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

Coalition Honors Council Member Diana Ayala

The Coalition recently presented Council Member Diana Ayala with the Public Policy Leadership Award. Coalition Board Members Thelma Dye of Northside Center's Hilde L. Mosse Executive Director and CEO, and Tony Hannigan, President & CEO of CUCS, gave Council Member her award in the City Hall rotunda.

Council Member Ayala was honored for, among other endeavors, her steadfast work in the behavioral health field, including her advocacy for a bill, which became law, to require opioid reversal drugs at all syringe exchange programs and requiring staff to be adequately trained in overdose prevention and reversal.

In addition, Council Member Ayala's support as Chair of the City Council's Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction, for the behavioral community and sponsorship of the City Council's Mental Health initiatives operated by community providers in the City of New York.



Coalition Hosts First Speaker Series: ThriveNYC - A Dialogue with Alexis Confer

On December 17, 2018, The Coalition convened the first in a series of high level engagements with key influencers who impact the behavioral health field. We were honored to have Alexis Confer, Executive Director of the ThriveNYC program in Mayor Bill de Blasio's office. Moderated by Coalition Board Member Dan Johansson, ACMH's Executive Vice President/CEO, members had the opportunity to hear about ThriveNYC successes and plans for sustaining its 54 programs. Then members spoke with Alexis about enhancing ThriveNYC's partnerships with community providers and addressing gaps in the service system. 

We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Mayor's office and impacting future ThriveNYC planning and scheduling additional focused conversations between ThriveNYC and Coalition members.


Mayor Bill de Blasio Appoints Dr. Oxiris Barbot  as New DOHMH Commissioner

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today the appointment of Dr. Oxiris Barbot as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). 

In this role, she will lead the 6,000-member agency charged with protecting and promoting the health of New Yorkers in one of the largest and oldest public health agencies in the world. As Health Commissioner, Dr. Barbot will double down on the agency's commitment to achieving health equity, battling the opioid epidemic, and raising awareness about mental health as part of New Yorkers' overall wellness. She will become the first Latina to lead the agency.

The Coalition congratulates Dr. Barbot in her appointment as Commissioner and wishes her success in her new role.


water coolerAround the Water Cooler

More than 50 friends and supporters gathered to celebrate the opening of The Bridge's Maple Street Residence in Brooklyn. Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the 66-unit mixed-use building offers permanent supportive housing to 50 adults with serious mental illness ready to live in independent housing, and 16 low income families and individuals Bridge Board President Cynthia C. Wainwright welcomed everyone to the celebration, and Bridge CEO Susan Wiviott introduced the speakers: Brett Hebner of the New York State Office of Mental Health; Blanca Ramirez of Hudson Housing Capital; Jennifer Trepinski of the Corporation for Supportive Housing; and Nancy C., a resident of the new building.



JCCA's Ron Richter spoke with Crain's Health Pulse about how the organization is preparing for January 2019 children's behavioral health transition to Medicaid managed care. The article provides an overview of how JCCA is tackling its billing, technology, workforce and infrastructure needs ensure a seamless transition, an endeavor which can incur substantial costs and investments, particularly for smaller community-based providers.


Housing Works secured more than $4M in financing for a new clinic in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. With funding from the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) and the NYS Department of Health (DOH), the new facility will serve 15,000 to 20,000 visits a year, providing integrated primary and behavioral health care to people in the community. The clinic will be located within close proximity to where homeless populations can access services.


Mayor de Blasio announced $95M in investments over ten years toopen two diversion centers for people with behavioral health needs referred by law enforcement. The centers will be operated by Samaritan Daytop Village in the Williamsbridge neighborhood of the Bronx, and Project Renewal in East Harlem. The centers are expected to divert 2,400 people annually, providing police officers with alternatives to arrest.


Governor Cuomo Unveils Agenda for First 100 Days

Governor Cuomo unveiled his 2019 Justice Agenda, urging legislation action in the first 100 days of the next legislative session beginning in January. The 20-point agenda includes: 
  • Ensure a Progressive Tax System
  • Cut Middle Class Taxes While Fighting to Repeal SALT
  • Protect Quality, Affordable Health Care
  • Codify Reproductive Rights
  • Enshrine Gender Equality into Law
  • Combat Gun Violence
  • Launch a $150 Billion Infrastructure Plan
  • Fund and Restructure the MTA While Easing Traffic in New York City's Business District
  • Ensure Education Equity
  • Pass the Dream Act
  • Launch the Green New Deal
  • Ensure Clean, Safe Drinking Water for All
  • Improve Our Democracy
  • Increase Trust in the Democratic System
  • Protect Public Sector Unions
  • Keep Housing Affordable for New Yorkers
  • Pass the Child Victims Act
  • Protect LGBTQ Rights
  • Legalize Adult Use of Recreational Marijuana; and
  • Ensure Fairness in the Criminal Justice System
In the upcoming legislative session, The Coalition aims to focus on our budget priorities, which include securing additional healthcare transformation funding for community-based providers, sustaining the community workforce, supporting providers in the children's transition to managed care and ensuring aging in place programs.


Action Alert: Require Insurers & Health Plans to Demonstrate Compliance with Behavioral Health Parity Laws

New York needs transparency and accountability in measuring insurer and health plan compliance with federal and state mental health and substance use disorder parity laws. To do so, Governor Cuomo must sign A.3694-C by December 22, 2018, which happens to occur on the day Timothy's Law, New York's parity law, was signed in 2006.
Parity is a critical lynchpin in maintaining and enhancing access to care. As New York confronts an epidemic related to opioids and significant increase in suicides, the only way to bring about the change we need and to shine a light on the practices of insurers and health plans is to enact A.3694-C.
Please take the following action steps each day for the remainder of this week:
1. Call Governor Cuomo's office with the script below to register your support; today at (518) 474-8390 (press 2 to speak directly to a staffer) and share the following message:
"I am a registered voter from (your locality) calling to urge Governor Cuomo to sign A.3694-C into law, to provide New Yorkers with the strongest mental health and substance use treatment parity compliance reporting measures in the nation."
3. Tweet Governor Cuomo the following messages: 
We need #ParityReportingNow @NYGovCuomo 


Recent Coalition Testimony

We are pleased to share with you, testimony from The Coalition, which was submitted to the NYS Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Chaired by Assembly Member Aileen Gunther. In our testimony, we highlight the additional resources that providers need as part of the children's Medicaid transition. We also focus on the needs of providers that serve older adults aging in place, as well as workforce recruitment and retention. 
In addition, The Coalition also submitted comments on New York State's 1115 waiver programs. In our comments, we reiterate the need for unspent Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) funding to flow to community-based providers, the need to support community-based providers for value-based payment systems and ensuring meaningful access to Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in behavioral health managed care, particularly with the forthcoming transition of children's services



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