Early Budget Info & RFA for Social Care Networks

January 16, 2024

First, please see attached SFY 2025 Executive Budget Proposal Briefing Book.  This is the beginning of a slow release of budget documents that is likely to continue throughout the day.  None of the specific docs are posted as yet.  That information will be posted here:  https://www.budget.ny.gov

Next, attached please find a just released RFA related to the 1115 Waiver approval, for Social Care Networks!

Finally, here are highlights from the Budget Book that was released about an hour ago.  Please note:  In some instances, the Governor is calling out a continuing investment by the state, rather than adding new funds.  Also, you will recognize several proposals that are related to existing RFPs already on the street:

Mental Health Capital Investments. The Executive Budget continues to build on the Governor’s investments in expanding capacity to care for people with mental illness by funding an additional 200 new psychiatric inpatient beds. The funding covers 125 State-operated inpatient beds, including 15 for children and adolescents, 85 for adults, and 25 forensic; and 75 Transition to Home beds.  (Discussed in SOS.)

Invests $42.2 million to increase reimbursement for services provided in DOH-licensed facilities and private practices treating mental health conditions.

Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA). For the third consecutive year, Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget provides a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to voluntary operated providers of services for OPWDD, OMH, OASAS, Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), and the State Office for the Aging (SOFA). While other programs are flat or decreasing to stay within the State’s resources, these programs will receive 1.5 percent increases, which build on the 5.4 percent increase in FY 2023 and 4.0 percent increase in FY 2024, for a cumulative increase of more than $1.4 billion. For the mental hygiene agencies, the new COLA provides an additional $120.4 million ($195.8 million including federal matching funds) for OPWDD, MENTAL HYGIENE OMH and OASAS programs in FY 2025, and will provide fiscal relief to providers, enabling them to offer more competitive wages to their staff to address workforce recruitment and retention issues and better support the individuals they serve.

Minimum Wage. The Executive Budget invests an additional $57 million in State funds to support minimum wage increases, including indexing minimum wage to inflation, for staff at programs licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS.

Opioid Settlement Fund Investments. Since 2021, the State of New York has reached settlement agreements with and received payments from opioid manufacturers and distributors. Through these agreements, the State and local municipalities are expected to receive more than $2 billion through 2040. Over $480 million in payments related to those settlement agreements will have been deposited in the State’s Opioid Settlement Fund through FY 2025. These funds are being used to support addiction programming and services throughout the State. OASAS, as the lead agency and administrator of the fund, is collaborating with other State agencies including DOH and OMH to develop strategies and initiatives to provide individuals the care and support they need. The State is being guided by the Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board, which is charged with making recommendations on the allocation of these funds. The Board issued its annual report on November 1, 2023. 

Opioid Stewardship Investments. The FY 2023 Enacted Budget appropriated $200 million to invest monies owed to the State retroactive to 2017 and 2018, after the Opioid Stewardship Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Executive Budget reappropriates these funds, which are reduced to reflect lower than anticipated receipts. During FY 2025, OASAS will continue using Opioid Stewardship Funds, in collaboration with DOH, to pursue a number of harm reduction initiatives, including medication and treatment affordability programs, a grant program supporting 15 community-based harm reduction programs throughout the State, and the development of a harm reduction training program for personnel from law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, and the court system. 

Support Recovery Community Centers. The FY 2025 Executive Budget provides $5 million to support existing recovery community centers, which are currently funded by Federal grants expiring in October. These State resources will ensure that people have peer support from these programs that are proven effective in helping people start and sustain their recovery from addiction.   

Increase Support for Existing Residential Programs. The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes $43 million to increase stipends for over 17,000 OMH Supported Housing units to keep pace with rising property costs. This is consistent with the legislation enacted in the FY 2024 budget that extended property pass through provisions to include OMH’s non-licensed residential programs.

Ensure Access to Care through Workforce Initiatives. The FY 2025 Budget includes five new initiatives to address recruitment and retention in the mental health workforce. These initiatives aim to expand the mental health workforce through job marketing, the creation of a job bank, and the creation of a Behavioral Health Fellowship Program. The initiatives will meet the unique needs of rural communities by providing rural governments with funding to develop targeted workforce investments. OMH also will develop new avenues for credentialing mental health paraprofessionals to bolster recruitment and retention for the voluntary mental health workforce. 

Strengthen the 988 Crisis Hotline through Maternal Mental Health Training. The 988 Crisis Hotline, which was established in FY 2023 to connect individuals in crisis to a variety of community-based crisis intervention programs, will be increased by an additional $100,000 to create a specialized maternal mental health training program for providers. This investment will connect pregnant and postpartum New Yorkers to counselors properly trained to help navigate maternal mental health challenges. 

Expand Maternal Mental Health Training. The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes $1.5 million annually to expand Project TEACH (Training and Education for the Advancement of Children’s Health) through specialized support for mental health and substance use treatment for individuals during pregnancy and postpartum. This funding will enhance provider education, consultation, and awareness of mental health and substance use resources for: therapists; lactation consultants; Women, Infant and Children (WIC) staff; home visiting nurses; and other frontline practitioners working directly with the perinatal population. 

Establish Loan Forgiveness Program for Mental Health Clinicians Serving Children. Similar to the successful OMH loan forgiveness program, established by Governor Hochul in FY 2023, the FY 2025 Budget provides $4 million specifically for licensed mental health clinicians serving children and families in OMH and Office of Children and Family Services licensed settings. This is, essentially, a set aside. 

Youth ACT Teams. The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes $9.6 million to create 12 new youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams. ACT is an evidenced-based practice that offers treatment, rehabilitation, and support services, using a recovery-based approach, to individuals that have been diagnosed with serious mental illness. By FY 2027, the statewide total will increase from 30 to 42 specialized teams for children and youth. These additional youth teams will help address the needs of children who are at risk of needing, or returning home from, high end services. 

Peer-to-Peer Youth Programs. The FY 2025 Executive Budget continues the State’s commitment to peer-driven recovery models by expanding the reach of youth-driven and youth-centered programs. An annual investment of $2 million will expand peer-to-peer supports, including Teen Mental Health First Aid and safe spaces outside of the home and school where youth can meet with peers, provide support to each other, and utilize established connections to professionals and trained adults to better address mental health and wellness challenges.  

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). The Executive Budget will expand access to high-intensity services through $2.8 million invested annually to enhance PHP children’s services rates by 25 percent and develop several new PHP programs.

Specialized Children’s Community Residence Programming. The FY 2025 Executive Budget bolsters mental health services for children and families by investing $1 million annually to increase training and specialized programs focusing on children with welfare system involvement. Funding will support two programs in Children’s Community Residences in each OMH region to support reunification with families and build networks to mental health services.  

Provide Social Media Resources for Youth and Caregivers. The Office of Mental Health will develop materials to educate caregivers on the impacts of social media on youths and methods to monitor social media usage to reduce negative effects. This will help ensure a culture of digital safety in schools. 

Improve Mental Health Admission and Discharge Decisions by Hospitals. The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes $7 million in funding to expand surveillance and regulatory compliance activities within OMH licensed and unlicensed program settings, including hospital inpatient programs and Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs (CPEPs). OMH and DOH will also finalize regulations to codify the hospitals’ admission and discharge requirements for patients with behavioral health conditions. 

Expand Inpatient Bed Capacity. The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes funding to open another 125 State-operated inpatient psychiatric beds, including 15 for children and adolescents, 85 for adults, and 25 forensic; and 75 Transition to Home Unit (THU) beds in one State-operated and two community-based facilities. This additional capacity will help meet the increased need for mental health services across the State.  

Support Individuals with Mental Illness and Involved in the Criminal Justice System. The Executive Budget provides several additional supports for people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system, including establishing a team within OMH that will work with mental health courts and providers to ensure individuals are connected to the services they need. The budget also includes $6.2 million to provide mental health specialists and peers in mental health courts, $2.8 million to provide housing and supports to individuals with mental illness experiencing homelessness and/ or involved in the criminal justice system, and $9.6 million to enhance and expand specialized Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) teams to support individuals with serious mental illness in the community. 

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training. The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes $187,000 in funding to expand CIT Training. This will promote better outcomes when law enforcement responds to individuals with acute mental health needs, including decreasing the number of arrests and increasing connections to appropriate mental health services.