An Evolving Semi-Monthly Update on Community Behavioral Health in New York
July 17, 2015
Coalition NYS Legislative Score Card To Date
* Will likely end up in State “Model Contract” with MMCOs.
S.04239-B/(Murphy)/A.6255-B (Rosenthal) establishes statewide uniformity in drug treatment courts to allow defendants to obtain medically prescribed treatment for opioid abuse or dependence while participating in the judicial diversion program.
S.4542-A (Klein)/A.2553-A (Benedetto), would place new, restrictive and (likely) illegal roadblocks to siting and lease renewal of supportive housing and social service centers (including domestic violence shelters).
S.5275 (Golden)/A.6879 (Blake) is similar though supposedly less expansive to S.4542-A/A.2553-A (the Klein/Benedetto bill), but is drafted so poorly it may encompass even a greater number of programs.
S.4893 (Hannon)/ A. 7208 (Gottfried) prevents a managed care company to override the judgment of a doctor or nurse’s prescription of a pharmaceutical for his or her patient.
S.5486-A (Ortt, Hannon)/A.7846-A (Cahill), prohibits a health care insurer from requiring providers of behavioral health services to offer all products offered by the provider of health care coverage.
In an about-face, the de Blasio administration pulled proposed RFPs and ceded control to the NYC Council of funding for the Children Under 5 Mental Health Initiative, Geriatric Mental Health Initiative, Mental Health Contracts, Autism Initiative and a whole host of health-related initiatives. The first three initiatives were supported by The Coalition at their inception and for many years.These funds had been baselined by Mayor Bloomberg at the end of his administration and adopted as allocated by the Council for one year by the de Blasio Administration. The Department of Health & Mental Hygiene was planning this year to move forward with RFPs calling for very different models and was arranging to divert some of these monies to its own unrelated program purposes.
Even if the RFPs for the majority of the baselined funding had been released (which they were not), the designation of the providers would not have occurred until the Fall. This would have left the consumers served by these programs in the initiative without continuity of care at the close of the City’s fiscal year on June 30, 2015. Additionally, because of the uncertainty of funding, some providers were planning to lay off staff at the end of June.It required an all-out advocacy effort, led by The Coalition and its partners in the advocacy community as well as individual members/providers to reach this successful conclusion. The Coalition and its partners were able to enlist Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health and Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services to champion the cause.
The Coalition’s CEO, Phillip Saperia said of the budget deal “We are so pleased that the Council and the administration will enable the adults and children served by the mental health initiatives to continue to receive care from these effective, evidence-based programs. I particularly want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Finance Committee Chair, Julissa Ferreras and Chairs Cohen and Johnson for the unceasing efforts to convince the administration that consumers should continue receiving services from these knowledgeable and experienced providers.”
Recognizing the success of the Court-Involved Mental Health Initiative (“CIYMHI”), the City Council enhanced the funding from $1 million in FY ’15 to $1.9 million for FY ‘16.
The CIYMHI was first proposed by Council Member Deborah Rose (D-Staten Island) for the FY ’15 budget and with advocacy support from The Coalition it was adopted by the Council. Its purpose is to assess the need for mental health services of juveniles in the arrest and adjudication process.; engage families of court-involved youth through family counseling, respite services and other evidence-based practices; and connect community-based providers to other non-governmental organizations that have familiarity with the Courts, Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Correction, and other relevant City and State agencies.
Even with a late start due to contracting difficulties, the 8 agencies providing direct services succeeded in screening or assessing nearly 500 young people. The Coalition provided 11 workshops and 11 follow-up webinars on a variety of issues related to serving the target population. Safe Horizon has used its funding to develop a protocol for treating youth victimized by sexual abuse that exhibit these same behaviors toward others.
The Coalition thanks Council Member Rose and its members for their forceful advocacy leading to this most successful outcome.
On June 30, 2015, Acacia Network broke ground on its Lorraine Montenegro Women & Children’s Residence in the Bronx. Funded by OASAS, the Residence will offer a nurturing therapeutic environment for women who are in treatment for or who are in recovery from a substance abuse disorder and their children.
The NYS Homes and Community Renewal announced the Unified Funding Round awards for this year, funding over $141 million to support 38 housing projects that will create 2,160 units. This year's awards included funding for twelve supportive housing projects that included proposals from The Bridge, Housing Works and Services for the Underserved.
On June 18th, The Coalition co-signed a letter from various social service organizations and advocacy groups that was sent to the NYS Wage Board requesting that in the deliberations regarding the appropriate wage for fast food workers, it also consider social service employees and a commensurate increase in funding for providers receiving funding through NYS contracts and licenses.
The Coalition was also mentioned in Crain’s Health Pulse on June 24th in an article about the $19 million in City funding restored for community-based health and mental-health organizations whose contracts were in danger of not being renewed. (See above.)
Mental Health Association of Westchester County (MHA) appointed Charlotte Ostman as Chief Strategy Officer. Ms. Ostman has worked with a wide variety of populations and health care systems throughout the Hudson Valley. Charlotte managed a large FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) and most recently, developed a small health clinic into a significant community health care center. She has a B.S. from Cornell and an MSW from NYU. Welcome, Charlotte!
The Osborne Association’s Justice Community program was featured on Bronx News 12. The story can be seen here: http://bronx.news12.com/news/justice-program-offers-valuable-life-lessons-1.10561704
Service Program for Older People (SPOP) announced in a recent press release that it has created a new advisory board that will serve as ambassadors and advocates for the organization as well as to provide guidance and support.
Coalition Members advertise staff positions for free on The Coalition’s Job Board! Here's a sample: