Thousands Held In NY's Prisons Will Spend The Holidays In Solitary Confinement

NYAPRS Note: NYAPRS has long worked to advance policies that promote criminal justice system diversion and re-entry services and to press for ‘treatment not torture’ for incarcerated individuals with mental health conditions in New York. That’s why we’ve helped win upwards of $6 million for Crisis Intervention Team initiatives over the last 5 years, authorization for NY to re-start Medicaid 30 days before release from prisons and jails (action may be forthcoming in 2019) and was a very active member of a coalition that won passage of the SHU Exclusion Act of 2008 (Special Housing Unit, a euphemism for ‘the Box) that limited the use of solitary confinements for people with advanced mental health conditions.

Nonetheless upwards of 800 individuals with those conditions suffer in the Box today in NYS prisons. Accordingly, that’s why we’re actively working with the Coalition for Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (CAIC) and other groups to win passage of ‘HALT’ legislation that includes a full ban on the use of the Box for a variety of vulnerable groups including those who are either/and 21 years or younger; 55 years or older, living with a physical, mental, or medical disability, pregnant or are a new mother or caring for a child while inside.

The HALT bill was approved by the NYS Assembly last sessions and hopes are high that, with a Democratic Senate in NY, we can get it to the Governor’s desk this year. Passage of the HALT will be one of NYAPRS’ top advocacy priorities at our February 26 Annual Albany Legislative Day, along with a housing rate hike, 2.9% across the board COLA and alternatives to outpatient commitment. Look for details next week.

Happy New Year wishes to you all.  

Thousands Held in NY's Prisons Will Spend the Holidays in Solitary Confinement

by Victoria Law  Gothamist   December 24, 2018

Roger Clark still remembers Christmas in solitary confinement. Clark spent five years at Southport Correctional Facility, New York’s first supermax prison dedicated to 23-hour lockdown, after defending himself from another prisoner’s assault.

“I’m in a cell by myself the size of an elevator. I felt like the walls were closing in on me,” he told Gothamist. Every day was the same, he recalled. The only way he knew it was Christmas was by looking at the calendar he had drawn for himself. Even then, Christmas meant not only being separated from his family, but being unable to even call them.

Being in isolation took its toll even on non-holidays. “Every night, there’s yelling and screaming,” Clark recalled. “You can’t sleep.” Clark was allowed out of solitary in 2002 and came home from prison in 2012.

Even out of prison, the experience still haunts him. “I was in a cramped cell for years with nothing. I became antisocial... Even childhood friends, they see that my behavior has changed. They see that I’m not the same person I was. I feel like I’m damaged goods.”

Clark, now a member of Brooklyn-based advocacy organization VOCAL-NY, joined over two dozen advocates on Thursday to rally outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Midtown office and sing modified Christmas carols calling for an end to solitary confinement in the state.

They brought a poster-sized Christmas card inviting Cuomo to spend 24 hours in a solitary confinement cell and urging him to pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, which would limit stints in solitary to 15 consecutive days and create alternatives for people who need to be separated for longer periods.

New York’s 54 prisons currently hold over 2,500 adults in their Special Housing Units (SHU), dedicated cellblocks whose inhabitants are locked in their cells for 23 to 24 hours each day. Advocates estimate that at least another thousand are held in keeplock, a different form of isolation in which a person is locked in their cell (as opposed to a designated isolation unit) for 23 hours each day. And, says Jack Beck, director of the Prison Visiting Project at the Correctional Association of New York, one thousand may be an undercount. In the three prisons he visited this year, there were 240 people in keeplock.

Given that January marks a new legislative session, the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, which passed the State Assembly in June, will need to be re-introduced. Advocates are hopeful that it will pass in both the Assembly and the Senate.

But Cuomo need not wait for the state legislature, notes Beck. “He could end solitary confinement through the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.” Beck says to do so, the governor and his appointed prison director, Anthony J. Annucci, “have to be committed to a therapeutic environment that treats people’s problems. That is not going to happen by locking them up and just letting them out to play games. And that’s going to require some resources. It will save money in the long run because we’ll have fewer people in solitary and they’ll get out [of prison] sooner. Cuomo could do that literally starting tomorrow. He could put it in the budget.”

A representative from the governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Beck, Clark and other advocates point to Colorado, where prison director Rick Raemisch drastically changed the system’s solitary practice, limiting isolation to 15 days and assigning them therapists and other behavioral interventions. The number of people in isolation dropped drastically—from 1,500 (nearly 7 percent of Colorado’s prison population) in 2011 to 18 in October 2017.

Victor Pate is the statewide organizer for New York's Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement. But in 1975, Pate was a 23-year-old new to the infamous Attica prison. Shortly after his arrival, Pate was sent to solitary for two weeks for having too many bedsheets in his cell. Prison rules dictate that people in solitary be allowed one hour out of their cell, but it was winter and the recreation cage was filled with snow. “I had a choice of going out in the snow up to my knees or staying in my cell,” he recalled. Most days he opted for his cell.

Four decades later, Pate can’t forget those two weeks.

“It felt like the end of the world. It felt like it’s never going to get better. It felt like this might be the end of me.” After his time in isolation, he found himself feeling anti-social and unable to engage in conversation. “The trauma of being isolated weighs heavily on a person’s psyche,” he said. “Had they had therapy, an opportunity to engage in conversation with another human being, it would have been a much better transition and [would have] helped me cope with the fact that I was incarcerated.”

In early December, Pate visited Colorado’s alternatives to solitary. In these units, he describes, people are allowed out of their cell for four hours and have the ability to interact with other people as well as meet with social workers and psychologists.

Pate recalls entering the cell of one man in the unit. “I went into his cell and sat on his bed,” he said, noting that no guard or prison staff member hovered over the two men to listen to their conversation. “I asked him, ‘Is this smoke and mirrors?’ He told me, ‘If they had had this years ago, I wouldn’t have come back to prison. As a result of coming into this unit, I think different and I act different.’

“We need to rehabilitate these guys. We don’t need to torture them. You’re doing more harm than good,” Clark added.

As Clark and another CAIC member headed into the building to deliver the card to Cuomo’s staffer, advocates sang their version of My Favorite Things:

“When the door slams/When the key turns/When I’m going mad/I simply remember my family and friends/And then I just feel so sad.”

http://gothamist.com/2018/12/24/solitary_confinement_holidays_gotha.php

Jan 16 NYAPRS Putnam/Westchester Forum Preps for Legislative Day, Looks at New Service Innovations

NYAPRS Note: NYAPRS is kicking off a series of regional forums over the next few months with a January 16 Putnam/Westchester Regional Forum in Carmel that will provide advocacy training, seek local input and prepare for our February 26th Annual Albany Legislative Day.

This year, we’ve added an additional hour long program that takes a deeper look at several new models that are being advanced by local NYAPRS member agencies and NYAPRS itself.

Bryan Cranna from Independent Living will offer a look at their self-directed care pilot that is helping eligible individuals to purchase the goods and services they need to advance their recovery and community life.

Raquelle Bender from the MHA of Westchester will be presenting on their Project INSET pilot that is engaging and supporting adults with extensive mental health challenges who live in the Hudson Valley and may be likely referrals for mandated services.

And I’ll be discussing a Health Home Peer Bridger approach appears to be included in a number of NYS Behavioral Heath HCBS Infrastructure funding proposals.

Registration will be capped at 50 so register today at acarroll@covecarecenter.org.

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Gov. Cuomo Enacts MH/SUD Parity Report Act, Providing Transparency on Compliance with Federal & State MH/SUD Parity Laws

NYAPRS Note: Thanks to a strong advocacy push by more than two dozen statewide organizations and 5 national groups representing a broad array of consumer and provider advocacy groups (see below), the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act (A.3694-C) was enacted into law by Governor Cuomo on December 21, 2018 as Chapter 455 of the Laws of 2018.

Great thanks are due to our legislative mental health committee chairs Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Senator Rob Ortt, who sponsored and championed the measure through Legislature, and to Governor Cuomo for his enactment of the law and his continued leadership and efforts to enhance compliance with the federal and State's MH/SUD parity laws. Here are more details

The enactment of the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act is huge victory for NYAPRS and the broader MH/SUD community as it will compel insurers, health plans, and behavioral health management companies to submit key data and information to the Department of Financial Services for analysis and evaluation of compliance with the federal and State's MH/SUD parity laws culminating in the publication of a report on the Department's website. This measure will provide much needed accountability and transparency.

Chapter 455 puts New York on a path to achieving full compliance and transparency with the parity laws, which are critical components in maintaining and enhancing access to care for those with mental health and substance use related conditions.

Enactment of this law at this particular time is especially symbolic as New York marks the twelfth anniversary of the enactment of Timothy's Law, New York's parity law, which Governor Cuomo recognized in his approval message, “Ensuring New Yorkers have access to  care  and  treatment  for  mental illness  and substance abuse disorders is critical and is the reason New York enacted one of the strongest  mental  health  parity  laws  in  the nation  (Timothy's  Law)  in 2006. New York reaffirmed its commitment to mental health parity when Timothy's Law was made permanent in 2009.”

Chapter 455 is a shared success and would not been possible without the strong grassroots support mobilized by the partnering organizations generating an enormous volume of letters, calls and tweets in support. We extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to all of the partnering organizations.

Please spend a minute to give thanks to the Governor, Senator Ortt and Assembly member Gunther in the following ways:  

  • Thank you @NYGovCuomo for enacting Chapter 455 of the Laws of 2018, the MH/SUD Parity Reporting Act! #ParityComplianceReporting #TimothysLaw

  • Thank you @SenatorOrtt for your sponsorship and leadership on Chapter 455 of the Laws of 2018, the MH/SUD Parity Reporting Act! #ParityComplianceReporting #TimothysLaw

  • Thank you @AileenMGunther for your sponsorship and leadership on Chapter 455 of the Laws of 2018, the MH/SUD Parity Reporting Act! #ParityComplianceReporting #TimothysLaw

 TEMPLATES for THANK YOU LETTERS

Send via: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

Dear Governor Cuomo,

I am writing to you today to thank you for enacting the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder (MH/SUD) Parity Report Act (S.1156-C/A.3694-C) into law, Chapter 455 of the Laws of 2018, a measure that will provide much needed disclosure and transparency on the compliance of insurers and health plans with federal and the State's MH/SUD parity laws.

Your enactment of the MH & SUD Parity Report Act during the twelfth anniversary of the signing of Timothy’s Law, New York’s parity law, (December 22, 2006), is especially meaningful as it sets New York on a path to achieving full implementation and compliance with the parity laws, which are critical components in maintaining and enhancing access to care for those with mental health and substance use related conditions.

Once again thank you for enacting the MH & SUD Parity Report Act and for your continued leadership and efforts to expand access to care and enhance compliance with the parity laws.

Sincerely

Send via: GuntheA@nyassembly.gov

Dear Assemblymember Gunther,

I am writing to you today to thank you for your sponsorship the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder (MH/SUD) Parity Report Act (S.1156-C/A.3694-C) into law, Chapter 455 of the Laws of 2018, a measure that will provide much needed disclosure and transparency on the compliance of insurers and health plans with federal and the State's MH/SUD parity laws.

The enactment of the MH & SUD Parity Report Act during the twelfth anniversary of the signing of Timothy’s Law, New York’s parity law, (December 22, 2006), is especially meaningful as it sets New York on a path to achieving full implementation and compliance with the parity laws, which are critical components in maintaining and enhancing access to care for those with mental health and substance use related conditions.

Once again thank you for championing the MH & SUD Parity Report Act and for your continued leadership and efforts to expand access to care and enhance compliance with the parity laws.

Sincerely

Send via: Ortt@nysenate.gov

Dear Senator Ortt,

I am writing to you today to thank you for your sponsorship of the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder (MH/SUD) Parity Report Act (S.1156-C/A.3694-C) into law, Chapter 455 of the Laws of 2018, a measure that will provide much needed disclosure and transparency on the compliance of insurers and health plans with federal and the State's MH/SUD parity laws.

The enactment of the MH & SUD Parity Report Act during the twelfth anniversary of the signing of Timothy’s Law, New York’s parity law, (December 22, 2006), is especially meaningful as it sets New York on a path to achieving full implementation and compliance with the parity laws, which are critical components in maintaining and enhancing access to care for those with mental health and substance use related conditions.

Once again thank you for championing the MH & SUD Parity Report Act and for your continued leadership and efforts to expand access to care and enhance compliance with the parity laws.

Sincerely

Gov Cuomo Announces Minimum Wage Increases for 2018

NYAPRS Note: Governor Cuomo released details of the schedule for implementation of the minimum wage increase across NYS.

In addition, while NYAPRS and our colleagues were able to win a 6.5% hike for direct care workers and a 3.25% increase for the ‘clinical’ workforce, our groups will be pressing for an across the board 2.9% Cost of Living Adjustment for the coming budget.

Governor Cuomo Announces Minimum Wage Increase to Take Effect on December 31st

Launches Wage Theft Hotline (1-888-4-NYSDOL) for Workers to Report Employers Not Complying with Increase

New York State Department of Labor Multimedia Public Education Campaign to Raise Awareness About New Minimum Wage

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the minimum wage increase will take effect on December 31, 2018, rising to $15 for large employers in New York City and continuing to rise all across the state. The Governor also launched a Wage Theft Hotline (1-888-4-NYSDOL) for workers to report employers not complying with the increase. In coordination with the increase, the New York State Department of Labor will release a multimedia public education campaign to raise awareness about the new minimum wage.

"With the historic increase in the minimum wage, New York continues to set a national example in the fight for economic justice," Governor Cuomo said. "In New York, we believe in a fair day's pay for a fair day's work and are proud to be stepping up for hardworking families and making a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers. We won't stop until every New Yorker is paid the fair wages they deserve."

The launch of the public education campaign includes TV, digital, radio, and subway ads. The campaign reminds New Yorkers that all minimum wage workers across the state will receive a raise on December 31, and educates them about the steps they should take if they do not receive their raises. PSA video that will air on television is available here, and video for digital platforms is available here.

The New York State Department of Labor has established a hotline (1-888-4-NYSDOL) where minimum wage workers can call to report any employers who do not comply with the phase-in schedule.

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$15 Minimum Wage Phase-in

The $15 minimum wage legislation was passed as part of the 2016-17 state budget, and marked a major accomplishment in the Governor's efforts to restore economic justice and fairness to working families in New York State. The phase-in schedule on a regional basis is as follows:

  • · For workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), the minimum wage rose to $11 at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2018.

  • · For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (those with 10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage rose to $10.50 at the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after, reaching $13.50 on 12/31/2018, rising to $15 on 12/31/2019.

  • · For workers in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage increased to $10 at the end of 2016, then $1 each year after, reaching $12 on 12/31/2018, rising to $15 on 12/31/2021.

  • · For workers in the rest of the state, the minimum wage increased to $9.70 at the end of 2016, then another .70 each year after, rising to $11.10 on 12/31/18, reaching $12.50 on 12/31/2020 - after which the minimum wage will continue to increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor.

More information is available at www.ny.gov/minimumwage

MH: ACA Repeal Wouldn't Stop Transition to Value-Based Payment

ACA Repeal Wouldn't Stop Transition to Value-Based Payment, Efforts to Lower Drug Spending

Even if the Affordable Care Act is ultimately deemed unconstitutional, stakeholders wouldn't allow the momentum surrounding value-based care models and biosimilars to stall, experts and provider groups said.

By Alex Kacik and Maria Castellucci  Modern Healthcare December 19, 2018

A Texas federal judge ruled last week that the Affordable Care Act couldn't stand without the individual mandate, rendering the entire law unconstitutional. The decision is likely to weave its way up to the Supreme Court. If the decision is upheld, it has the potential to upend efforts to bolster value-based care models instituted under the ACA as well as the pathway for biosimilar drugs.

While many didn't see the latest ruling coming, policy experts don't expect U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor's decision to stand. Even if it does, the government, providers, insurers, drug manufacturers and other stakeholders will find a way to sustain these programs, industry observers said.

 

Providing Preventive Care

The ACA has significantly reduced the number of uninsured, cutting the national uninsured rate from more than 13% to around 8.8%, according to Moody's Investors Services.

Rolling back the law could strip coverage from millions of people, which would translate to more emergency and acute care and less preventive measures. It would also eliminate subsidies on health exchanges, which could make insurance unaffordable for the 8 million to 9 million people who currently receive them.

Providers' balance sheets would suffer as those that currently receive insurance under expanded Medicaid programs would likely become bad debt or charity, analysts said. This could limit their ability to expand access and provide financial assistance and community outreach.

"The ACA is something to work with and something we can improve upon. To throw the whole thing out hard would make it hard for us to pivot the Titanic on a dime," said Dr. Allison Suttle, Sanford Health's chief medical officer. "It is frustrating when we have invested a lot to move down this track."

When people don't have insurance coverage, it's harder to keep people healthy, Suttle said.

Suttle's boss went into the office to get a flu shot recently and saw her dad sitting there. He wasn't sick, but a Sanford health coach reached out to him and reminded him to have his A1C levels checked.

"We are not paid to do that—there is no CPT code for that," Suttle said. "We are finding gaps in care so we can keep patient healthy so they don't have to come into the ER with high blood sugar. It's that type of preventive care we can do when people are covered. It changes the paradigm of how we care for patients."

Sanford health coaches work in tandem with behavioral healthcare workers who screen for depression and other mental health issues. Identifying those issues allows Sanford to better manage chronic diseases, Suttle said.

Insurance coverage facilitates colonoscopy and mammography screenings that can detect early stages of cancer.

"Coverage is key," she said. "To throw the whole thing out just because one part of it was removed could be devastating. It could have huge implications to a complex large health system that has already been making these moves."

Providers have also invested in the infrastructure, technology and staff to facilitate new payment models like accountable care organizations, bundled payments and Medicare shared savings.

"To just throw that out seems very unlikely," said Fred Geilfuss, a partner with the law firm Foley & Lardner. "There would be a lot of people who are motivated to figure out a way to continue that momentum."

AMGA, a trade association that represents physician groups, doesn't expect its members to cease its work on value-based payment if the ACA were repealed, especially in regards to ACOs. Chet Speed, the AMGA's vice president for public policy, said physician practices have invested millions of dollars to get their ACOs up and running.

"They won't have the financial incentives but once you have created these programs internally, you have invested so much money and time and change management, to unwind it would make no sense," Speed said.

Although he said ACOs would have a hard time continuing their relationships with physicians and hospitals if the ACA were repealed. Waivers have been applied to the Stark Law so physicians and hospitals can have financial relationships. Those protections would go away if the ACA went away.

However, commercial payers have also begun their own ACOs, which will likely continue even without the ACA, said Don Crane, CEO of America's Physician Groups, which represents more than 300 medical groups and independent practice associations.

"Their customers, purchasers and employers want to see value in the commercial marketplace, they want to see ACOs, they want measures that bring value. That is what's driving health plans, meeting the demands of their customers," he said.

Clare Pierce-Wrobel, senior director of the Health Care Transformation Task Force, said that ACA repeal may invigorate the commercial payers to lead the charge on the value-based movement.

"Commercial payers aren't dependent on the provisions of the ACA and continue to move forward with ACOs and bundled contracts," she said. "I don't see the momentum fading for the private sector at this point."


Value Over Volume

The current administration has also been pushing alternative payment models, so it would be hard to imagine that the government wouldn't find a workaround, Geilfuss said.

"We have seen the big commercial players solidify these models and expand utilization," he said. "There is a lot of momentum so it's hard to imagine the government wouldn't resurrect them in some fashion even if the ACA is completely tossed."

In an email obtained by Modern Healthcare to providers on Sunday, the CMS suggested the administration will remain focused on its efforts around value-based payment despite the federal judge's ACA ruling. The Innovation Center, which allows the CMS to test new payment models without statutory limitations, would be eliminated if the ACA were repealed.

According to the email, the CMS said, "The recent federal court decision is still moving through the courts and the work of the Innovation Center will continue unchanged. We remain committed to our current and future models as well as our focus on better health outcomes at lower cost."

While the adoption of these new payment models, particularly ones that include downside risk, has been slow, they have proven to at least moderately slow government healthcare spending.

The movement to value-based payment benefits from bipartisan support, said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

"I don't think anyone has an appetite to go back to where we were eight years ago," Jha said.

In the unlikely event the ACA is repealed, Jha said he imagines Congress would enact legislation to continue popular programs that have proven to be relatively successful like the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The repeal would also likely encourage an evaluation of programs that have been more controversial and haven't been as obviously successful like the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.

The repeal of the ACA does nothing to MACRA, which passed with bipartisan support in 2015. Physicians still need to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or an advanced alternative payment model, both of which tie performance to financial incentives.

"I think a big pillar under the value movement would be knocked out if the ACA goes away, and I think chaos would ensue, but the underpinning of the value movement lies mostly in MACRA," Crane at America's Physicians Groups said.

While Sanford isn't making any changes in the short-term, the looming uncertainty around the ACA is in the back of everyone's mind, Suttle said.

If the health system has to do more emergency care for people who don't have insurance coverage, it couldn't invest in exploratory treatments like using stem cells to repair rotator cuffs, she said. It would limit their ability to pursue new technology and hire more clinicians to increase access to care, along with a range of other endeavors.

"It is absolutely in the back of our mind," Suttle said. "We have to run a tight ship. The stroke of a pen could have dramatic impacts on how we can survive and provide high-quality care."

Today at Noon: Engagement, Recovery Supports for People Experiencing Homelessness BRSS TACS Live Event

NYAPRS Note: Don’t miss this very timely live event and lineup that includes NYAPRS Co-President Jeff McQueen.

BRSS TACS December Recovery LIVE! (Dec 27, 12-1 pm ET)

Treatment Engagement Using Recovery Supports for People Experiencing Homelessness

Join a free, interactive Recovery LIVE! virtual event on Thursday, December 27 from 12-1 pm ET. SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) invites you to be part of this conversation about evidence-based practices and trends for delivering outreach, engagement, follow-up, and warm handoffs for people with serious mental illness or substance use disorders who experience homelessness. 

Presenters include Dr. Rolli Oden, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless; Jeff McQueen, Mental Health Association of Nassau County; and LaKeesha Dumas, Office of Consumer Engagement of Multnomah County. Bring your questions and register today!

The Costly Price of Benefits' for WNY/CNY Provider: Join the NeC-ATTC/NYAPRS Learning Collaborative

NYAPRS Note: The following comes from NYAPRS’ Len Statham: “Our friends at the Northeast & Caribbean Addiction Technology Transfer Center (NeC-ATTC) in partnership with NYAPRS will be offering a Learning Collaborative on the subject of poverty and employment.  This ATTC-NYAPRS “Costly Price of Benefits” Learning Collaborative will focus on employment as the “therapeutic intervention” in helping people recover from mental illness/substance use. Organizations from the Central and Western NY region are encouraged to apply for this free intensive training and Technical assistance.”

Join the NeC-ATTC/NYAPRS Learning Collaborative:

The Costly Price of Benefits

The Northeast & Caribbean Addiction Technology Transfer Center (NeC-ATTC) and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) is pleased to announce the 2019 Costly Price of Benefits Learning Collaborative, a free, training and intensive technical assistance opportunity.  Up to eight (8) Behavioral health and Substance Use organizations located in Western/Central New York will be selected to receive face-to-face training, individual onsite consultation, and web-based implementation support.

Overview: The intersection between poverty and disability runs throughout all domains of one’s life. While the traditional course of action in treating mental illness and substance use has been medically-based, and more recently recovery-based, little attention has been paid to the effects that living on public benefits has on one’s mental health. This ATTC-NYAPRS “Costly Price of Benefits” Learning Collaborative will focus on employment as the “therapeutic intervention” in helping people recover from mental illness/substance use. Using this curriculum, organizations will learn how to effectively embed employment into the very fabric of their organizational culture.

Overall Objectives: Learning Collaborative participants will be able to:

  • Become familiar and adept at teaching the “Costly Price of Benefits” curriculum

  • Integrate curriculum into employment and  individualized recovery treatment plans

  • Identify action steps for implementation to support an employment-centric culture

  • Demonstrate your organization’s ability to support participants’ and measure their individual progress and outcomes in using the curriculum

  • Use the curriculum to change the narrative of the culture of your organization

Kick-off Training Sessions – January 28 & 30, 2019 (sessions to take place at the Buffalo Central Library)

This is organized as one-day, in-person, training sessions. This will introduce the “Costly Price of Benefits” curriculum to participants and provide the skills necessary to teach and use the curriculum effectively with clients. Providers need only attend one of these sessions and will be responsible for travel expenses incurred.

ECHO/Zoom Sessions - March – June 2019

ECHO webinars will be delivered via video-conference (i.e. Zoom software) in four parts and will be accessible to all who participate in the kick-off session. These ECHO webinars will adhere to the following agenda: 

  • Module 1 – Operationalizing the curriculum; case study

  • Module 2 – Case study on activating individuals toward employment

  • Module 3 – Case studies presented by organizations on barriers faced

  • Module 4 – Case study related to benefit issues effecting clients

On-Site Follow-up Technical Assistance - February – July 2019

NYAPRS will deliver individual on-site TA sessions twice a month for 1-2 hours each session that will focus on assisting agencies to operationalize and implement the curriculum into their respect treatment settings.

For more information and to learn how to formally apply to participate in this initiative contact:

Len Statham, NYAPRS at (585)490-3979 or lens@nyaprs.org

Strengthening Service Coordination for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness Expert Panel Report

NYAPRS Note: Attached please find the final report from the “Strengthening Service Coordination for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness Expert Panel” that was recently held in Rockville on August 28, 2018 and convened by SAMHSA and their partners at the Administration for Community Living

Here’s a summary of findings from the Recommendations Facilitator Recap:

Understand and manage older adult behavioral health needs and use Connecticut's behavioral health asset mapping study and methodology as a model. 

  1. Systems are fragmented and historically have not needed to work together. They have different goals in mind.  Like working in corrections whose goal is public safety and working in mental health whose goal is individual behavioral health wellness. There is a need to move towards a more integrated treatment system.

  2. The workforce is underdeveloped and inadequate, especially since 5 percent of SMI is late onset.

    1. Provide training and methodologies for reimbursement to fund service delivery, because it's underfunded now.

    2. Develop specialists who are available across systems to address specific issues and, number three, use of peers and caregivers, development of peers and caregivers.

  3. Build peer and family expertise. 

  4. Build mental health screening into various systems. Identify a single way to assess across systems, use the same instrument, and let us all understand what that instrument means, all the workers and family members.

  5. Build technology and use more technology.

  6. Improve epidemiology about population strength.

  7. Move from a symptom/deficit system of describing individuals to a strengths-based system.

  8. Develop a co-occurring treatment system for older adults.

  9. Better expertise for prescribing practices for psychopharmacology.

  10. The expansion of federal funding.

  11. Review how things are funded under Medicare.

  12. Pay attention to the waiver programs; review funding opportunities and understand them better.

  13. Train peers in Illness Management and Recovery

  14. Advocate and educate for cultural intelligence.

  15. Support and fund evidence-based clinical interventions and community-based programs.

Openings Available for NYAPRS Jan 16 Capital District Regional New Hire Orientation

NYAPRS Note: NYAPRS is very pleased to provide details of an additional session in the Hudson River Valley region of our Regional New Hire Orientations.

Do you have new staff and don’t have the resources to train them in recovery and person-centered trauma informed practices?

Please contact NYAPRS Collective director Ruth Colon Wagner at ruthcw@nyaprs.org or our NYAPRS regional trainers:

·         New York City/Long Island: Larry Hochwald at larryh@nyaprs.org

·         Hudson River Valley: Perryn Dutiger at perrynd@nyaprs.org

·         Western/Central NY: Rob Statham at robs@nyaprs.org

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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