OMH Plan for Some Federal Funds

September 13, 2021

During last week’s NYS Council Public Policy call (Thursday mornings from 9:15-10:00) I discussed information I had received regarding the way in which SOMH intends to disburse some of the federal funds coming to NYS for the Office via the American Rescue Act, to include enhanced FMAP funds (eFMAP) as well as additional Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funds.

In this instance, federal enhanced FMAP funds are limited to initiatives related to OMH services under the federal Rehab option.  They include:

  • ACT
  • PROS
  • rehab services in the Community Residence Program
  • HCBS services
  • DoH kids services (CFTSS, etc.)

OMH intends to disburse $40M of eFMAP federal funds to update (increase) rates for ACT (adults), PROS, and Community Residences by at least 5% (this does not include previous commitments made inn the FY22 enacted budget or through administrative actions in either the children’s or adult systems of care).   The state is also committing to make these rate increases permanent.    The state hopes to load the rate changes in October and they are effective October 1.   The state must disburse the eFMAP money by 3/31/22.

OMH also intends to make workforce recruitment and retention dollars available to agencies that offer the programs and services listed (above) using a methodology that looks at your billing volume to calculate your portion of the funds.  You will be able to use these funds for a wide range of workforce needs. OMH will provide some guidelines as to allowable activities.

On the Block Grant side of things, OMH will use $20.9M to provide lump sum payments to eligible Outpatient Clinics and Community Support Programs  (CSP) to address workforce needs within a list of allowable activities that OMH says will be broad.  Providers with ‘substantial margins’ will not be eligible for these funds.  Ultimately providers will need to attest to use of the funds for allowable workforce activities.

OMH will preserve $4M of the total block grant funds to make grants to agencies to help them increase diversity in the agency workforce.   There is $12.5 million that is STATE only dollars going to assist with the implementation of CORE, and another $4M that will be disbursed through grants to expand the pool of credentialed peers and youth and family workers.

OMH officials have also noted they intend to develop a new credential for a Community Mental Health Worker (CMHW) title – someone who can assist in the provision of some services available through OMH programs and services.  This makes sense given all of the new money being earmarked in federal funding initiatives to develop and expand the availability of Community Health Workers who can back up and assist local public health efforts, and be available in future public health crises.

All of this information is subject to change until it is disbursed.