Reflections on Mental Health and Parity
In this year alone, one-in-five or nearly 44 million Americans will experience a mental health disorder. We commemorate this month to honor the strength and resiliency of our friends, family and neighbors that live with mental illness and bring awareness to the stigma that society places upon them.
Although behavioral health parity laws are critical to equal protection and treatment options for people in need of behavioral health services, the real value is the public recognition and financial message that it sends to them. Consumers are worthy and deserving of the very same supports that our medical and insurance institutions offer to people in need of physical health services. It challenges the paradigm that has allowed for societal and institutional discrimination and shaming of people with mental health or substance use disorders, by maligning and marginalized them instead of providing services and treatment.
Yes, much has been achieved since the passage of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963, when America first committed itself to serving people living with mental illness in communities. It then took over thirty years before the nation renewed this conversation in a meaningful way and direction, with passage of the 1996 Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) and later the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).
People should never be forced to make untenable choices between continuing with their treatment regimens once the allocated number of benefits has expired. No one should have to choose between sobriety and paying the bills or making rent versus the support of working with a trusted behavioral health practitioner.
We must not become complacent by our progress, because every day millions of people suffer in silence from unwarranted stigma wrongly associated with mental health and substance use disorders. These conversations about ending stigma this month are heartening but every day we must commit to the dignity and support for people in need.
On May 4, 2016, Jason Lippman, Executive Vice President, testified on behalf of The Coalition at the Department of Health’s “Downstate Public Comment Day” on New York’s 1115 waiver program. During his remarks, Jason focused on strengthening communities and empowering people with greater access to health and behavioral health services where they live and work, as well as recruiting and maintaining a technically savvy behavioral health care workforce.
In The Coalition’s written comments, we dived in with greater detail about Medicaid redesign issues, including defining and measuring the value of behavioral health services provided in the community, which empower people to recovery in their own lives. The upcoming “Upstate Public Comment Day” will be held on July 12, 2016, in Albany at the Empire State Plaza, Meeting Room #6, from 10:30am - 3:30pm.
Note: Please visit the PLC and the CRR to learn more and register
Cheryl Bobe Workshops
Date and Time: May 10, 2016 at 3:00pm
Date and Time: June 20, 2016 from 9:30am-1pm
Date and Time: July 20, 2016 from 10:15-11:30am
Amanda Saake Workshops
Date and Time: May 23, 2016
Date and Time: May 24, 2016
Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Parity:
Join Presenters: Michael D. Reisman, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Office of the NYS Attorney General and Karla Lopez, Esq., the Legal Action Center for this event.
This event will take place on:
Date: June 2, 2016
Bradley Jacobs Presentation
Bradley Jacobs gave a talk to the Rotaract Club at the United Nations of New York City on May 12, 2016 on Understanding Mental Health and Trauma.
This course focuses on the Individualized Recovery Planning process in PROS, including:
purpose of documentation
Date and Time:
Curriculum Development for Skills-Driven Groups (PROS)
In PROS programs, groups are supposed to incorporate skill development, have goals, and be guided by curriculum. However, the staff responsible for running groups are social workers, group facilitators, and mental health professionals, not curriculum developers. This four-part training series will help prepare PROS program staff into curriculum developers.
This training is intended for individuals who work in PROS.
Dates and Times:
*Please Note: This course is pending approval for social work CE hours.
Motivational Interviewing Booster Session
This workshop is designed to provide better understanding and increased ease in implementing change talk and rolling with resistance strategies when using Motivational Interviewing.
We encourage PROS staff, and other providers, who previously attended the Introduction to Motivational Interviewing trainings with Laura Travaglini to participate in this course.
Date and Time:
*Please Note: This course is approved for 6 Social Work CE hours. (Prerequisite training required)
Mental Health First Aid: Adult Course
Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments.
Non-direct care staff including support staff, administrators, office managers, etc. Practitioners new to the workforce are also welcomed.
Date and Time:
*Please Note: This course is approved for 8 Social Work CE hours.
How Effective is Your System?
This workshop will focus on the key elements of Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Improvement (QI) and will target agencies who don't have either program in place or who are trying to improve their new programs. It will explore what effective systems look like, how they should operate and the results they can deliver. The workshop will discuss what and who needs to be involved; the common deficiencies and how to address them.
Date and Time:
Let’s Get Certified!
This workshop will discuss the various behavioral health accrediting bodies. It will talk about the preparation and process each agency must take in order to meet predetermined criteria and standards of the accrediting bodies.
Accrediting bodies reviews things like organizational structure, policies and procedures, regulatory compliance, leadership, fiscal operations, patient records and quality outcomes. This session will also provide information which will help organizations in determining a good match.
Some programs may be too arduous and a change may make better sense. This session targets agencies planning considering accreditation and those that find their existing accrediting bodies a bad match.
Date and Time:
Coalition Member-Only Events
Annual Membership Meeting
Date: May 26, 2016
Substance Use Committee Meeting
Children’s Committee Meeting
Executive Committee Meeting
Is Your EHR HCBS Ready?
The Behavioral Health Information Technology (BHIT) program team has released their Pre-Qualified vendor list. This list identifies EHR vendors who responded to the State’s RFI and agreed to integrate DOH identified functionality supporting HCBS documentation and billing into their products. The BHIT program (launched by DOH, OMH and OASAS) will assist designated HCBS providers to upgrade and/or adopt an EHR and Billing System that has moved from the “BHIT Pre-Qualified” to the “BHIT Qualified List.” HCBS designated providers will also receive software licensing and technical assistance provided by the NYC DOHMH and the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC).
Eligible HCBS Providers who do not currently have an EHR/Billing System will receive support to select and implement one of the solutions from the BHIT Qualified list, plus: 2 years of pre-negotiated vendor license fees will be paid for; and users will be trained and technical assistance on documentation and billing functionality in their chosen EHR to enable successful HCBS Medicaid managed care billing transactions.
Eligible providers who already have an ONC Certified EHR on the BHIT Qualified list will receive funding to offset costs associated with HCBS functionality system upgrades and user trainings to enable successful Medicaid managed care billing transactions.
For more information about the BHIT program, including the RFI and HCBS BHIT Technical Spec documents click here: http://www.fphny.org/whatsnew/rfps.
By Cheryl Bobe, LCSW, CPP
Heroin use and prescription opioid abuse are having devastating effects on public health and safety across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drug overdoses now surpass automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans ages 25 to 64. Every day, more than 129 Americans die as a result of drug overdose - and over half of these drug overdoses are related to prescription drugs. And while research conducted at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other organizations show addiction to be a treatable disease of the brain, only about ten percent of those who need treatment actually receive it.
In light of these troubling statistics, several developments are taking place. Bipartisan legislation has been developed to fight prescription opioid abuse and heroin use holistically- from expanding prevention to supporting recovery. Designed over the past two and a half years through a cooperative process involving key national stakeholders in the public health, law enforcement, criminal justice, and drug policy fields, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA, H.R.953/S.524) www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/524/text is the most expansive federal, bipartisan legislation to date for addiction support services. It was unanimously approved by the Senate on 3/10/16 and is an important milestone toward expanding critical access to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery support services. CARA promises comprehensive strategies to reduce the availability of opiates, increase the availability of Naloxone to treat overdose, bolster programs to monitor prescriptions for painkillers, expand education, prevention and treatment at various levels and for vulnerable individuals, and calls for training for those who can help.
In addition to CARA being placed on the House calendar, an unprecedented comprehensive package of opioid abuse bills have been proposed as an amendment to S. 524.
What happens next and will a final bill pass Congress this year?
It is rare to see a bill like this go through the conference process. Instead, many behavioral health policy changes are enacted as amendments to larger moving bills. But while these actions are a cause to celebrate, our advocacy work is far from finished.
While the House and Senate have two separate bills, they share many policy provisions, with the primary differences lie in the types of interventions each bill focuses on. This should make it for a congressional conference committee to negotiate a compromise and move forward with a compromise bill.
One major decision is related to how much funding to devote to the provisions in the bill. Some legislators have suggested that funding for the package should be allocated through the normal appropriations process, while others insist that the conference committee should fully fund the final bill.
If and when negotiators agree to a compromise bill, Congress will once again have to vote on the measure before it can head to President Obama’s desk for his signature.
The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc., its members, and a myriad of organizations including The Legal Action Center and the National Council of Behavioral Health, advocated strongly in support of CARA, and is especially grateful to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Patrick Leahy for their work in supporting CARA’s passage.
The Coalition will be requesting full funding of the CARA/opioid package at our upcoming Hill Day, to be held June 6-7 in Washington, DC. Please join us to add your voice to the growing chorus in support of addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery! Registration is free and open to all – click here to learn more.
Our hope is that CARA will provide sufficient funding, resources and incentives for the intentions of the bill to be realized. CARA reauthorizes existing initiatives and creates new programs. But Democrats have criticized it for lacking new funding, while Republicans have focused on the fact that the bill would redirect existing funding to effective programs. What is absolutely certain is that States and local governments will need resources to implement the comprehensive strategies that CARA promises, if there will truly be expansion of the treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts currently needed by millions of Americans. Our health and our future are at stake.
Click for more info: http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/events-and-training/hill-day/hill-day/
Around the Water Cooler
A new appointment for Coalition Board Chair Tino Hernandez from the Governor!
Alan Morse, President & CEO of the Lighthouse Guild was quoted in the May 11, 2016 Crain’s Health Pulse regarding a study indicating that people with low vision or blindness have longer stays in hospitals.
Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services Glendale Mental Health Clinic is now offering immediate intake appointments to serve you and your clients.
Staten Island Mental Health Society’s CEO, Fern Zagor and The Coalition’s CEO, Christy Parque, were quoted in the April 14, 2016 edition of Crain’s in an article about SIMHS impending merger with Richmond University Medical Center.
Christy Parque was also quoted in the City’s press release announcing the “Today I Thrive,” Mental Health Awareness Campaign.”
On June 10, 2016, Columbia University will hold a conference on Cognitive Remediation in Psychiatry.
Homeless Services United announced that Catherine Trapani has been named its Executive Director of Homeless Services. Cris Parque, its previous CEO is now CEO of The Coalition.
Since 2007 Ms. Trapani served as Director of the HousingLink Program at New Destiny Housing where she was engaged in developing programs, offering training and technical assistance, and helping to lead the agency’s research and public advocacy efforts.
SUS has a new CFO. Perry Perlmutter joined SUS in April 2016 as Chief Financial Officer. He is a Certified Public Accountant with over 30 years of finance experience.
Perry started his career in public accounting, and then worked for Reliance Group Holdings, a billion property & casualty, life and title insurance company for 18 years.
Perry spent the last 11 years as Chief Financial Officer at FOJP Service Corp and Hospitals Insurance Company, a risk manager and insurer for hospitals, nursing homes and social service organizations in metropolitan New York City.
On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, Bronx community leaders and city officials joined University Heights residents and business owners to break ground for the new Morris Avenue Apartments.
The new construction of an 11-story mixed use affordable apartment building has 94 units, including 31 supportive units for individuals with mental illness, 48 low-income units and 14 moderate-income units.
SUS will provide the on-site supportive services, including individualized case management and personalized recovery programs based on identified needs. Daily life skills training, employment training and job placement services, and structured social and recreation activities will also be offered to the building’s residents.
Coalition members Fortune Society, New Alternatives for Children, SAGE and University Settlement received grants ranging from $80,000 - $130,000 from the New York Community Trust. Projects — from reforming the bail system to developing an arts and leadership program for children on the autism spectrum — was the type of programming to receive awards.
The Cuomo Administration announced that it released 6,081,700 to help 122 behavioral health providers that offer children’s services improve or develop their technological infrastructure. These funds, awarded statewide, will be used by providers to implement new technologies to launch or update their Medicaid billing infrastructure. Coalition members who received the funding include: Astor Services for Children & Families, Family Services of Westchester Inc., Mental Health Association of Westchester, Westchester Jewish Community Services, The Child Center of NY, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, Jewish Child Care Association, Mental Health Association of NYC, NAMI of NYC, Inc., Phoenix Houses of New York, Inc..
In a press release of April 20, 2016 the City announce that the Mental Health Association of NYC was selected to execute NYC Support, a key component of ThriveNYC’s efforts to improve access to behavioral healthcare in NYC.
This is a dramatic expansion of the City’s previous crisis line, NYC Support will provide crisis counseling and connect New Yorkers to mental health services by web, telephone and text. 1-800-LIFE-NET will continue to operate 24/7 until NYC Support is announced and online.
Acacia Network has availability in its Residential Rehabilitation Recovery Program for Young Men (RRSY) between the ages of 14-20. The program offers long-term 24 hour all inclusive residential program. Its primary focus is substance abuse.
In addition the RRSY provides educational services through the Department of Education; full medical, vocational, recreational and psychiatric services.
The professionals that make up the core of the RRSY program are dedicated social workers, CASAC counselors, and around the clock Operations personnel who help to ensure the safety of our youth and facility.
On May 23, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM, the SAMHSA State Technical Assistance Olmstead Initiative will hold a webinar entitled, “Exploring the Social Determinants of Mental Health: Building Healthy Communities by Supporting the Needs of Children and Youth with Serious Emotional Disturbances.”
Yvette Brissett-Andre, CEO, Unique People’s Services, will receive a SmartCEO New York Brava Award, which celebrates high-impact female business leaders, at a gala to be held on July 27, 2016. Congratulations, Yvette!
Coalition Members advertise staff positions for free on The Coalition’s Job Board! Here's a sample: