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NYS COUNCIL QUOTED IN MENTAL HEALTH WEEKLY
REGARDING PARITY ENFORCEMENT

Lauri Cole, Executive Director of the NYS Council, recently had a conversation with journalists from Mental Health Weekly, a national publication focused on issues impacting the behavioral health field. The topic was federal and state parity enforcement.

The article was published in the August 1 issue of Mental Health Weekly, beginning on page 1, available online here.

 

GOVERNOR HOCHUL LAUNCHES HEALTH CARE WORKER BONUS PROGRAM

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of the Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus program. Enacted in the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State Budget, the program includes $1.3 billion allocated for the payment of recruitment and retention bonuses to certain health care and mental hygiene workers, a key initiative in the Governor’s aim to increase the state’s health care workforce by 20 percent over the next five years.

Bonuses will be awarded to eligible workers who make less than $125,000 annually and remain in their positions for at least six months. Disbursements will be commensurate with the number of hours worked and duration of service within designated vesting periods for up to a total of $3,000 per employee.

Additional details about the program are available online here.

BIDEN-⁠HARRIS ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES TWO NEW ACTIONS TO ADDRESS YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS

President Biden put forward in his first State of the Union a comprehensive national strategy to tackle our mental health crisis, and called for a major transformation in how mental health is understood, accessed, treated, and integrated – in and out of health care settings.

To build upon earlier investments and announcements designed to expand access to mental health services for youth and to further President Biden’s Unity Agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration announced two new actions to strengthen school-based mental health services and address the youth mental health crisis.

  1. Awarding the first of nearly $300 million the President secured through the FY2022 bipartisan omnibus agreement to expand access to mental health services in schools.
  2. Encouraging Governors to Invest More in School-Based Mental Health Services.

Additional details on these initiatives are available online here.

COVID EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS EXTENDED

Governor Hochul has extended the state’s COVID 19 emergency declaration through August 13. The Declaration requires the state to support municipalities and counties in their efforts to facilitate and administer COVID-19 vaccinations and tests and combat viral spread.

The state agencies have also continued to extend the Commissioner’s Emergency Waiver that extends many of the flexibilities OASAS and OMH Programs currently operate under. OMH extended its’ Emergency Waiver through October 4. OASAS extended its’ Waiver as well to October 18.

The federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) has been extended to October 15. The extension marks the continuation of several temporary authorities afforded under the PHE including continuous eligibility requirements, waivers of telehealth restrictions, and federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) increases, among other items.  For more information on the Medicare- and Medicaid-specific flexibilities afforded under the COVID-19 PHE, see this analysis.

 

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