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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 30, 2014

Mayor de Blasio Pledges $130 Million to Reform NYC Jails

In June of 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio convened a Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System. Over 400 leaders in government and community leaders in public health and public safety were convened to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure that, when appropriate, people are diverted from the criminal justice system and that justice-involved individuals with behavioral health needs are connected to care and services at every point in the criminal justice process.

The Coalition played a major role in crafting the Task Force’s Action Plan, was represented on the Task Force’s Executive Committee and in every Working Group. The Coalition’s Phillip A. Saperia served on the Release and Reentry Working Group and Jamin R. Sewell, served on the Back in the Neighborhood Working Group. A complete list of Coalition participants can be found here.

The Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System rigorously mapped the gaps in our current systems and developed targeted solutions that look not only at individual points in the system, but at how the system as whole operates

This $130 million, four-year investment is a key component of the City’s commitment to reduce unnecessary arrests and incarceration, direct criminal justice resources to where they will have the greatest public safety impact and make our City's criminal justice system fairer. Additionally, by giving police officers additional training and options for addressing behavioral health needs, the Action Plan will also contribute to to the de-escalation of police encounters and improve the relationship between law enforcement and local communities.

The Coalition is extremely proud of the vital role its members played in the Task Force and we look forward to seeing the implementation of the Action Plan which we believe will have a profoundly positive impact on our city.


Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Mandate Discharge Planning Including Post-Incarceration Appointments and Medication. Also Expands Authority to Initiate Involuntary Commitment

On December 29, 2014, New York State enacted sweeping legislation regarding the post-incarceration treatment of individuals living with mental illness. The law mandates that every inmate who has received mental health treatment within 3 years of his/her anticipated release date from a State Correctional Facility shall be provided with discharge planning, and, when necessary, an appointment with a mental health professional in the community who can prescribe medications following discharge.

It also requires that sufficient mental health medications and prescriptions be provided to bridge the period between discharge and such time as such mental health professional may assume care of the patient. According to the legislation, inmates who have refused mental health treatment may also be provided mental health discharge planning and any necessary appointment with a mental health professional.

More controversial, the legislation will expand the authority to initiate involuntary commitment to post-incarceration treatment for individuals with mental illness to include “community supervision responsible for community supervision” (i.e., Department of Probation, LGU) in the region where the person with mental illness has been released to any form of supervision following incarceration. The authority to initiate involuntary post-incarceration commitment previously had rested solely with the Superintendent of the correctional facility where the individual was held.

Clearly, the discharge planning mandates related to treatment are a positive step, however, many folks in the behavioral health sector will not be pleased with new authorities being given leeway to initiate involuntary commitment proceedings.


NY Times Discussion of Disclosure

The New York Times ran a very insightful article on November 14, 2015, titled, “Deciding Whether to Disclose Mental Disorders to the Boss.” Deciding whether to disclose a disability in the workplace can be a wrenching experience potentially fraught with peril for the individual making the disclosure. This article does an excellent job of discussing the pros and cons.



In the last edition of Briefs, we failed to mention that Diane Arneth, Executive Director of Coalition member Community Health Action of Staten Island, was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force to End AIDS. Our sincere apologies go to Diane and Community Health Action of Staten Island for our inadvertent omission. Congratulations to her as well!


Around the Water Cooler


Astor Services for Children & Families’ outpatient clinic and Adolescent Day Treatment programs were selected, from a competitive, national group of provider applicants, to participate with 28 other agencies in the National Council for Behavioral Health's "Reducing Adolescent Substance Abuse Initiative.”

The Bridge recently received the largest programmatic foundation award in its history - $400,000 over 4 years from the Oak Foundation. This grant will fund a Veterans Service Coordinator at The Bridge, who will lead the agency’s efforts in serving veterans with serious mental illness and substance abuse.

The Bridge also held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for a new 17 unit building at 2265 Bathgate Avenue in the Bronx for veterans who are struggling with chronic homelessness and mental illness. This is permanent supportive housing for veterans. Each tenant has his/her own studio apartment. Amenities include a community room with kitchen, laundry room, and outdoor recreational space. There will be on-site case management services for the tenants, and 24/7 front desk coverage.

Under a $52 million four-year Attendance Improvement and Dropout Intervention grant administered in partnership with the United Way of New York, New York City will launch more community schools than any other city in the nation. Selected to partner with the new community schools were Coalition members: BronxWorks, CAMBA, Children’s Aid Society, Good Shepherd Services, Henry Street Settlement and SCO Family Services.

On November 17, 2014, Governor Cuomo and other elected officials celebrated the completion of CAMBA's CAMBA Garden Phase I and the beginning of construction of Phase II. Both supportive housing residences are located on the campus of Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. The project, which had many financing partners including the State of NY, City of New York and other financial institutions, including Coalition for Supportive Housing, will provide over 500 units of much needed affordable housing for families and individuals.

On November 17, 2015, CASES opened its new central office in Downtown Brooklyn at 151 Lawrence Street. This location will be home to its administration and select programs. Good luck to our colleagues in your new home!

Carmen Collado has joined ICL as its Chief Networking and Relationship Officer. For the past 12 years, Carmen served as the Chief Government & Community Relations Officer at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. ICL’s announcement can be found here: http://www.iclinc.net/latest-news/carmen-collado-joins-icl/

In more Carmen Collado news, Carmen was honored by the New York University Silver School of Social Work presented its annual Alumni Awards, honoring six alumni for their contributions to the field of social work and the School. Congratulations, Carmen!

Community Healthcare Network (CHN) (a Coalition-member) has appointed Robert M. Hayes as its new President and CEO. According to CHN, Hayes brings a wealth of experience as a policy advocate, manager and attorney in the non-profit and private sectors. He has spent the past five years at Universal American Corporation where he specialized in quality assurance for government-funded healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. Prior to that, Hayes served as President and General Counsel at the Medicare Rights Center. He is also renowned for his work in New York and nationally as the Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless for which he received a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellowship. Mr. Hayes graduated cum laude from Georgetown University and New York University School of Law where he was elected to the Law Review. We welcome Robert Hayes to The Coalition Family!

Long Island’s Community Foundation allocated nearly half a million dollars to 23 nonprofits across Long Island including Coalition members: Concern For Independent Living and SCO Family of Services (SCO) .

The Coalition’s President, Tino Hernandez, President & CEO of Samaritan Village, was honored with the Top Social Work Leader in NYC award at the National Association of Social Workers’ 8th Annual Leadership Awards Dinner. Other Coalition members honored at the December 4, 2014 ceremony included: Deirdre Deleo, Visiting Nurse Services of New York, Tonia Spence, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and Libby Traynor, Staten Island Mental Health Society (Mid-Career Exemplary Leaders) as well as Yusef Graves, BronxWorks, Kelly Lennon-Martucci, Henry Street Settlement, Danielle Murphy-Coward, ICL and Fausto Ramos, University Settlement (Emerging Leaders). Former Coalition Board Member and past Executive Director of The Bridge, Peter Beitchman, received the Special Leader Award.

The MRT Affordable Housing Workgroup released of over $26 million for six new pilot projects to test innovative supportive housing models of care. Coalition members were awarded grants in the following categories:

Institute for Community Living (ICL) announced that it will be offering web-based and mobile self-help resource applications available to its consumers in New York City and Montgomery County, PA.

The Institute for Family Health (IFH) will receive $250,000 in ACA funding to expand behavioral health services at its Family Health Center of Harlem and Ellenville Family Health Center. Both centers will hire additional licensed social workers and psychiatrists to provide extended access to behavioral health services during evening and weekend hours. The IFH also is launching a capacity-building effort to improve integration of behavioral health and primary care services across its network.

JBFCS is one of three New York State nonprofits among 48 nationally to receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 supporting bereavement services for children. The grants are part of a $1.4 million commitment by the New York Life Foundation and will be given over a two year period.

On November 13, 2014 Jean Newburg, Executive Director of Coalition member Weston United was inducted into the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) at the Rubin Museum. Jean’s work was also shown at the NAWA Museum in exhibition for this year’s juried inductees to NAWA on November 5, 2014. Bravo, Jean!

Coalition member, Outreach, announced a new program, the first of its kind in Queens, specifically designed to serve those in the LGBTQ community. Outreach staff members have been specifically employed and trained to address sexual orientation, gender identity, homophobia, heterosexism, the "coming out" process, parenting and legal implications as they relate to drugs and alcohol. Outreach will provide a wide range of services on site including, individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, couples counseling, vocational services, nursing and psychiatric care. This makes treatment a one-stop experience with separate services available for adolescents and adults. Services are available in both English and Spanish.

The Postgraduate Center for Mental Health was awarded a Homeless Housing Assistance Award (HHAP) by the Cuomo Administration. Under the award, the Postgraduate Center will develop 100 units of mixed affordable housing in the Bronx. Half of the units will serve homeless people who have health and mental health challenges. These units qualify for $4.2 million in Medicaid Redesign Team funding. Another fifteen apartments are reserved for New York/New York III families and received $1.3 million in HHAP. The remaining 35 units are affordable units that will serve the community at large.

James M. Raimo Sr. was elected Chair of the Board of Directors of Astor Services for Children & Families. Raimo is Vice President for Facilities & Operations at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., and has extensive governance experience, having served on the boards of several community-based organizations, including Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.

Safe Horizon received $80,100 to fund a domestic violence/sexual assault precinct case manager and partially fund a Family Justice Center case manager in the Bronx and $41,032 to provide civil legal services to child victims of sexual assault and adult victims of sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence. The grant is from $6.2 million allocated to New York State has received from the Federal government that will allow 90 community organizations, hospitals, police departments and district attorneys' offices to enhance services and protections for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

On November 14, 2015, Coalition member SAGE (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders) launched SAGEDay, a partnership with The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, to create New York City’s first comprehensive LGBT-inclusive social adult day program, located at the SAGE Center in Midtown Manhattan. SAGEDay engages older adults and improves quality of life through socialization and activities tailored to individual needs and abilities. SAGEDay is a supervised program for those who could not otherwise access SAGE services.

SCO Family of Services (SCO) has received official notice of reaccreditation from the Council on Accreditation, the independent nonprofit child and family service and behavioral healthcare accrediting organization.

On December 12, 2014, SCO’s Board of Directors elected Jessica Taylor O’Mary, a partner at Ropes & Gray LLP, to the SCO Board of Directors.

The Service Program for Older People (SPOP) has been awarded an 18-month grant of $190,000 from The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation to support the expansion of Mental Health Clinic services for adults age 60 and older.

Services for the UnderServed (SUS) and Palladia officially merged on December 4, 2014. Operating under Services for the UnderServed, according to the press release, “the merged entity will retain the best of what has made both SUS and Palladia the unique and esteemed organizations they have been since the 1970’s.” Former Coalition President, Donna Colonna, CEO of SUS, will lead the combined organization, while Coalition Board Member, Mark Hurwitz, former CEO of Palladia, will assume a new role as Chief Legal and Strategy Officer for SUS.

Services For The UnderServed (SUS) was recently awarded $2 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Minority AIDS Initiative (MIA) Continuum of Care (CoC) Pilot Program.

Coalition member, Transitional Services for New York, recently opened a new Parachute NYC Crisis Respite Center. Named Miele’s Respite, it is an alternative to hospitalization providing a soft landing for people experiencing a psychosis related crisis.

Union Settlement has announced that Charles Foster has been appointed to the position of Chief Financial Officer. In addition to overseeing finance office, Foster will be part of Union Settlement’s senior leadership team. A Chartered Global Management Accountant with an MBA in Finance and a BBA in Accounting, he has both for profit and nonprofit experience. Most recently, Foster was CFO at Abyssinian Baptist Church. In addition he has worked at KPMG, Goldman Sachs, Watson Rice and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Foster is a graduate of Baruch College and received his MBA from St. John’s University.


NYS Medicaid Inspector General, James Cox, is stepping down effective December 31, 2014. Cox had been Inspector General for three years.

Trish Marsik was appointed Executive Director to lead the implementation phase of the Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice System. Trish joins the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice from New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) where she has served for the past 14 years. Her most recent position, as Special Advisor on Insurance Policy, enabled her to work on issues relating to the current Medicaid Redesign and its implications and opportunities for behavioral health. She has also served as Assistant Commissioner for Mental Health. Trish has been a close colleague and we wish her much good fortune in her new position.

Laura D. Mascuch has been appointed by the board of the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY) as its new Executive Director. Laura began her career at Brooklyn Catholic Charities as the Director of Caring Communities, one of New York’s first supportive housing developments, she also developed Mercy Gardens, handled tax credit syndications and managed the organization’s growing supportive housing portfolio. From there, Ms. Mascuch held two posts at the Department of Homeless Services between 1993 and 1999, Director of SRO Housing and New Development Unit and Assistant Commissioner, Housing and Program Planning. From 1999 to 2002, Ms. Mascuch was the Department of Health Commissioner’s Chief of Staff. Since 2003, Ms. Mascuch has run her own consulting firm, performing environmental health and community relations services. The Coalition welcomes Laura and wishes her success at SHNNY.

Jamie Neckles was appointed Interim Chief Program Officer Bureau of Mental Health, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Jamie will be taking over for Meggan Schilkie, former Coalition staff alumna, who left the Department to become a Principal of Health Management Associates. Jamie’s portfolio includes: Office of Housing Services, Office of Rehabilitation Services, Office of Health Homes and Care Coordination, Office of Parachute NYC, Mobile Crisis Services, and Special Projects. The Coalition welcomes Jamie to her new position.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
8330 Creative Arts Specialist
8382 Case Manager

Residential Care Manager (Young Adult)


Benefits Advisor (RISS)


Manager of Medicaid Clinical Services

8394 Accounts Payable Manager
8402 Assistant Director
8408 Employment Specialist
8410 Care Navigator (Intensive Wellness Program)



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