OMH Discussion Notes

February 2, 2021

Yesterday afternoon, mental health advocates met with OMH for a discussion of issues facing our field.  During the call, Dr. Tom Smith, OMH Medical Director, and other OMH leads briefed us regarding a new effort getting underway to enlist the support and services of OMH personnel to bring online a group of state facilities that will soon act as vaccination sites.

My rough notes are below:

Dr. Tom Smith, OMH Medical Director, reviewed planned rollout.     The question was whether OMH can step up and provide vaccines to voluntary provider system over time.  Means a significant increase in capacity and capabilities to vaccinate many more New Yorkers.

OMH has identified 8 Psych Centers to be major hubs to receive vaccine shipments each week.  They will soon create access to vaccines for (just an example) staff in Article 31 and 32s, Congregate Care clients, and they will be able to provide access to other populations as they become eligible.   Will also help to vaccinate OPWDD clients (in NYC only).

Plan:1) OMH working to build out an appointment scheduling portal
2) OMH will assist with provider organization scheduling for vaccines. If an organization/agency wants to work with state, personnel will provide linkages to new vaccine sites.

OMH will look at provider survey data every Monday and work off of this information, reaching out to agencies and areas of the state where the data reflects lower than normal vaccine penetration. This makes the information the state is collecting from providers regarding those staff and clients who have received the vaccine that much more important.   Trend information will go to state outreach teams who will contact agencies where data reveals  low vaccination rates.  State staff will work with provider agencies to schedule eligible clients and staff for vaccines at hub locations.  Ramp up will be quick.

What about the agencies that don’t have to fill out the COVID 19 Vaccine Survey?  OMH will work with these agencies to capture data to ensure they are considered for outreach and scheduling.

What about programs reporting this info via HERDS? Same – state will be contacting those agencies to ensure clients and staff connected with these programs and services are offered a vaccine.  Also, if an individual or agency would have to travel more than an hour to get to a vaccine site, state may be able to offer mobile vaccinations.

What about DoHMH city-contracted supported housing and congregate residences? Are they included in this effort?

OMH will get back to us on this.

End of notes

Please stand by for further details.  I am on the phone today seeking information for our NYC based member agencies.  More to follow.