Alert: Tell Gov Cuomo To Increase Funding For Geriatric Mental Health

NYAPRS Note: Please take a few minutes today to urge Governor Cuomo to double the annual budget for the geriatric mental health demonstration projects to $4 million to allow more older New Yorkers with behavioral health conditions to be served, and would help them to age in place in the community. Thanks to the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance for their leadership here.

Dear GMHA Members:

WHAT WE ARE DOING:

As you may recall, we have been advocating for a $2 million increase in funding for the geriatric mental health demonstration projects that provide integrated services for older adults with behavioral health conditions.

It was the advocacy of the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York that led to the passage of the New York State Geriatric Mental Health Act, which was implemented in 2006.  This Act provided $2 million in funding for geriatric mental health demonstration projects across New York State.

WHY WE ARE DOING IT:

The geriatric mental health demonstration projects have been funded at the $2 million per year level for more than 10 years.  It is time for this funding to increase, because:

  • The population of older adults in NYS will increase to nearly 5 million by 2040;

  • 20% of older New Yorkers have a diagnosable behavioral health condition;

  • More older New Yorkers will require integrated services that address their behavioral health and physical health needs;

  • Older New Yorkers want to be able to age in place, which integrated services helps them to do.

We have asked the Governor to double the annual budget for the geriatric mental health demonstration projects to $4 million.  This funding increase would allow more older New Yorkers with behavioral health conditions to be served, and would help them to age in place in the community.

  

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

We want you to lend your voice to this effort!  It's easy!

Use this link to write the governor:  https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

Under "Topic," click "Health" and under subject, write "Geriatric Mental Health Demonstration Projects.

In the message box, you can copy and paste the following message:

Dear Governor Cuomo:

I am writing to urge you to commit an additional $2 million (double the current amount) for geriatric mental health demonstration projects in the New York State Office of Mental Health budget for 2019-20.

Funding for these projects became available in 2007. Despite their success, funding has not increased in more than a decade.

Demonstration projects have been funded through several cycles. Phases 1, 2, and 3 focused primarily on integration of physical and behavioral health services in both physical and behavioral health care settings. These demonstrations have resulted both in useful lessons in the implementation of new programmatic concepts and, very importantly, in improved physical and behavioral health outcomes. Findings have been translated into ongoing services after the initial funding, despite structural barriers. Phase 4, which began in 2017 and will continue until 2021, is an ambitious effort to develop "triple partnerships," collaborations among local mental health, substance abuse, and aging service providers.

While these projects unfold, there is an opportunity to establish new demonstration projects to help older adults with serious behavioral health problems to age in the community ("age in place").

This would include the movement of older adults from institutions (state hospitals, nursing homes, adult homes, and prisons) into community settings. It would also include providing supports to enable those who now live in community settings to remain there by providing home and community-based services to address their physical and behavioral health needs.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

SIGN YOUR NAME HERE

Thanks in advance for your advocacy,

Michael Friedman and Lisa Furst