NYAPRS First Look at OMH State Services Reconfiguration Plan

Here are initial details, as we understand them, from OMH’s plan to reconfigure state operated mental health services and to create a reduced number of Regional Centers of Excellence. We’ll send out corrections if and as needed.


  • The plan reduces the number of adult, children’s and forensic inpatient facilities from 24 to 15.
    • Our current understanding is that the following facilities that are closing their inpatient service as a whole are St. Lawrence, Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, MidHudson, Sagamore, Manhattan and Western NY Children’s PCs. St. Lawrence, Binghamton, Elmira and Rochester will continue to provide outpatient services in the community as they do now.
  • Our current understanding is that, at the end of a 3 year transition process, OMH will operate 15 Regional Centers of Excellence (RCEs) in Buffalo, Rochester (forensic only), Syracuse, Albany, Rockland, Bronx Adult, Bronx Kids, Utica Kids, Staten Island, Manhattan (forensic only), Brentwood, Ogdensburg (forensic only), Central NY/Marcy (forensic), the Psychiatric Institute and the Nathan Kline Institute.

RCEs will be regionally-based networks of inpatient and community-based services, each with a specialized inpatient hospital program located at its center with geographically dispersed community service “hubs” overseeing state-operated community-based services throughout the region.


  • The plan removes geographic catchment areas, meaning people can choose the facility they believe is most specialized and best in meeting their needs.
  • The focus will be on short intensive inpatient stays, with best practice discharge planning.
  • State staff may be transition from inpatient duty to community innovations like “Community Support Teams, Wellness Centers, and integration of care with pediatricians and partnerships with local housing providers.”
    • This may well occur through “voluntary reassignment” (“the ability to voluntarily take a position with another OMH facility without hiring freeze or Civil Service clearance restrictions”).
    • State staff will also be able to pursue employment outside of OMH at other state agencies.
    • “As OMH expands community-based services, we will assist employees in transitioning to positions in settings within a reasonable distance from employees’ existing workplace.”
    • “OMH will explore opportunities to retrain our workforce, to transition into future roles which are significantly different from current ones.”
  • The state is hereby giving its one year required legal notice to make these changes; it does not believe these changes require legislative approval.
  • The 3 year transition period will allow for “community-level planning and priority setting, staff training as well as establishment of support services in the community. Predictability and future vision will help to align the resources needed to achieve the intended outcomes from Regional Centers.”
  1. There will be a statewide leadership team and an operations team in each of the five (5) OMH regions. Membership on each Regional Centers of Excellence Team (RCE Team) will be by invitation, including representation from peers and family, providers, labor unions, Regional Economic Development Councils, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, and stakeholders with a membership limit of 15 people. These teams, whose proceedings will be public, will be charged with overseeing the implementation of the Regional Centers of Excellence plan.
  1. The plan has an unspecified commitment to allow for “improved access to safe and affordable housing.”

 Reinvestment: there is no specified formula or clear mandate to reinvest a percentage of savings from attrition or facility closures to community based nonprofit services. Advocates are very concerned about this.


More details as we get them!


NYAPRS and many of our colleague groups are generally supportive of this plan but are very concerned about the Reinvestment issue. Here’s our statement:


Advocates Support Cuomo Proposal to Reconfigure State Operated Mental Health Services

Emphasize Need for Reinvestment into Community Nonprofit Services


“Our organizations welcome these proposals to reconfigure state dollars and staff in a way that maximizes state resources to meet our communities’ most pressing needs, while at the same time creating state of the art regional psychiatric facilities that are among the nation’s best.  


This is an historic moment for New York. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s strong and creative leadership, New York will be able to make smart investments that bolster local community mental health systems, increase employment and housing, reduce local and state spending on acute care services and provide an enhanced quality of life for New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities. 


We will be scrutinizing the details of these proposals and sharing more detailed reactions and recommendations in the days to come, and during the three year process the state is providing to finalize these landmark reforms.


We want to ensure that a significant portion of state savings from staff attrition and facility closures is reinvested into local communities to boost effective and cost effective nonprofit services.”


Harvey Rosenthal, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services  518-527-0564

Lauri Cole, NYS Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare  518-461-8200

Glenn Liebman, Mental Health Association of NYS  518-360-7916

Phillip Saperia, Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies 917-699-9752

Ted Houghton, Supportive Housing Network of New York 917-309-4566

Antonia Lasicki, Association for Community Living 518-441-5651

Amy Colesante, Mental Health Empowerment Project 518-813-3156