programs. One can also get information on: Programs Available from ACCESS NYC, Search for Office Locations, More Health and Human Services from 311, ACCESS NYC Support for Your Organization, and Visit the New York State MyBenefits website.

ACCESS NYC provides monthly trainings for Agency and CBO staff, designed to help you facilitate your clients’ use of the website. The next training dates are: July 10, August 13, or September 10 from 10:00 AM to Noon. To register please email your name as well as the name of your organization to: accessnyc@hhsconnect.nyc.gov.


New York Court Strikes Down Limits on Executive Compensation at For-Profit Human Service Organizations

On April 9, 2014, the Nassau County Supreme Court struck down a 2013 state regulation limiting executive compensation at for-profit human service provider organizations holding state contracts. The ruling came in Agencies for Children’s Therapy Services, Inc. v. New York Department of Health (DOH). The court said the state had no authority to regulate executive compensation at for-profit state contractors; DOH and the Governor had overstepped their authority by creating policy that the legislature had not authorized. The state is expected to appeal.

The court said there was no evidence that the DOH used any special health-related expertise to create the conflict of interest regulations or the compensation and administrative cost rates. As a result, the court said the state cannot limit the compensation of executives at for-profit organizations that receive reimbursement from state funds. The cap on administrative services was also invalidated, as were the conflict of interest regulations.

While the decision is limited to Nassau County and for-profit providers, advocates are exploring whether the reasoning applies (or could apply, through additional legal action) to all human service providers in New York. 


The Coalition Welcomes New Member & Associate Member

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

New Member

Bailey House Behavioral Health Center became a member of The Coalition on June 12, 2014. Bailey House’s mission is to provide housing and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and, also, advocate on their behalf.

New Associate Member

Millin Associates is a full-service medical billing and technology firm. Millin is a specialist in supporting health and human services agencies identify and eliminate gaps in their revenues since 1982.

Welcome to the Coalition!  We look forward to working with you.


Around the Water Cooler

The Coalition Seeks Substance Use Service Specialist. In accord with our grant award from the New York Community Trust, and in line with our intention to hire a full time specialist in Substance Abuse services for The Coalition’s policy and program staff, we are asking for your help identifying possible candidates. The job description has been advertised in City and State and will also placed in the New York Times.

If you know of potential candidates, please pass their resumes on or have the candidates send their resumes to Pat at pgoldstein@coalitionny.org. They should put Substance Use Service Specialist in the Subject line.

Former Deputy Secretary of Health, Jim Introne, is returning to the NYS Department of Health to help oversee the disbursal of more than $6 billion in federal money from a recently approved Medicaid waiver. In his new position, Introne will provide counsel on matters related to the health department's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program. Introne retired from the department in 2013, and afterward began working for Sachs Consulting, a firm headed by Jeffrey Sachs, a close friend and ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Coalition’s Phillip Saperia was appointed to the Working Group on Release and Reentry of the Mayor’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System. The task force will recommend and implement strategies to ensure proper diversion routes and treatment for people with mental illness or substance abuse within the criminal justice system, as well as before and after contact with the system. The task force will present its action plan to the Mayor in September, 100 days after its first meeting which was on June 18th.

Service Program for Older People Celebrates its PROS Participants. On May 22nd the Service Program for Older People (SPOP)welcomed over 50 participants and guests to celebrate the achievements of its Personalized Recovery Oriented Service (PROS) program. Launched in October 2013, PROS at SPOP is the state’s only program of its kind exclusively for older adults. Susan Friedlander (representing NY State Office of Mental Health) thanked SPOP for its leadership in the field, and PROS participant, Tony, spoke about how SPOP has provided him with stability, support, and opportunities for learning and growth.

On June 5, 2014: Giselle Stolper, President and CEO of Mental Health Association of New York City and its H2H Connect division and Seth Feuerstein M.D., CEO of Cobalt Therapeutics, are proud to announce a formal agreement to offer Cobalt’s suite of online cognitive behavior programs combined with MHA-NYC’s world-class telephonic, text and chat supports. Through this agreement, MHA-NYC will make comprehensive internet based cognitive behavioral therapy (CiCBT) available online 24 hours a day. Dr. Feuerstein, notes, “Until now, we have been limited in our ability to deliver the right care to people at the right time because of shortages of skilled clinicians who are adequately trained in CBT.”


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
7867 Program Director
7869 Deputy Director for Clinical and Substance Use Services

Clinical Supervisor - HRS/HASA - DR


Case Manager (Late Night)


Community Services Coordinator/Field Coordinator

7886 Admissions Coordinator/Recovery Counselor
7889 Employment/Vocational Specialist
7896 Bilingual (Spanish/English) Social Worker, F/T
7918 Director, CAPE



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