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Community Behavioral Healthcare

 
 
 
 

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GOVERNOR HOCHUL RELEASES EXECUTIVE BUDGET –
NUMEROUS PROPOSALS INCLUDED TO REFORM MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM BUT MORE FUNDING IS NEEDED

Governor Hochul’s executive budget includes a number of historic proposals that are intended to reform New York’s mental health system. We applaud her inspiring and hopeful vision. But, unless more funding is provided to the state’s network of mental health and substance abuse disorder agencies, her vision will not be realized because of the devastating workforce shortages and out of control expenses that continue to plague community-based providers. The budget’s proposed 2.5% COLA for mental health and substance use disorder agencies is just not enough.

The entire human services sector requested an 8.5% COLA. The NYS Council’s members—the state’s mental health and substance use disorder providers—continue to experience a devastating one-two punch. We are unable to recruit or retain staff due to inadequate salaries. This, coupled with skyrocketing expenses for basics such as utilities, food, gasoline, maintenance, and insurance, has left our agencies behind the eight ball. Our agencies are depleted and considering consolidation or closure at precisely the moment when we should be vastly expanding access to care across New York. Some of the Governor’s proposals intend to do just that, but we can’t make it happen without staff, or the ability to pay our bills.

The NYS Council is also concerned that the executive budget appears to rely heavily on Opioid Settlement funds to address the needs of New Yorkers with substance use disorder/addictions, and the agencies that serve them. New York should be making new investments in the substance use disorder continuum of care to address the needs of our local communities where opioid and other substance-related deaths of despair are devastating our local communities.

We look forward to working with the NYS Legislature as they develop their budgets, and we remain hopeful that the people who need our services will be able to receive them.

NYS COUNCIL ADVOCACY FEATURED IN
JAN 23 MENTAL HEALTH WEEKLY

The January 23 issue of Mental Health Weekly – a national newsletter for stakeholders and policy leaders from across the country – features a long article that focuses on the NYS Council’s work to compel the Executive to expand the CCBHC-Demonstration Program, as discussed in the Governor’s State of the State speech and the accompanying SOS Book. 
The article also includes information about the longstanding workforce crisis and the desperate need for significant and permanent rate increases for core services including but not limited to the OASAS and OMH Outpatient Clinic rates, and Mayor Adam’s recent plan to address NYC homelessness and the mental health issues experienced by some New Yorkers who are living on the streets. 
NYS COUNCIL CCBHC-DEMO ADVOCACY:
THE CASE FOR EXPANSION

The NYS Council thanks Governor Hochul for responding in her State of the State proposals to our request to expand the federal CCBHC Demo in NY from 13 to 39 CCBHCs.  The 13 clinics have produced extraordinary outcomes, reducing ED and inpatient usage by 20-30% for the people they serve. In addition, by participating in the demonstration, New York has received increased federal Medicaid revenue for every CCBHC visit.

The federal government is very supportive of states expanding the CCBHC Demonstration Program, to bring a far better model of behavioral healthcare to scale and do it while reducing the state’s spending on Medicaid. And recently, CMS agreed to allow states like NY that already participate in the federal demonstration program, to expand the number of agencies participating in the demo program.

Statewide expansion of the CCBHC Demo across New York can and should be viewed as a cost savings initiative. The bigger the expansion, the bigger the savings for NYS according to a recent Financial Analysis (LINK HERE) the NYS Council commissioned from Health Management Associates (HMA) where actuaries found that New York State experienced a significant return on its modest investment in the CCBHC Demonstration Program, and that vast expansion makes sense not only for the individuals we serve, but for New York State taxpayers as well.

NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL APPLAUDS GOVERNOR HOCHUL FOR STATE OF THE STATE PROPOSALS

The board of directors and members of the NYS Council are profoundly grateful to Governor Hochul for her strong prioritization and laser-like focus on the many unmet needs of New Yorkers living with mental health and/or substance use disorder conditions who all too often fall through cracks and gaps in our continuum of care.

We are particularly grateful to the Governor for highlighting the unmet needs of New York’s children and youth and their families who are currently unable to find mental health services. The Governor’s proposal to reduce by half the number of school-aged children in need of school-based mental health services is a critical reform that wisely invests in the wellbeing of children and youth who desperately need our support. And the state’s decision to significantly expand the number of community-based behavioral health agencies that can participate in an ongoing federal demonstration program, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Program is critically needed. This successful Program has improved the quality of care for New Yorkers with serious behavioral health conditions while simultaneously saving the state scarce resources in reductions of utilization of more acute levels of care. The Governor’s response to NYS Council advocacy to expand this evidence-based model of care is a win-win for all New Yorkers.
 
We also commend the Governor’s call to expand insurance coverage for mental health services and ensure that New Yorkers have real access to needed behavioral health care with new availability and accessibility standards for behavioral health services.

The NYS Council remains optimistic that the executive budget proposal will include a substantial COLA for the mental health and substance use disorder workforce, and the agencies who employ them.  The proposed expansion of services to meet the needs of New Yorkers who need care must be met with an accompanying strategy that significantly enhances our ability to recruit and retain the staff we need to meet the challenges ahead.

The NYS Council Analysis of the Financial Impact of New York’s CCBHC Demo Program is available online here.

We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and the State Legislature to make these bold proposals a reality in the final State Budget.

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