Gov. Hochul’s Bold Plan for Mental Health:
Staffing Will Be a Key to Success

January 12, 2023

Rockefeller Institute discussing the Governor’s plan for reform of the MH and system, and the elephant in the room (staff!) below.

Rockefeller Institute of Government New Analysis

Governor Hochul’s Bold Plan for Mental Health: Staffing Will Be a Key to Success

In her second State of the State address, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed significant investments in mental health with the goal of “fixing the entire continuum of care that is necessary to keep people safe and happy.” Her proposals range from expanding insurance coverage for mental health services to increased capacity for inpatient psychiatric beds. The plan also includes an expansion of outpatient services, payment parity for telehealth, more wrap around services for people transitioning from one setting to another, and expanded school-based mental health services.

This holistic approach is commendable especially in light of the growing need for mental health services in recent years. A recent survey of psychologists reported increases in patients seeking treatment for anxiety, depression, and substance-related disorders compared with 2020. Caregivers reported an inability to meet the increased demand and that their patients were facing longer waitlists.

Although details for these proposals will likely emerge when the governor reveals her proposed budget in the coming weeks, it was noted that there will be an addition of 1,000 beds and an increase in reimbursement for mental health-related services. Specifically, the State of the State notes an investment of $27.5 million to support increased reimbursement for inpatient psychiatric services. Higher reimbursement will help underwrite the cost of care and therefore make the provision of such services more likely.

But, in addition to the bricks and mortar that create places for people to receive services, a key factor to the success of many of these initiatives will be the staff to provide those services.

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About the Rockefeller Institute of Government

The Rockefeller Institute of Government is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The Institute conducts cutting-edge research and analysis to inform lasting solutions to the problems facing New York State and the nation.