January 27, 2022
Governor Hochul Announces Expanded Initiatives to Address Street Homelessness

Governor Kathy Hochul last Friday announced expanded initiatives to address homelessness and help provide intensive outreach, engagement, and care coordination services on the streets and in the subway in New York City, and announced the launch of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for nonprofit organizations to operate specialized "Safe Options Support" teams consisting of direct outreach workers as well as clinicians to help more New Yorkers come off of streets and into shelters and/or housing. These initiatives were announced earlier this month on Jan. 5 as part of the Governor's State of the State proposals to combat homelessness and expand housing access for New Yorkers in need, and on Jan. 6, Governor Hochul highlighted these initiatives and City coordination with New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Read more here.

Senator Brouk Announces Legislative Package to Address Maternal Mental Health Needs of New Yorkers

Senator Samra G. Brouk last Thursday announced the introduction of a package of three new bills in the Senate to address the maternal mental health needs of New Yorkers who give birth and to address the problems of underdiagnosis and undertreatment in vulnerable, at-risk populations, particularly Black and Brown women. Senator Brouk serves as the Chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee and is a member of the Senate Health committee. Read more here.

Hochul Floats Medicaid Managed-Care Re-Procurement, Putting $60b at Stake

A new proposal could completely reshape the state Medicaid program by requiring health plans to compete for a limited number of managed-care contracts covering millions of New Yorkers.
The proposal, bundled into Gov. Kathy Hochul's executive budget bills last week, empowers the state to select managed long-term care plans for Medicaid enrollees based on more than a dozen criteria, including an insurer's ability to offer plans in multiple regions, participation in value-based payment arrangements, status as a charitable corporation and the geographic distribution of its network providers. Read more here.

New Law Will Expand Data Collection of Alcohol Overdoses in New York

County-level data on alcohol overdoses in New York will be collected by the state Department of Health under a law approved this week by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The measure will expand the information state public health officials collect on alcohol overdoses statewide, and have the information shared on an annual basis. The goal of the measure is better understand the areas of New York that have seen higher rates of alcohol poisoning in order to better address it. Read more here.
State Legislators Want Mental Health Professionals in Every N.Y. School District

The Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian Legislative Caucus has proposed legislation that calls for hiring mental health professionals in every school district in New York state.

“It makes me more passionate about ensuring that we represent the issues of people of color, especially the Black immigrant community which is near and dear to my heart, to make sure they receive resources and acknowledgement,” said Michaelle Solages, a fifth-term legislator in the midst of her second-year chairing the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian Legislative caucus. Solages is also the first person of Haitian descent to be elected to the state Legislature. Read more here.

MVP Adds Virtual Primary Care; First Such Option in NY for Medicaid Members

People insured through MVP Health Care can now get primary care consultations on the phone or computer through a new telemedicine program.

The Schenectady-based health insurer recently announced the partnership with Galileo, and said it would supplement in–person visits for patients who have a primary care physician or replace them for patients that don’t. Read more here.
Federal Report: Mental Health Coverage is Still Not on Par with Other Benefits

A federal report released Tuesday found insurers and health plans are failing to provide mental health and substance use treatment coverage at the same level as medical and surgery benefits. And it’s a major barrier to care, especially for those already struggling to get help. That was the message from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury in their 2022 Report to Congress on the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

“As someone in recovery, protecting access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment is important to me personally and as Secretary of Labor,” said Marty Walsh on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “It’s much easier to get help for a physical illness like the flu than it is going through a mental health emergency.” Read more here.
Communities Must Have All Core Crisis Elements to Reach People Most in Need

When Paul Galdys sat down to write the National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care, there was a clear, simple objective: advancing an emergency response system for mental health, substance use, and suicidal crises. That was the directive of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Communities don’t need just any kind of response,” points out Galdys, deputy CEO at RI International, “but one that gives people immediate access to care.”

Galdys says the guidelines draw from decades of SAMHSA-funded research and recommendations made by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s crisis services task force in 2016. The recommendations resulted in the development of Crisis Now, a model that provides the fundamental components to a safe, effective crisis care system, diverting people in distress from the emergency department and jail by developing a full continuum of crisis care services that match their clinical needs. Read more here.

HHS Names Top 3 Regulatory Priorities for Behavioral Health in 2022

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the nation’s top health care regulator, will tackle three major initiatives within the behavioral health space in 2022 as the Biden administration enters its second year.

The agency holds up increasing access, promoting equity, tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and enhancing the priorities of children and families as key rhetorical points at the heart of the many specific objectives for 2022. Behavioral health is key to those objectives, according to a regulatory priorities document published by HHS. Read more here.

As Suicide Attempts Rise in America, Mental Health Care Remains Stagnant

Despite the substantial increase in suicide attempts among U.S. adults over the last decade, use of mental health services by these individuals didn't match that growth, data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed.

From 2008 to 2019, suicide attempts among adults increased from 481.2 to 563.9 per 100,000 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.23, 95% CI 1.05-1.44, P=0.01), reported Greg Rhee, PhD, of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues. Read more here.
Nimble Is Necessary

There are best practices for service line portfolio management and strategy development that I think produce great results. But in the current fast-changing market landscape, those ‘great results’ don’t have a long shelf life.

Most executives do not anticipate how often those ‘best laid plans’ need to be modified, updated, adjusted, or thrown out the window. Navigating the pandemic has demonstrated that success goes to the flexible. And that ‘nimbleness’ is one of the key attributes of a resilient organization, an organization that can navigate its way to sustainability in the next normal. Read more here.

CMS Wants States to Lock in Telehealth Changes for Behavioral Health, Other Areas

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hopes to see the flexibility state Medicaid programs have enacted in telehealth — especially within behavioral health — become permanent.

Daniel Tsai, the deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), a division of CMS, said that one of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is the pressure for the routine adoption of telehealth, especially in “ critical pieces like behavioral health and other areas.” Read more here.

3 Strategies to Navigate the Healthcare Talent Shortage

While clinician burnout was an area of concern before the pandemic, added strain on the healthcare system related to COVID-19 has compounded the situation. According to the American Hospital Association, 42% of physicians reported feeling burned out in 2020. What’s more, instances of high burnout among nurses quadrupled in size. Recent data estimates more than 200,000 registered nurses are needed to replace those retiring, while the estimated shortage of physicians is projected to range from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands in a decade. Read more here.

Governor Hochul Announces Award of More than $3.7 Million to Support Addiction Prevention Services Across New York State

Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday announced the award of more than $3.7 million to expand evidence-based addiction prevention services throughout New York State. Funding was awarded to providers in each of New York State’s ten economic development regions and will support prevention providers who had their services negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) is administering this funding. Read more here.


January 27, 3 - 4 pm, PsychU

January 28, 12 - 2:30 pm, ICAUSE

January 28, 12 - 1 pm, SMI Advisor

January 28, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

January 31, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

January 31, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

January 31, 2 - 3 pm, Social Current

February 1, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

February 8, 1 - 2 pm, NASHP

February 9, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

February 9, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

February 10, 12 - 1 pm, Social Current

February 10, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

February 16, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

February 16, 3 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

February 22, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

February 22, 3 - 4 pm, NACo

February 23, 1 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

February 24, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

February 24, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, HHRC

February 24, 3 - 4 pm, OMH


Executive Committee Call
February 2: 8 - 9 am

Mental Health Committee Meeting
February 3: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
February 8: 10 - 11:30 am

Addictions Services & Recovery Meeting
February 10: 11 am - 12 pm

CLMHD Offices Closed - Lincoln's Birthday
February 11

Membership Call
February 16: 9 - 10:30 am

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
February 17: 1 - 3 pm

CLMHD Offices Closed - Washington's Birthday
February 21


OASAS Agency Day
March 7: 9:30 - 11:30 am

OMH Agency Day
March 8: 9:30 - 11:30 am

OPWDD Agency Day
March 9: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Addictions Services & Recovery Meeting
March 10: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
March 10: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
March 14: 10 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
March 15: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
March 17: 1 - 2:30 pm
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)