NYS Council Testifies at Assembly Workforce Hearing 11/9/21

November 10, 2021

Yesterday mental health advocates and several provider organization CEOs testified before the Assembly Mental Health Committee on the topic of the MH Workforce.  The hearing began with testimony offered by OMH Executive Deputy Commissioner Moira Tashjian and OMH CFO Emil Slane, followed by questions from lawmakers to the state agency leads.

Great thanks are due to Anne Constantino, CEO of Horizon Health Services, and Bill Gettman, CEO at Northern Rivers for sharing the picture of the current situation for providers around the state as they struggle to keep their doors open amidst the most severe workforce shortages any of us can recall.

If your agency has an excerpt from a staff exit interview that speaks to the profound stress staff are experiencing coupled with inadequate salaries and an inability to maintain a decent work-life balance due to the stress, please draft a letter with the excerpt/s and send it to your local Assembly or Senate representative.  We need to arm our local lawmakers with these examples so they can speak to the situation in their local communities where waitlists are increasing and care is being reduced due to workforce shortages.

I’ve attached NYS Council written testimony as well as my notes for the verbal testimony I presented.  Note:  The written testimony includes a bullet regarding NYS Justice Center policies and practices that have a chilling effect on our ability to recruit and retain valued staff, and cites the lack of due process rights afforded to our staff who are under investigation.

Below is a link to an great article that appears in today’s Albany Times Union regarding the hearing yesterday.