More than 250 providers, legislators, government officials, advocacy colleagues, consumers and the business community came together to honor the 2016 recipients of The Coalition for Behavioral Health’s Leadership Awards. This year’s prestigious honorees are: Deputy Mayor Richard R. Buery, Jr., Emil Slane, from the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), Dr. Amy Kohn from MHA of Westchester, and Briana Gilmore of Community Access.
Christy Parque, The Coalition’s President & CEO, announced the launch of the organization’s new name and logo. The former “The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc.” is now “The Coalition for Behavioral Health.” When opening the event, Ms. Parque said, “The new name and brand reflects the changes that The Coalition and the behavioral health sector are experiencing. We need to become more united, dynamic and savvy by forging partnerships and alliances, and envisioning a new way to help build strong communities and healthy New Yorkers. We are stronger together and look forward to continuing our work with you as The Coalition for Behavioral Health.”
Along with Christy’s remarks, there were warm and funny tributes to our honorees as well as thoughtful calls to action and remembrances from the honorees.
The awards reception took place at Pfizer World Headquarters in New York City. We are grateful for Pfizer's support and all of our sponsors' support.
To view our Event Journal, click here.
To view more pictures from our Leadership Gala, click here.
Coalition to Receive $150,000 Grant from New York Community Trust
On October 6, 2016, The New York Community Trust (“The Trust”) board met and approved a grant of $150,000 for The Coalition to help our member agency board and executive staff adapt their operations, business and clinical practices to a managed care and a value based environment. As the sector goes through these transitions and the vision of service delivery and outcomes change, it comes down to ensuring that the needs of consumers and communities are met.
Through this grant, The Coalition will expand its role as a convener for the sector. By bringing our members together, we intend to foster deeper connections with agencies facing similar operating and financial situations, and where appropriate, link them with a team of experienced consultants. Participants will be guided through the early stages of examining sustainability in a changing climate, shifting them from survival mode to one of strategic action planning.
The Coalition is very pleased that this innovative proposal was accepted and looks forward to working with our members and The Trust to support the sector. Stay tuned for participation opportunities and future updates!
By Melissa Thomas
On September 22, 2016, Christy Parque, President & CEO, The Coalition for Behavioral Health and I testified on behalf of The Coalition at the City Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, chaired by Council Member Andrew Cohen. This oversight hearing was titled, “Examining ThriveNYC’s Mental Health First Aid Training.”
During my testimony, I highlighted that:
“Since becoming a certified Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) USA instructor in March 2016, I have taught approximately 100 New Yorkers to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance use disorders. MHFA does not teach individuals to diagnose others but rather equip them with the knowledge and skills to identify and help friends, loved ones, colleagues, and/or a stranger in distress through encouragement and support…”
“Each class I have taught has brought eye opening information and discoveries to the attendees including signs of symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders in a parent or child. What I have found to be the most crucial is helping individuals assess for signs and confidently respond to risk of suicide.“
The MHFA course ultimately strives to eliminate the stigma associated with behavioral health and tech individuals how to identify, asses, and provide/seek assistance for themselves and others.
"Being a certified MHFA USA instructor has been a rewarding experience both personally and professionally and I was honored to be given the opportunity to share my thoughts with City Council members."
To register for a MHFA class at The Coalition, please visit our website for upcoming training dates.
On September 27, 2016, MCTAC held its statewide value based payment conference in Albany. The event kicked off with a thought provoking keynote by Monica Oss of OpenMinds. She encouraged providers to engage in deep discussions about the nature and future of their services. Questions she encouraged participants to think about included, “Where do we fit on the continuum of services?” and “Do we want to be a specialist or more of a generalist?”
Additional panels included a cross sector discussion with representatives of MCOs, consultants and providers. David Woodlock, CEO of ICL, and the Treasurer of The Coalition’s Board of Directors, shared a candid presentation about challenges in the changing business environment and a snapshot of how ICL measures its behavioral health program outcomes.
If you were not able to attend, no need to worry because slides and video available are here.
The RPC is part of the State’s Medicaid Redesign process with regard to behavioral health and is comprised of the region’s Local Governmental Unit (LGU), provider representatives, consumer and family representatives, Health Home leads and Medicaid managed care organizations.
In New York City, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene is the LGU. The RPCs work with State agencies to guide behavioral health policy for the region, problem solve regional service delivery and recommend provider-training topics. Christy gave remarks at the RPC Town Hall on October 20, 2016.
Joining her in leading the meeting was DOHMH Executive Deputy Commissioner Gary Belkin. Also on the panel were Coalition Board Member Jenna Tine, Senior Vice President at Goodwill Industries and Amanda Semidey, Director of Health Homes at Coordinated Behavioral Care, Inc.
The focus on value-based care and the associated initiatives that support it (accountable care, managed care, bundled payments, DSRIP, etc.) has forced providers to address the mind-body connection and its impact on utilization of health care resources. We have known about the interrelationship of physical and mental health for some time; however, there have been significant barriers to the integration of care between these two aspects of health. Mental illness has carried with it societal stigmas that continue in lesser, but still present, forms today. Reimbursement for mental health care has been much less generous by third parties and utilization is tightly controlled. For populations receiving care through government funding, the funding sources have been siloed, and each have unique and non-connecting program and compliance requirements.
Now we are being pressed by healthcare reform to overcome these barriers and make care integration between the physical world of primary care, and the mental health world of behavioral health into a reality. Managers and leaders of these programs must accomplish this despite the barriers described above and face a number of fears as they work toward program integration.
What challenges appear ahead?
1. There are significant cultural differences between how primary care is provided and how behavioral health is provided. The physical layout of treatment rooms, the workflow, and the pace of client interactions are very different between the two, and efforts need to be made to accommodate both in the same clinical setting.
2. It is difficult to know how to code and bill properly and in a compliant fashion. It is not by accident that primary care and behavioral health have not been integrated in the past. Reimbursement and regulation have been bifurcated and billing rules are different between the two.
3. Providing new services in a manner that is financially viable based on new staffing needs, building up case volume, and managing patient flow is critical to survival. Anytime you start a new service, the need to recruit and onboard the right staff and build volume to make the program economically viable requires a ramp up period and financial investment.
4. For government reimbursed programs, licensure is a maze of evolving realities and very confusing. In New York State, for example, licensure and program requirements for Article 28 primary care clinics, Article 31 mental health clinics, and Article 32 substance use programs are very different. Under the DSRIP program in New York, the State has made some efforts to help providers navigate the transition and integration between these — however it is still complicated.
5. Integration of electronic health records creates special challenges to maintaining confidentiality. Confidentiality laws and regulations surrounding mental health are rigorous and electronic health record systems, which were selected for a single service line, might not have anticipated the need for capacity for role specific access to specific components of the record.
Despite these challenges, the reward for successful integration of primary care and behavioral health can be significant. According to a 2013 presentation made by New York State Senior Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health, Robert Myers, 82% of hospital re-admissions for medical reasons have an underlying behavioral health diagnosis.* In a health care reform environment where the focus is on reducing unnecessary re-admissions, the provision of concurrent and effective behavioral health care is critical. These challenges and fears can be overcome with knowledgeable technical support and mentorship by provider and organization leaders who have successfully navigated the integration.
For questions related to the topics discussed in this article, contact Joseph Tomaino, Principal of Healthcare Strategy and Business Transformation of Grassi & Co. at email@example.com.You can also visit Healthcare Business Transformation for more information about the practice.
Congratulations to Assembly Member Aileen Gunther, who received a Leadership Award at the Annual NYAPRS Conference for her leadership as the Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Mental Health seen here with Christy Parque, The Coalition President & CEO, following the award presentation. Congratulations to our friends at NYAPRS on a fantastic conference and Assembly Member Gunther on her much deserved honor!
On November 17 and 18, 2016, Coalition staff will participate in the OMH sponsored NYAPRS Recovery and Rehabilitation Academy for PROS and CBS practitioners.
Emily Kingman, Program Associate at The Coalition's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery will facilitate a workshop called, “Capturing the Value of our Outcomes through EHR Documentation” with Boris Vilgorin, Health Care Strategy Officer, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research, Silver School of Social Work, New York University and David Bucciferro, Senior Advisor, Foothold Technology.
Amanda Saake, Senior Program Associate at The Coalition's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery will assist Marianne Farkas, Director, Training, Dissemination & Technical Assistance, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, with the workshops in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation track on both days of the Academy.
Fountain House’s President Kenn Dudek will speak at the first plenary titled, “From Programs and Models to Services and Innovations.” Amy Anderson Winchell, President & CEO, ACCESS: Supports for Living will present at the second plenary: The Recovery Sector is Essential to DSRIP Success. Briana Gilmore, Director of Planning and Recovery Practice, Community Access, Inc. (and recent awardee of The Coalition’s Advocacy Champion Award, see above) will present a workshop called, “In the Driver’s Seat: Self-Directed Care.” The Coalition is excited for the opportunity to join forces with our advocacy partners on this event.
Register for the Academy here.
The Coalition Invites Members to Submit Briefs Articles
As a major source of communication to Coalition members, elected and government officials, as well as the greater behavioral health community, Briefs offers a great opportunity to get your message out.
We welcome submissions from our members that highlight such topics as innovative services they are providing, policy positions they support, experiences implementing new systems and practices, etc.
Please submit your proposed articles to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to receiving your input!
Coalition Member-Only Events
New York Nonprofit Network selected six individuals and member agencies associated with The Coalition in its first Annual Cause Awards, which honors “individuals, agencies, and philanthropists who this year have made a major impact on the most pressing human services issues of New York's nonprofit sector.”
The full list of honorees can be found here.
Coalition Members Honored
Acacia Network recently opened the “Ramon Velez Recovery Center, Opioid Treatment Program,” located at 754 East 151st Street, Bronx. The program is designed for adults, age 18 and older, who struggle with opioid dependence. The program specializes in working with people who are having difficulty remaining abstinent, and present with one or more of the following: criminal justice involvement, mental health disorders, primary and chronic disease diagnoses, as well as housing insecure, and un- or under-employment. More information can be found here.
In a press release of October 6, 2016, Amida Care announced that the City Council allocated $200,000 under the End the Epidemic budget to fund Amida Care’s Consumer Workforce Initiative program. According to the press release, “The new funding will give licensed primary care providers money to cover 50 percent of first-year salary costs for hiring graduates of peer workforce education training programs by organizations.” Housing Works, ASCNYC, Acacia Network, and VIP Community Services were also awarded funding from the City Council through this initiative.
ASCNYC’s Executive Director/CEO, Sharon Duke and FNS Manager & Nutritionist Josephine Ledda, led sessions at the 20th Annual United States Conference on AIDS on September 15, 2016 and September 17, 2016, respectively.
Steve Coe, CEO of Community Access, co-authored an op-ed published in City & State on September 21, 2016, regarding Governor Cuomo’s proposed MOU to build affordable and supportive housing.
On October 11, 2016, Crain’s Health Pulse and New York Nonprofit Daily reported that Community Healthcare Network will receive an $180,000 grant from the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation for “improving its patient experience.”
Community Healthcare Network provided the “Today’s Tip” for POLITICO New York Pro Health Care newsletter on September 13, 2016 and September 20, 2016.
EAC Network's Pajama Party to Protect Children successfully raised over $47,000 on September 24th at the Long Island Children’s Museum for our Children & Youth programs, which provide essential human services to local children in need.
Family Services of Westchester and The Institute for Family Health were two of only eight mental health providers statewide selected by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Office to receive awards from the $7.96 million Partnership Innovation for Older Adults program. According to the September 23, 2016 press release, “The recipients will establish community programs that identify adults age 55 or older whose independence or survival in the community is in jeopardy because of a mental health, substance use, or aging-related concern.”
GMHC was mentioned in the October 11, 2016, edition of Crain’s Health Pulse regarding its new rapid testing Hepatitis C testing program.
In other GMHC news, GMHC announced in a press release of October 4, 2016, that for the first time, the agency will directly be offering housing with wraparound supportive services. GMHC has partnered with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) program to take over a contract held for 25 units of scatter-site housing in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx beginning October 1, 2016. The units are currently fully occupied with residents who will automatically become GMHC clients.
GMHC’s CEO, Kelsey Louie was quoted in the September 30, 2016 edition of Crain’s Health Pulse regarding the City Council’s feasibility study of supervised injection sites. Kelsey was also quoted in the POLITICO New York Pro Health Care newsletter on August 1, 2016, regarding the FDA’s reconsideration of its blood donation policy, which prohibits gay men who have had sex within the past year from donating blood.
On September 7, 2016, Crain’s Health Pulse reported on The Jewish Board of Children & Family Services training program to assist schools in the identification of students with behavioral health issues. John Kastan, JBFCS’s Chief Program Officer was quoted in the piece.
City & State’s, “Our Slant” podcast, available on iTunes or Stitcher, was a discussion with JBFCS’s Board President, Alice Tisch and Vice President, Jenny Lyss, regarding JBFCS’s significant role in ensuring continuity of care to individuals that had been served by FEGS after that agency closed.
JBFCS and The Children’s Aid Society were named as finalists in the 2016 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards and are now eligible to win $60,000 in prizes and prestigious scholarships. The New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards, a program created and run by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, is the only Award of its kind recognizing excellence in nonprofit management. The finalists were chosen from a pool of 11 semi-finalists that also included The Mental Health Association of Westchester.
On September 23, 2016, SUS held a luncheon to celebrate the harvest from its seven community farms located throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, which was hosted at the Third Avenue farm, 3361 Third Avenue, in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx.
This year’s Harvest Luncheon featured fresh, organic produce on a mouthwatering menu of seasonal dishes that were prepared and served by individuals living with developmental disabilities who are recent graduates of the Basic Culinary Arts training program at Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn.
CEO Donna Colonna officially launched the SUS Urban Farms Campaign calling the audience to like and share SUS stories on social media using #GrowingABetterNY
Crain’s Health Pulse reported on September 28, 2016 that Unique Peoples Services’ Board of Directors appointed a new Chairperson, Crystal E. Jackson. Ms. Jackson is the Senior Vice-President for Nonprofit Financial Services Group at Citicorp.
Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s purchase of several floors of the (Daily) News Building at 220 East 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan for relocation purposes was mentioned in the September 28, 2016 edition of Real Estate Weekly.
On September 20, 2016, elected officials, community representatives, and government officials joined the leadership of the William F. Ryan Community Health Network to open the Ryan/Frederick Douglass Community Health Center, at 128th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in the heart of Harlem.