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The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. Coalition Briefs
An Evolving Update on Behavioral Health in New York



Phillip A. Saperia Receives the National Council Visionary Leadership Award of Excellence

On March 8, 2016, at a gala ceremony held at the National Council for Behavioral Health's Annual Conference at Cesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Phillip A. Saperia, the Coalition's departing CEO, was awarded the Visionary Leadership Award of Excellence from the National Council for Community Behavioral Health. Phillip was chosen as an awardee from over 1,000 applicants to receive this prestigious award.

"I am much honored to receive this prominent award," said Mr. Saperia. "These 21 years at the helm of The Coalition have afforded me many blessings. I have gotten to know, a sterling group of people who do indispensable work that makes our world better; and helps individuals and groups of people who are quite vulnerable. I am fortunate to have worked with a dedicated Board. I also have been privileged to work side by side with a talented, committed and productive staff—both current and alumni—who have given their all for this organization and its cause. How lucky I am to be identified with the good deeds of Coalition members and to have helped make possible the continuation and wellbeing of the community safety net."

The Visionary Leadership award came with a sizable donation to an organization of the honoree's choice and we are so pleased that Phillip has selected The Coalition to be the recipient of this $10,000 donation. The award is a fitting way to honor his 21-year tenure and his considerable achievements at The Coalition as he retires at the end of March.

Steve Coe, CEO of Community Access, received the National Council for Behavioral Health's prestigious Individual Achievement in Advocacy award, recognizing both the breadth of his achievements over the course of a 36-year career and his prominent role in more recent advocacy initiatives.


Jason Lippman Returns to Coalition as Executive Vice President

We are happy to welcome Jason Lippman back to the The Coalition as its Executive Vice President. Jason spent the last two years as the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Amida Care, a special needs health plan for New Yorkers living with HIV or experiencing homelessness. Prior to his time with Amida Care, Jason was the Director of Policy and Advocacy for The Coalition.

Jason's role will be to oversee operations and special projects, including financial/grants management and development opportunities, assurance of contract deliverables, planning and implementation of training and technical assistance/learning collaboratives, membership services, strategic planning and alliances with community leaders and government officials.

Welcome back, Jason!


Coalition's Annual Conference a Smashing Success

On March 3, 2016, The Coalition held its annual conference, "Sustainability in Community Behavioral Health: Successfully Staying the Course in Choppy Waters" at Association of the Bar of the City of New York. The keynote speaker was Becky Vaughn, Vice President for Addictions, The National Council for Behavioral Health who spoke to a sold out crowd. The topic was "What does sustainability in behavioral health mean?" Ms. Vaughn has been working in the addictions field for over 30 years. She was a member of the founding board of The Georgia Association for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse (GAPTSA) in 1992 and became their first Executive Director in 1994. Beginning in 2008, she took over the helm of the State Associations for Addiction Services (SAAS) as their CEO after serving on its Board since 2000. Due to the merger of SAAS and the National Council for Behavioral Health, Ms. Vaughn is in a new role as VP for Addictions. Ms. Vaughn received her degrees from the University of GA and GA State University.

Individual and panel presentations included:

  • Value-based payments for vulnerable populations
  • How to plan for the future?
  • Achieving financial sustainability and
  • Assuring quality services

The Coalition assembled an impressive roster of speakers from the government and private sectors for the event, including:

  • Gary Belkin, MD, PhD, MPH, Executive Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Robert Myers, PhD, LMSW, Senior Deputy Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health
  • Pat Lincourt, LCSW, Director, Division of Practice Innovation and Care Management, NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • John Ulberg, Medicaid CFO, New York State Department of Health
  • Elizabeth Lynam, Consultant, KPMG Advisory Services
  • Donna Colonna, CEO, Services for the Underserved (SUS)
  • Pam Mattel, LCSW, Chief Operating Officer, Acacia Network
  • Jim Spink, Executive Vice President, Beacon Health Options

One particularly outstanding panel on Assuring Quality Services included the participation of Gary Belkin, MD, PhD, MPH, the Executive Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Belkin was joined by, among others, Robert W. Myers, PhD, LMSW, the Senior Deputy Commissioner, and Director of Division of Adult Services, State Psychiatric Centers, and Managed Care for the New York State Office of Mental Health.

We had robust and granular discussions on the current state of the behavioral health sector and where our conference participants envision where community based providers will be in the future.


Retirement Reception for Phillip Saperia – A Grand Affair

On March 15, 2016, a large crowd celebrated the career of Phillip A. Saperia in the Grand Hall of the Grand Hall of NYU's Kimmel Center. The president of The Coalition's Board of Directors, Tino Hernandez, MC'ed the event. Speakers included OMH Commissioner Ann Marie Sullivan, OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez, Donna Colonna, former Coalition Board President and CEO of SUS, Michael Polenberg, a former Coalition staffer, currently serving as Safe Horizon's Vice President of Government Affairs and Anita Appel of the Sachs Policy Group.

In addition, Phillip received a citation from the City Council commending his outstanding service for more than 2 decades with The Coalition, which was presented by Council Member Debi Rose's chief-of-staff, Edwina "Winnie" Martin; a resolution from the NYS Assembly from Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried and letter of congratulations from Assembly Member James F. Brennan.

We thank Phillip for his years of dedication and service to the cause and look forward to working with him in future.


OMH & OASAS Awarded Nearly $1 Million to Support Community Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder Programs

The New York State Office of Mental Health and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services announced today that New York has been awarded a federal planning grant of $982,373 to strengthen its community-based mental health care and substance use disorder programs through the development of new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) in pilot sites across the state.

The Coalition strongly advocated for New York to become one of the states designated for the CCBHC pilot program and wrote a letter in support of its inclusion to the federal government.

Through this grant, New York will establish multiple CCBHC pilot sites across the state, and site selection will reflect the regional diversity of the state's population and service delivery systems. The pilot sites will develop outpatient networks of primary care, mental health, and substance use disorder programs that will adopt a common set of tools, approaches, and organizational commitments to treat individuals in a seamless and integrated fashion. Stakeholders will be able to provide input into the networks' design and provide advice on ways to improve services, as this process moves forward.

The goal of New York's Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics will be to:

  • Improve New Yorker's health outcomes by increasing access to quality care for all Medicaid eligible individuals;
  • Reduce avoidable hospital use and complications through the development of intermediate levels of service;
  • Foster better partnerships between primary care and mental health and substance use disorder providers through co-location; and
  • Improve the fiscal outlook for mental health and substance use disorder care providers by improving Medicaid reimbursement.

This planning grant is part of $22.9 million awarded nationwide by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation, and is administered in New York by the Office of Mental Health, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and the Department of Health.

The planning grants are the first phase of a two-phase process. When the planning grant phase ends in October 2016, New York will have an opportunity to apply for a two-year demonstration program that will begin January 2017. Under the demonstration program, up to eight states with certified community behavioral health clinics will provide mental health and substance use disorder services to individuals eligible for the program in their respective state.


New York State Awards $1.5 Billion to Fund 162 Projects Statewide Through the Capital Restructuring Financing Program and Essential Health Care Provider Support Program
Includes Numerous Coalition Members

In a press relase of March 4, 2016, Governor Cuomo announced $1.5 Billion to Fund 162 Projects Statewide to help health care providers, including behavioral health providers, statewide fund critical capital and infrastructure improvements, as well as integrate and further develop health systems.

The Coalition strongly advocated for this funding through the past several budget cycles.

Coalition members that received these grants include:

Long Island
Concern for Independent Living
Pederson Krag Center

Access Supports for Living, Inc.
Astor Services for Children & Families
Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County
Human Development Services of Westchester
Leake & Watts Services, Inc.
Westchester Jewish Community Services, Inc.

New York City
Association to Benefit Children
Bridging Access to Care
Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service
CASES (Center for Alternative Sentencing & Employment Services)
Center for Community Alternatives
Community Access, Inc.
Comunilfe, Inc.
Educational Alliance, Inc.
Family Center, Inc.
Fortune Society, Inc.
Heights Hill Mental Health SBPC
Henry Street Settlement
Housing Works, Inc.
ICL (Institute for Community Living)
Lexington Center for Mental Health Services
National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYC
New Horizon Counseling Center
Northside Center for Child Development
OHEL Children and Family Services, Inc.
Outreach Development Corp.
PSCH, Inc.
Samuel Feld YM-YWHA
Sephardic Bikur Holim
SPOP, Inc. (Service Program for Older People)
The Bridge, Inc.
The Child Center of New York
The Children's Aid Society
The Fifth Avenue Counseling Center
TSINY (Transtional Services for New York, Inc.)
University Settlement Association, Inc.
Unique People Services
University Settlement Society of New York, Inc.
Venture House
VNS, Inc. (Visiting Nurse Service of New York)
Weston United Community Renewal, Inc.


New York State Budget Negotiations Down to the Wire

The deadline for a new NYS budget agreement is March 31, 2016. Many issues still remain open. Based on input from our board and members as well as the three-way negotiations between the Governor, Senate and Assembly, we are focusing on the three following issues:

1.  Minimum wage—how will be rolled out and will there be funding for non-profit social service providers particularly those who rely on Medicaid contracts for the source of revenue to offset the increase and the attendant wage compression that will result?

2.  The unlicensed practice exemption—will there be an extension, for how long, who will be at the table and have who will have the ultimate authority to determine scope of practice when the exemption expires?

3.  APG rates—will there be an extension and for how long?

The major source of the hold up in negotiatons at this point is the State's attempt to dramatically increase New York City's Medicaid share.

We are in frequent contact with the relevant State officials to advocate for our agenda both directly and through our consultants in Albany, Malkin & Ross. We will have a full summary of issues when the agreement is finally reached.


U.S. Senate Passes the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524), also known as CARA. CARA invests much needed funding in prevention, evidence-based treatment and recovery supports to help Americans struggling with addiction to heroin or narcotic painkillers.

This legislation, authored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), provides desperately needed funds to support community-based addiction treatment. It fosters the use of alternatives to incarceration for offenders in need of treatment. And it expands prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, aging populations and parents and other caretakers—to prevent the abuse of heroin and other opioids and to promote treatment and recovery.

It is a tremendous accomplishment and should be celebrated as such by advocates across the country. But the fight is not over yet. There is still much to be done to see this bill through to passage.

The National Council for Behavioral Health will hold its Hill Day 2016 on June 5-6 and this will be a major part of the agenda. If you are interested in joining us for Hill Day 2016, please contact Jamin Sewell at jsewell@coalitionny.org for more information.



New Member

A new organization has joined The Coalition family since our last issue of Briefs.

We are pleased to welcome the Lamb Financial Group as a new Premium Affiliate Member of The Coalition family. The Lamb Financial Group delivers customized insurance programs for nonprofits, for-profit human service firms and healthcare organizations. Welcome to The Coalition Family!


Around the Water Cooler

Meaghan Atkinson, Esq. joined SPOP's Board of Directors. Ms. Atkinson is a partner at Hogan Lovells, LLP and a cum laude graduate of Brooklyn Law School.


The Museum of Modern Art showcased the work of clients receiving services through The Bridge's Art Therapy Program.

This year's exhibition marks the 11th year of The Bridge-MoMA partnership, which provides Bridge clients with arts education workshops and culminates in an annual exhibition at the Museum.

More than 200 visitors attended the reception, which showcased more than 20 works by 11 Bridge client artists.


At a press conference held on March 11, 2016, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray annouced which community-based organizations would be designated Connections to Care partners, which is part of the ThriveNYC initiative. Connections to Care, will bring mental health treatment into community-based organizations that are already providing other services to some of our most vulnerable city neighbors.

The partners include:CAMBA, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (JBFCS) and Safe Horizon, who will provide behavioral health services to parents of young children living in shelters; Comunilife, Hudson Guild and Sheltering Arms/Safe Space, who will provide services in early childhood education settings; The Door/University Settlement, Brooklyn Community Services and CASES, in youth development organization settings; and Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens in immigrant serving organizations.


Carmen Collado, Chief Networking and Relationship Officer of ICL and long time friend of The Coalition was appointed as Chair of the New York State Licensing Board for Social Work, administered by the State Education Department. Carmen was elected for a one-year term by the fourteen-member board, following her service as Vice-Chair of 2014-2015.

Carmen Collado was first appointed to the New York State Board for Social Work in 2010, to advise and assist the Board of Regents and the State Education Department on matters of professional regulation.

Congratulations, Carmen!


Coalition members: Care for the Homeless, Community Healthcare Network, ICL and Institute for Family Health, all received SAMHSA Substance Abuse Service Expansion Awards.

Kudos to all!


Our office-mate, CBC (Coordinated Behavioral Healthcare) was mentioned in Crain's Health Pulse article about Coalition consultant, Arthur Webb's, report on the prevalence and severity of behavioral health conditions among general hospital inpatients in New York.


On February 10, 2016, The Children's Aid Society announced the hiring of Courtenaye Jackson-Chase as General Counsel.

Ms. Jackson-Chase will serve as a chief legal advisor to ensure that Children's Aid can best support the children and families it serves at 50 sites across New York City.

She joins Children's Aid from the New York City Department of Education, where she served as General Counsel.


New York Nonprofit Daily profiled the Children's Village's Dobbs Ferry-based limited secure placement site for juvenile offenders under the NYC Administration for Children's Services' Close to Home program.



Crain's Health Pulse, quoted statements made by Donna Colonna, President & CEO, SUS (Services for the Underserved), David Woodlock, CEO, ICL and Josh Rubin, a Principal at Health Management Associates (and former Coalition employee) at The Coalition's annual conference. See article above.

Arthur Webb's interviews with two leaders in the field of human services, Donna Colonna, and William Guarinello, President & CEO of HeartShare on "Mergers, aquistions and absorbtions in the not-for-profit world of human services in New York City" was widely excerpeted in Crain's Health Pulse.


Coalition member, Community Healthcare Network, provided the advice in the"Today's Tips" section of the February 11, 2016 and March 25, 2016 editions of Politico New York Healthcare.


In a press release of February 26, 2015, the Annie E. Casey Foundation annouced that The Door would be a recipient of 10 national grants from its Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) initiative. The LEAP intiative aims to increase educational and employment opportunities for youth and young adults ages 14 to 25 who are in foster care or involved in the juvenile justice system, or who are homeless.


Sharen Duke, CEO, ASCNYC (AIDS Service Center of New York City), was interviewed on NBC 4 New York about ASCNYC's work and its upcoming "Best In Drag" extravaganza.


Crain's Health Pulse discussed the Jewish Board's recent acquisiton of a new cutting edge electronic recordkeeping services its February 18, 2016 edition. JBFCS's press release can be found here.


In more Jewish Board news, on February 29, 2016, Crain's Health Pulse, ran a piece on JBFCS's integration of programs that had been formally run by FEGS.


The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center was mentioned in a New York Times article on the opening of a new transgender center in the Bronx.


Crain's Health Pulse announced The Coalition's hiring of Jason Lippman as its new executive vice president.


CBC Executive Director, Danika Mills, was quoted in Crain's Health Pulse article about patient messaging technology.


Alan Mucatel, CEO of Leake & Watts, was interviewed by New York Nonprofit Daily for its "CEO Corner" video segment.


Joanne Page, Fortune Society's CEO, forcefully responded to an article criticizing its selection of fomer Tyco CEO Dennis Koslowski as its Board Chair.


The annoucement of The Coalition Board's hiring of Christy Parque as its in new CEO was picked up by New York Nonprofit Daily on February 11, 2016 and in Crain's Health Pulse on February 17, 2016.


JCCA promoted Keturah Pierre to Senior Vice President for Community Services and appointed Jacqueline Sherman as its new Chief Legal/Administrative Officer. Ms. Pierre had been Vice President for Foster Home Services. She graduated from Lehman College, with honors, with a BSW, and Fordham University with an MSW. Ms. Sherman was previously Associate Commissioner for Planning, Policy and Performance at New York City's Administration for Children's Services and prior to that position served as General Counsel for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. She graduated magna cum laude from both Harvard Law School and Amherst College.


Project Renewal's paid internship and training program for former homeless shelter resident to provide care in shelter settings was highlighted in The Wall Street Journal on March 13, 2016.


On March 29, 2016, New York Non-Profit Daily published an op-ed by Ronald E. Richter, CEO, JCCA, entited, "Bridging the Gap: Helping transform foster children's educational futures."


David Rivel, Jewish Board's CEO, was quoted in Politico New York, in article on the Human Services Council report on the state of community based organizations that receive inadequate State funding for their programs. David Rivel was also interviewed by New York Nonprofit Daily for its "CEO Corner."


Riverdale Mental Health Association (RMHA) has opened a new Crisis Respite Center located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The center is a a unique, peer staffed, program offering respite services to residents of the 5 boroughs of New York City who are 18 years of age or older and experiencing psychiatric crisis, but would otherwise not need hospitalization. Guests will be able to stay a maximum of 7 days 7 nights. There are open beds!


Amanda Saake, Senior Program Associate of The Coaliton's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery has been invited by the Weil Medical College of Cornell University to attend Grand Rounds at at Payne Whitney Westchester. Amanda also provide a workshop at The Coalition on Psychosocial Rehabilitation Skills to NYC community providers on March 30, 2016.


SAGE was mentioned in a New York Nonprofit Daily article about a new senior LGBTQ residence on March 18, 2016.


On February 22, 2016, Jamin Sewell, The Coalition's Counsel & Managing Director for Policy and Advocacy, represented The Coalition at a press conference held by NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton annoucing the launch of the Mental Health First Aid bill that will require teachers to be instructed in "mental health first aid" to better spot students with problems and help them obtain treatment.

Earlier that same day Jamin testified before the City Council's Committee on Mental Health at a hearing on Medicaid redesign.


SPOP is holding a breakfast symposium, "Medicare and Behavioral Health: Unfinished Business and What it Means for NYC" on May 12, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM at SPOP's headquarters located at 302 West 91st Street, New York, NY 10024. A registration link can be found here. The key note speaker will be Dr. Bruce Vladeck , a nationally recognized expert in health care policy and geriatrics.


SUS will receive a 3-year $1.2 million H.E.R.O.E.S. (Housing, Employment, Resilience, Opportunities, Economic Stability) grant from SAMHSA. The funding will be used to provide housing to 150 homeless individuals including chronically-homeless veterans. The grant will also help chronically-homeless non-veterans who have a history of substance use or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. The program will assist 105 veterans and 45 non-veterans into secure housing in NYC. Congratulations!


TSINY will hold an open house on April 16th from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. TSINY is located at 242-01 Braddock Avenue, Bellerose, New York 11426. Please RSVP to Terry LoPiano at 718-746-6647 or Email tlopiano@tsiny.org.


John Valverde, Executive Vice President for Program Operations of the Osborne Association, participated in a discussion at WNYC's Greene Space entitled, "Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline." Video and a transcript of the discussion can be found here.


Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
9161 Child Parent Psychology Program Director
9162 Budget Manager


Discharge Planner ICAN


Employment Specialist


Nurse Practitioner

9172 Physician
9177 Housing Specialist
9198 Case Manager - OMH Brooklyn
9209 Psychiatrist



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