Chautauqua County’s Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services to Retire

Patricia Brinkman, Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services for the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, has announced her retirement.

Brinkman has led the Department since 2000. She leaves the department on solid financial ground, largely funded through aggressive and strategically targeted state and federal grants.

Brinkman has worked tirelessly to champion mental health in the community with a heavy focus to increase the department’s service capacity. For years, she has guided a team of professionals working to bring quality services to support the most vulnerable members of our community who are facing mental health and substance abuse challenges. Read more here.
SUNY Announces New Peer Advocates Training to Help Connect Students with Mental Health Resources

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced last week a new Student Mental Health Peer Advocates Training Program that will allow students to reach out to their peers, who show signs of depression or distress, and provide mental health resources. These resources include referrals to dedicated crisis and counseling centers.

It is the second initiative developed and advocated for by members of the Student Voices Action Committee, which was established in October, to advise SUNY leadership on emerging critical issues and challenges facing students. And, it sets in motion SUNY’s first agreement with Active Minds to train peer advocates on each SUNY campus to combat mental health issues. Read more here.
CMS Proposes Medicare Payment Bump for Rehab, Psychiatric Facilities

CMS has released the proposed rules for the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) Prospective Payment System and the Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Prospective Payment System for fiscal year (FY) 2022.

Issued on Wednesday, the proposed FY 2022 IRF Prospective Payment System rule would increase Medicare payments by 1.8 percent, or $160 million, compared to the previous fiscal year.

The payment increase includes a proposed 2.2 percent bump in IRF Prospective Payment System rates based on the proposed 2.4 percent market basket update, less a 0.2 percentage point multi-factor productivity adjustment. Read more here.
BHN Spring 2021 Issue Released

April 11, 10 - 11 am, OMH

April 13, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

April 13, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA

April 14, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

April 14, 2 - 3:15 pm, COSSAP

April 15, 1 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

April 16, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 19, 2 - 3:30 pm, CCSI

April 20, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 21 - 22, CCSI

April 22, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 22, 2 - 3 pm, COSSAP

April 27, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

April 28, 12 - 1:30 pm, Suicide Prevention Center of NYS

April 28, 3 - 4:30 pm, CMS

April 29, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 29, 3 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 6, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

May 13, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

May 13, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 18, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 19, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

May 26, 10 - 11 am, OMH


LGU Clinic Operators Call
April 13: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Meeting
April 15: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
April 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Membership Call
April 21: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM


Executive Committee Meeting
May 5: 8 - 9 am, GTM

LGU Billing Staff Call
May 6: 2 - 3 pm, GTM

LGU Clinic Operators Call
May 11: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Business Meeting
May 11: 2 - 5 pm, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
May 13: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
May 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Offices Closed - Memorial Day
May 31

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
New York Reaches Deal on $212 Billion Budget to Jump-Start Recovery

New York State leaders announced they had reached an agreement on Tuesday on a $212 billion state budget that includes tax increases on the wealthy as well as substantial relief for renters, undocumented immigrants and business owners hit hardest by the coronavirus.

Many of the budget’s key initiatives are aimed at jump-starting the recovery of a state that was the one-time epicenter of the pandemic.

It includes $2.3 billion in federal funds to help tenants late on rent; $1 billion in grants and tax credits for small businesses that suffered from the economic downturn; and a $2.1 billion fund to provide one-time payments for undocumented workers who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits, according to budget highlights released by the governor’s office. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: Breaking Down the State Budget Details
Senator Samra Brouk Secures Essential Funding in NYS Budget
Big Wins for 55th Senate District Public Schools and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Workers

On Tuesday, the New York State Senate passed the New York State Budget for FY2021-22. After several months of speaking to local residents and businesses, and negotiating with Senate and Assembly colleagues, Senator Samra Brouk, SD-55, secured essential funding for local schools, libraries, farms, small businesses, homeowners and renters, and mental health services and supports.

“Budgets are a statement of values, and I am proud of the advocacy that my staff and I have engaged in this year to ensure that the 55th District gets the funding that we need to recover from this pandemic,” stated Senator Samra Brouk. “This budget provides some important wins for our region and essential investments in building a stronger New York State.” Read more here.
Biden Administration Outlines Plan to Increase SUD Treatment Access in First-Year Drug Policy Priorities

The Biden Administration has released its first-year drug policy priorities.

The agenda, released last week, includes seven main areas on which the administration says it will focus during its first year in office. Those priorities include increasing access to evidence-based SUD treatment, particularly for buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment (MAT); better enforcing behavioral health parity; improving racial equity; and enhancing harm-reduction efforts, in addition to other priorities.

When it comes to treatment access, the administration said it’s committed to achieving universal coverage to help people with SUD get the care they need. Read more here.
New Bipartisan Bill Would Increase Access to Substance Use Treatment for People in the Criminal Justice System

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a new bill last week to expand services and treatment for people with substance use disorders during incarceration and when they return to the community. Led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and John Cornyn (R-TX), the Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act of 2021 reauthorizes and makes several improvements to the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners Formula Grant Program.

RSAT—originally created by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 — supports states and local and tribal governments to provide residential substance use treatment programs for people in prisons and jails. Grant funds may also be used to prepare people with substance use disorders to return to their communities from incarceration and deliver community-based treatment and other related reentry services. Read more here.
Drug Overdose Deaths Spiked To 88,000 During The Pandemic, White House Says

Drug deaths spiked dramatically during a period that includes the first six months of the pandemic, up roughly 27% compared with the previous year, the acting head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said Thursday.

"We lost 88,000 people in the 12-month period ending in August 2020," Regina LaBelle told reporters during a morning briefing. "Illicitly manufactured fentanyl and synthetic opioids are the primary drivers of this increase."

That number, based on provisional data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is sharply higher than the figure reported by the CDC as recently as last December. Read more here.

National Suicide Prevention Award Given for Lifesaving Work in Emergency Departments

To recognize leaders in suicide prevention, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) will honor the developers of Emergency Psychiatric Intervention (EPI), a new toolkit of best practices for patients with psychiatric emergencies. The EPI team will be awarded the Innovation in Acute Care Suicide Prevention Award on April 8 during a webinar hosted by AFSP and ACEP.

"When we began work on Project 2025, our bold goal to reduce the national suicide rate 20% by 2025, we envisioned creative new solutions like this new toolkit developed by the team at Vituity. This team has found a way to better meet the behavioral health needs of patients," said CEO Robert Gebbia of AFSP. "And, what makes the tool special is how simple it is to implement, and the potential time and cost savings for care and treatment. I look forward to seeing how this program is expanded and taken to scale around the country." Read more here.
VA Seeks Feedback to Guide New Suicide Prevention Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a notice in the Federal Register April 1, to solicit public feedback to guide implementation of the new VA Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program (SSG Fox SPGP)

SSG Fox SPGP will be a $174 million, three-year grant program to provide resources to community organizations that serve Veterans at risk of suicide and support to their families across the U.S. 

Those resources are outlined in the grant program Congress established under the authority of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019. Read more here.
Suicidal Thoughts Are Increasing in Young Kids, Experts Say. It Began Before the Pandemic.

The youngsters come in with tears in their eyes, or their fists clenched in anger. Sometimes, they show no emotion at all.

“I want to kill myself,” the kids, some as young as 8, announce inside elementary school counselor Olivia Carter’s office, where affirmations such as “Think good thoughts” and “Our school is not complete without you!” adorn the walls.

When Carter started working at Jefferson Elementary in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in 2016, there was a school suicide protocol in place to ensure that students who expressed a desire to hurt themselves got the help they needed. Her first year, she only had to use it once or twice.

Now, she says, about one student a month at her pre-K through fifth grade school tells her that they want to die. Read more here.
Kids in the ER are Waiting Longer for Mental Health Care

Children taken to the emergency room for mental health concerns are more likely to be stuck there for extended stays than they were a decade ago, according to new research. Hispanic children are almost three times more likely than white children to experience these delays in care.

“Every minute, every hour, every day a kid with mental health care [needs] spends in the ED is a delay in the care that they actually need,” said Katherine Nash, author of the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Nash and her team at Yale University analyzed national survey data from 2005-2015, focusing on patient length of stay in the emergency room. They found that rates of visits that lasted more than six hours for pediatric mental health concerns increased from around 16% to almost a full quarter of visits. Stays longer than 12 hours increased from 5% to almost 13%. Read more here.
Virtual Therapy Startups Tackle the Gap in Mental Health Care for Kids and Teens

When Alex Alvarado and his co-founders started their virtual therapy company Daybreak Health in February 2020, they saw a “massive need” for better mental health options for teens. Then the pandemic hit, and the gap they were trying to fill grew even bigger.

“The need has really obviously skyrocketed in this population, as well as the need for technology-based solutions,” he said. “So it was fortunate for us to be able to help as many kids as we have been during this time.”

Following in the footsteps of now-giant companies working to address the roaring mental health crisis for adults, Daybreak and another startup, Brightline, have turned their attention to providing mental health care for kids, tapping into the surging interest for telemedicine. Read more here.
NACo and the National Council for Behavioral Health Release New Report on Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics

NACo has partnered with the National Council for Behavioral health to release a report outlining the tenets of the CCBHC model, which aligns federal funding with a renowned care model that is founded on person-centered treatment, care coordination and integration, evidence-based practice, timely access to services (including 24/7 crisis response) and the flexibility to deliver support outside the four walls of the clinic. The report also detail how counties can leverage the CCBHC model to address key policy priorities around mental health including:

  • Expanding access to addiction care and strengthening the local response to the opioid crisis
  • Serving more people in need of mental health services, including youth; and
  • Reducing wait times for treatment.

Click here to access the full report or here to access the CCBHC Success Center, a hub for data, support and advocacy for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic initiative.
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.

Affiliated with the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC)