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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
            October 6, 2014

The Coalition and Members Testify on Medicaid Redesign in City Council Hearing

On September 30, 2014, the NYC Council Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services held an oversight hearing on Medicaid Redesign. Testifying at the hearing were Jamin Sewell of The Coalition, Dr. Gary Belkin, Executive Deputy Commissioner for Mental Hygiene, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and Coalition members Robert Brewster, CEO, Riverdale Mental Health Association, Kenneth Dudek, CEO, Fountain House, Jason Lippman, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations, Amida Care, Rod DiMotta, Assistant Executive Director, Astor Services for Children and Families and Valerie Rosenberg, Policy Analyst, United Neighborhood Houses.

The Coalition and its members presented their views on current experiences with managed care with commercial insurance, concerns about the coming carve-in of all Medicaid users, the continuing need for net-deficit funding and proposals to protect our behavioral health safety providers in the new environment. A copy of The Coalition’s testimony can be found on our website.

The Coalition will be working with Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chairman of the Committee on Mental Health and Committee members to ensure that they are well-apprised and engaged in the Medicaid redesign process going forward. 

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New Challenge to NYS Executive Compensation Cap

The ongoing legal saga regarding the Cuomo administration’s cap on executive compensation continues as an Albany Supreme Court has granted a motion to bring a lawsuit against the cap by a group of non-profit healthcare providers with Medicaid revenue. The new challenge alleges that the Cuomo administration’s unilateral action to cap executive compensation violates the separation of powers doctrine (only the legislature has the authority to make critical policy decisions, the executive branch implements those policies) that the State Department of Health exceeded its authority and that the regulations were arbitrary and capricious. A copy of the court’s decision can be found here.

The Coalition will continue to monitor the various challenges to the executive compensation cap and keep you posted.

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White House Nominates Michael Botticelli as Director of Drug Control Policy

On August 28, 2014, President Barak Obama nominated Michael Botticelli to be director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has served as the acting director since March. Mr. Botticelli, a recovering alcoholic, sober for nearly a quarter century, will now take the post as the nation’s so-called drug czar, permanently. As a non-physician and not hailing from law enforcement, Mr. Botticelli previously served as Director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It is heartening to us that Mr. Botticelli personally understands the challenges and needs of people in recovery.

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Senators Whitehouse & Portman Introduce Federal Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

A bi-partisan group of Senators led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D) and Robert Portman (R) introduced legislation to combat drug addiction and provide support for people in recovery. According to its sponsors, S.2839, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives.
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program. While we have medications that can help treat addiction, there is a critical need to get the training and resources necessary to expand treatment best practices throughout the country.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.
The Coalition has signed onto a letter in support of this legislation that the National Council for Behavioral Health and other advocates are circulating. We encourage you to sign-on as well by contacting Jessica Nickel - jessica@brimleygroup.com. We also encourage you to contact your Senator and request their support for this important legislation.

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AmidaCare, Resubmits Application for DSRIP Planning Grant with New Member, Housing Works, as Lead Safety Net Provider

AmidaCare, Associate Coalition Member, has resubmitted an application to receive a Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) planning grant with Housing Works, a Coalition Member, as lead safety net provider. The Steering Committee of the Project Advisory Committee will be co-chaired by The Coalition’s COO, Patricia Gallo Goldstein, and Charles King, the President & CEO of Housing Works and Naomi Weinstein, the Director of The Coalition's Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery, and Sharen Duke, from the Aids Service Center, will co-chair the Consumer Workforce Subcommittee.

The new proposal emphasizes access to safe supportive housing to help stabilize the “chronically ill super-utilizers of the health care system.” The partnership with Housing Works and its supportive housing units will allow for an excellent opportunity to prove whether or not this proposed model is effective with regard to care and cost.

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Services for the Underserved Expands Eligibility for its Brooklyn Crisis Center

On September 29, 2014 the Brooklyn Crisis Respite Center operated by Services for the Underserved, (SUS) as part of Parachute NYC’s expanded its eligibility, now will begin offering an alternative to psychiatric hospitalization for all adults over 18 at any point in the course of a serious mental illness--in addition to young adults experiencing a first episode of serious mental illness.

According to DOHMH, “Parachute NYC is excited by the opportunity to expand the number of people in crisis to whom we can offer a soft landing.” The Department requests that we help to spread the word about this change.

  1. Expanded Brooklyn Respite eligibility criteria:
  2. Brooklyn resident over 18 years old
  3. Experiencing a crisis related to a serious mental illness that would otherwise warrant a psychiatric emergency department visit or hospitalization
  4. Medically stable
  5. Not street homeless (i.e., the person has a home to which he/she can return after a max 14 day stay)
  6. Willingness to voluntarily participate in the service as outlined in the Respite guest agreement.

You may refer yourself or someone you know to the Brooklyn Respite by calling 347-505-0870.

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SPOP Celebrates its First Graduate from PROS

Recently, Coalition Member, Service Program for Older People (SPOP) celebrated the first graduation from its PROS (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services) program. The PROS program at SPOP started October 1, 2013 as the successor program to a long-standing Continuing Day Treatment Program. It is the only PROS program in New York State exclusively for age 55 and older and provides life skills training and support to adults with serious and persistent mental illness. PROS focuses on recovery and integration into the community, and participants work with recovery counselors to establish life role goals and identify the barriers that have prevented them from meeting those goals. The program serves over 70 adults annually.

The graduate, “José” is 81 years old and is a long-time member of the SPOP community and was enrolled for nearly six years in its Continuing Day Treatment Program following a hospitalization for Bipolar I Disorder. He is widowed, lives in a supportive residence and works part-time at McDonald’s.

Congratulations to José and SPOP.

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The Coalition Welcomes 2 New Members

Since our last issue of Briefs two new agencies became members of The Coalition family.

New Members

Founded in 1971, NADAP is a multi-service agency with expertise in assessment, case management, vocational rehabilitation, training and workforce development. They are committed to providing the services that are needed to help individuals obtain employment and economic independence, and businesses meet their staffing needs. NADAP’s certified CASACs help assess individual’s suitability for employment in light of possible substance abuse and make referrals to treatment at appropriate levels of care.

ASCNYC (Allied Service Center NYC) helps HIV-positive New Yorkers, and those at risk, get a second chance to reclaim their lives. The offer a diverse range of individualized, professional services in a nurturing environment, and include access to healthcare, social services, peer education and safe-practice counseling. ASCNYC programs promote positive change, self-respect, personal responsibility and connection to community. They also operate a relatively new 822 Substance Use clinic.

We welcome both of you to The Coalition family! We look forward to working together.

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Around the Water Cooler

On September 10, 2014, The Bridge renamed its Sheridan Hill House, a residential program in New York City for seriously mentally ill older adults who have serious medical conditions, in honor of Dr. Peter Beitchman to recognize his 30 years of service as Deputy Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Bridge. We extend many congratulations and best wishes to The Bridge and to Peter, who is a longtime close friend, leader and supporter of The Coalition.

CASES recently announced that it is now offering Adolescent Portable Therapy (APT) services to youth and their families. APT is a home-based individual and family counseling service for at-risk and justice-involved young people, created 13 years ago by the Vera Institute of Justice. According to CASES press release, “In providing APT, CASES will expand and strengthen its family engagement, which is an essential part of how we reach, support and empower young people to positively develop into adults.”

On September 22, 2014, Community Heath Network (CHN) opened a new 5,500-square-foot facility to house its Community League Health Center at 511 W. 157th Street in Manhattan. The new center includes 10 exam rooms – more than twice as many as their previous site – as well as a nurse’s station and space for CHN’s young adult after school program.

CHN also dedicated a health center at 150 Essex Street—which engages in both Eastern and Western medical practices—to its late founder, Catherine Abate. Representing The Coalition at the October 2nd dedication ceremony was Phillip Saperia, our Chief Executive Officer. We join in remembering and honoring the memory of Catherine, who was a dedicated leader, public servant and good friend.

Concern for Independent Living, a leading nonprofit provider of supportive housing, held a Ribbon Cutting/Grand Opening Ceremony on September 29, 2014 to celebrate the opening of Liberty Village, a 60 unit supportive housing development for homeless veterans and their families in Amityville, Suffolk County, Long Island. 

EAC recently announced that Catherine M. Stanton, Senior Partner at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, has joined its Board of Directors.

On September 12th, HHS announced $295 million in funding to bolster primary care at 1,195 health centers across the country. This funding will support hiring new staff; extending hours; and expanding oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services. HHS estimates that approximately 1.5 million new patients will enjoy increased access to health care through these awards. New York State received 58 awards, totaling $15.6 million. The Coalition congratulates its members who were included in this funding proposal: The Floating Hospital, ICL, Project Renewal, and the William F. Ryan Center.

Andrus (formerly the Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial Center) appointed Bryan R. Murphy as its Acting President & CEO. Mr. Murphy has been with Andrus since 2010, most recently as its Chief Operating Officer.

New Alternatives for Children was selected by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as an awardee of the 2014 Angels in Adoption for their outstanding advocacy of adoption and foster care issues.

Susan Ohanesian (most recently of Day Top Village) joins the Guidance Center of Westchester as its Deputy Director of Mental Health and Substance Use. The Coalition is thrilled to see Susan in this new position and pleased that she will remain part of The Coalition Family.

Coalition Member Outreach, through its Training Institute, is offering scholarships and job placement assistance for its Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) training program to those who qualify as low income. To date, more than two thousand people have taken advantage of the high quality training at Outreach. A large percentage have already graduated and moved on to jobs in the treatment field as substance abuse counselors. For more information about scholarships, please visit http://opiny.org/outreach-training-institute or call (718) 847-9233, ext. 2382.

Congratulations to Palladia, Inc. for receiving a grant from the TD Charitable Foundation for housing development.

VIP Community Services received a $2 million grant from SAMHSA. These funds will help Bronx residents in the neighborhoods of Crotona-Tremont and Highbridge-Morrisania to obtain HIV and Hepatitis C testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse treatment at a single VIP location. Good work VIP!

Yumiko Ikuta, Director of Rehabilitation Programs for the Bureau of Mental Health, Office of Rehabilitation at the NYC DOHMH, was featured in the Yomiuri Newspaper (a major Japanese national newspaper) regarding the important role of peers in behavioral healthcare as well as her personal experience with recovery.

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Coalition Job Board

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

Job #  Job Title
8170 Housing Development Project Manager
8174 Licensed Practical Nurse (Delta Manor)
8175

Vice President of Information Technology

8178

Quality Improvement Specialist

8185

Team Leader, Brooklyn Justice Corps

8198 Managing Director, Mental Health and Wellness
8205 Member Services Assistant
8212 Case Manager - OMH Queens
8220 Substance Abuse Counselor - HRA BX SS

 

 

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