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January 20, 2016

Advancing Public Policies for People with Mental Illness, Chemical Dependency or Developmental Disabilities   

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Francine Sinkoff, Editor

NYS Authorizes CVS to Provide Narcan without Prescription
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) last week announced an agreement with CVS/pharmacy that will help prevent opioid overdose deaths in New York State. This agreement, effective January 2, 2016 authorizes 479 CVS/pharmacy locations across the State to provide naloxone to their customers without a prescription.

The NYS DOH said pharmacists are currently receiving training and ordering naloxone for their stores. Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a medication which reverses opioid overdose, and is one of the priorities at the center of Governor Cuomo's fight to end opioid abuse in New York State.  Read more here.
2016 Behavioral Health Leadership Development Program for OASAS Providers and LGUs

Are you new to management in the behavioral health field?
Do you aspire to become a leader in substance use prevention, mental health promotion, mental illness or addictions treatment, or recovery support services?
Professionals in both the public and private sectors are being recruited for the 2016 Behavioral Health Leadership Development Program, a part of Project LIFT (Leadership Initiatives for Tomorrow).  This program is for individuals who wish to enhance their leadership skills by:
  • Understanding the opportunities brought about by health care reform and parity
  • Embracing innovation to effect change
  • Helping to motivate and retain the behavioral health workforce
There is no cost to applicants, but there is a commitment of time and interest.

Click here for the application materials and other related information.  Completed applications are due January 27, 2016
Perhaps Rx Crackdown Didn't Cause Heroin Crisis

A review article published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine cites several studies to counteract the oft-stated theory that government crackdowns on access to prescription opioids caused a spike in heroin use and overdose.

Co-authored by leaders at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the article suggests that while non-medical use of prescription opioids remains a strong risk factor for heroin use, research findings paint a very different relationship from what is often depicted at public forums attended by addiction professionals.

The article states that "there is no consistent evidence of an association between the implementation of policies related to prescription opioids and increases in the rates of heroin use or deaths, although the data are relatively sparse."
NIDA deputy director Wilson M. Compton, MD, is the review article's lead author; the article states that while several federal colleagues provided input into the content, the views expressed are those of Compton and his two co-authors and do not necessarily reflect those of their respective federal agencies.  Read more here.
For Teenagers, Adult-Sized Opioid Addiction Treatment Doesn't Fit

Addicted to prescription painkillers after a high-school sports injury, Cameron Burke moved on to heroin, which was cheaper and more easily accessible. His parents tried everything, more than once sending him out of state for treatment.  During the course of two years, Cameron would seem to recover, only to relapse. In 2011, Weiss-Burke found him dead in his room.

Weiss-Burke turned her grief into action, lobbying for state legislation that would require all medical practitioners to complete a course in addiction and pain management when their licenses are renewed, and pushing for the creation of Serenity Mesa, a long-term treatment center for youths in Albuquerque that opened its doors last year.

Although drug addiction was described as a disease as long ago as the 1700s, addiction medicine has been neglected by the medical system, according to a 2012 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

"While a wide range of evidence-based screening, intervention, treatment and disease management tools and practices exist, they are rarely employed," the report found.  Lack of effective treatment in the teen years can blight an entire life. "When substance use disorders occur in adolescence, they affect key developmental and social transitions, and they can interfere with normal brain maturation," the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in 2014. "These potentially lifelong consequences make addressing adolescent drug use an urgent matter."  Read more here.


January 21, 1:30 - 3:00 pm, ONDCP


Transforming the Children's Medicaid System Webinar Series: January 27-February 25, 2016

Register now for a 3-part webinar series hosted and presented by MCTAC, DOH, OMH, OASAS and OCFS!

This series is intended for OMH, OASAS, and OCFS child-serving providers and stakeholders impacted by and interested in medicaid managed care, kids HCBS (home and community based services), and new state plan services. This webinar series will not specifically address details of the children's Health Home transition. 

This series will be divided into three parts and will be recorded and posted to the MCTAC website for those who are unable to attend. We encourage you to call together your staff to listen and discuss the transformation before us.Register now using the links below for each individual webinar: 

January 27, 12:30 - 1:30 pm

February 11, 12 - 1 pm

February 25, 12 - 1 pm


CLMHD Mentoring Workshop
January 26:  11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
January 27:  11 am - 12:00 pm
GTM Only

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee 
February 4:  11 am - 1 pm

CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting
February 4:  11 am - 12:00 pm

Officers & Chairs - Call in
February 10:  8 am

CLMHD Office Closed - Lincoln's & Washington's Birthdays
February 12 & 15

Children & Families Committee
February 16:  11:30 am - 1 pm

OMH Agency Meeting
February 22:  10 am - 12 pm
44 Holland Ave., 8th Fl, Albany

OASAS Agency Meeting
February 22:  1 pm - 3 pm
1450 Western Ave., 4th Fl, Albany

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
CLMHD Releases Children & Youth SPOA White Paper

Children and Youth Single Point of Access (C&Y SPOA) is a part of County Local Government Units (LGUs) that bring together Cross System partners in order to provide the right service to the right children and their families at the right time. Children's Health Homes will enroll eligible children and youth in September 2016; a number of Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waivers for children will be combined into a single 1115 Waiver in January 2017; and the full Medicaid benefit
for children's services, including foster care and residential treatment facilities, will be managed by Managed Care Organizations in 2017.

In response to these changes,CLMHD has
released a white paper, which describes
CLMHD's vision for the function and expanded structure of C&Y SPOA in the context of a new 1115 Medicaid Waiver, Children's Health Homes, and Medicaid Managed Care. The paper was developed to provide a history of the role of SPOA; to advocate for full access to the Medicaid Analytics Performance Portal (MAPP) and promote the Children and Youth SPOAs as the Independent Entity (IE).  

The Conference is proposing modifications to C&Y SPOA to go beyond its current role as serving primarily children and youth with mental health needs through expanding its
purview to function as the SPOA for those children and youth included in the future
1115 Waiver. This new C & Y SPOA would work in collaboration with the county
Departments of Social Services and the Local Health Departments.

Click here to view the white paper.
Tompkins County Mental Health Department Awarded Multi-Year Grant to Support Open Access Program

The Tompkins County Mental Health Department has been awarded a three-year grant by the New York State Department of Health and Office of Mental Health to support the department's Open Access Program, begun on a pilot basis in 2014.

The nearly $700,000 grant, awarded under the State's Vital Access Provider (VAP) program, will fully fund three new positions at the Mental Health Department-a Psychiatric Social Worker, Community Mental Health Nurse, and Casework Assistant, including related expenses-to provide coordination, support, and management of the open access/intake process, with the new staff working together as a monitoring and tracking team for the program, and the professional staff also providing direct service.

Acceptance of the grant, creation of the three new grant-funded positions, and allocation of first-year funding of more than $300,000 was recommended by the County Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee January 7.

The Open Access initiative was initiated on a pilot basis in 2014 to address long waiting periods for new Mental Health clients to participate in intake and assessment for ongoing services, enabling them to walk in during scheduled open hours during the week and receive intake for services when they needed them most. The State's VAP program assists healthcare entities within the state improve facility financial viability, meet community service needs, improve quality of care, increase health equity for populations at risk, and provide operating assistance for redesign of organizations' healthcare delivery systems to assist in financial stability.  Read more here.
Ulster County is One of Five Applicants Approved for Sequential Intercept Mapping Workshop

Congratulations to Ulster County, which recently received notification that its application to receive Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) workshop has been approved.  Only five out of 75 applications received by SAMHSA's GAINS Center for the SIM workshop were selected to receive this workshop free of charge.  The GAINS Center will pay all costs associated with pre- and post-workshop coordination, conference calls, and facilitator time and travel. 

Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) is a 1.5-day workshop designed to allow local, multidisciplinary teams of people from jurisdictions to facilitate collaboration and to identify and discuss ways in which barriers between the criminal justice, mental health, and substance use systems can be reduced and to begin development of integrated local plans. This year's solicitation targeted communities focusing on Intercepts 1 and 2 of the Sequential Intercept Model, which emphasize early diversion.

The SIM workshop also emphasizes services to reduce justice system contact by people who are homeless. By facilitating cross-system communication and collaboration, the SIM workshop helps identify underused resources, improves the early identification of people with mental and substance use disorders coming into contact with the criminal justice system, increases effective service linkage, reduces the likelihood of recycling through the criminal justice system, enhances community safety, and improves quality of life for people in the community.
New Bill Would Invest Millions in Curbing Nation's Opioid Epidemic

A new bill in the Senate would invest over half a billion dollars in emergency funding to help curb the nation's opioid and heroin abuse epidemic. The funding measure - introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) - would provide supplemental emergency funding to critical programs in the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.
"The opioid crisis is spiraling out of control," said Senator Shaheen in a statement. "This should be an all-hands-on-deck moment, not just for New Hampshire, but for our country. We are losing lives daily and our first responders, healthcare providers and criminal justice system are overwhelmed. To stem the tide, we urgently need additional funding for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, and this legislation would provide resources to those on the frontlines."
Click here to read more about what is included in the emergency funding proposal.
Few Doctors Are Willing, Able to Prescribe Powerful Anti-Addiction Drugs

Dr. Kelly Eagen witnesses the ravages of drug abuse every day. As a primary care physician at a public health clinic here in the Tenderloin, she sees many of the city's most vulnerable residents.

Most are homeless. Many suffer from mental illness or are substance abusers. For those addicted to opioid painkillers or heroin, buprenorphine is a lifesaver, Eagen said. By eliminating physical withdrawal symptoms and obsessive drug cravings, it allows her patients to pull their lives together and learn how to live without drugs.

Clinical studies show that U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved opioid addiction medicines like buprenorphine offer a far greater chance of recovery than treatments that don't involve medication, including 12-step programs and residential stays.

But as the country's opioid epidemic kills more and more Americans, some of the hardest-hit communities across the country don't have enough doctors who are able - or willing - to supply those medications to the growing number of addicts who need them.

More than 900,000 U.S. physicians can write prescriptions for painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. But because of a federal law, fewer than 32,000 doctors are authorized to prescribe buprenorphine to people who become addicted to those and other opioids. Most doctors with a license to prescribe buprenorphine seldom - if ever - use it. Read more here. 
Schools in Poor Areas Have More Students with Mental Health Needs

Nearly 40% of youth who needed mental health care between 2011-12 didn't receive the necessary treatment, according to the Children's Defense Fund's 2014 State of America's Children report. For families living
in poverty, that number reached 45%, and for black and Latino children, it was 55% and 46%, respectively.  But schools may soon have more resources to change that.

In addition to shaking up standardized testing rules, the Every Student Succeeds Act, the nation's new Federal education law -the successor to No Child Left Behind - 
includes funding for schools to invest in the mental and behavioral health of their students.

The new law authorizes grants to the tune of $1.6 billion. School districts that serve the highest concentration of students living in poverty will be eligible for the most funding, at least 20% of which must be spent on mental and behavioral health services per district. No Child Left Behind had a narrower focus on mental health needs - namely through the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program-which was a competitive grant awarded to select school districts.

While Medicaid and the Chil­dren's Health Insurance Program pay for counselors and therapists for children that need more rigorous treatment off-campus, the new funds can help ensure that schools teach students self-awareness and emotional self-reg­u­la­tion, and identify when a student needs a referral to receive one-on-one treatment.  Read more here. 
The Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors advances public policies and awareness for people with mental illness, chemical dependency and developmental disabilities.  We are a statewide membership organization that consists of the Commissioner/ Director of each of the state's 57 county mental hygiene departments and the mental hygiene department of the City of New York.