In August 2023, members of the NYS Council spent time fleshing out their 2024-2025 State Budget Priorities. These members include 130 organizations from across New York State that provide a range of mental health, substance use disorder / addiction prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction programs and services in a variety of settings including freestanding community-based agencies, counties, and general hospitals across the state, as well as federally qualified health centers.
There were six main areas of concern, most of which became the focus of a subsequent Member Survey to help us track the extent of the following long-standing issues:
- Workforce shortages up and down our organizations.
- Wait lists for care (statewide) in the OMH Article 31 and OASAS Article 32-Part 822 Outpatient Clinic system, and in the residential continuum of care.
- MCO failure to pay the correct rates in a timely manner, to appropriately adjudicate claims, and to comply with federal and state parity laws.
- State failure to adequately surveil, monitor and enforce the laws and contract provisions that govern the carve-in of behavioral health services.
- Commercial rates that are deeply inadequate and create disparate access to care for New Yorkers with commercial insurance benefits.
- Burdensome regulations that are often duplicative and steal time from actual client care.
As a result of our budget discussions, we developed our 2024-2025 NYS Council Budget Priorities that include:
- COLA at CPI w/ re-establishment of statute linking COLA to CPI.
- Behavioral Health Workforce Investment of $500M in addition to expansion of Loan Repayment Programs and greater access for practitioners (e.g., social workers) working in our practice settings, and in the 1115 Waiver’s Career Pathways initiative.
- Carve out behavioral health services from Medicaid managed care.
- OMIG Audit Reform (S5329A/A6813).
- Regulatory Relief.
In September 2023, 60 agencies representing 47% of all NYS Council member agencies completed a 66-question survey circulated by the NYS Council. They did so out of an abundance of concern for their continued ability to provide access to timely services and to meet ever increasing demands for care by New Yorkers seeking assistance through the public mental hygiene system. To see the results from that survey, in addition to other resources that support our Budget Priorities, click here.
For more information about the NYS Council, please contact Lauri Cole, Executive Director at 518-461-8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.