Reference Materials for NYS Council Meeting
w/ SMD Brett Friedman on Tuesday 12/28

December 24, 2021

Good afternoon,

Thanks to so many NYS Council members who attended our Thursday morning Member Support and Public Policy call yesterday.  I hope you will agree we have an excellent agenda lined up for our NYS Council Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday 12/28 from 10-11:30, to include a discussion with our guest, Interim State Medicaid Director Brett R. Friedman.

During our call yesterday morning we agreed to focus our discussion with Brett on several specific NYS Council Executive Budget and Policy priorities (listed below in no particular order):

  1. Our request for the state to carve out behavioral health services from Medicaid managed care
  2. Our joint request for the Executive to include our Outpatient Rate Reform proposal in the upcoming executive budget proposal
  3. Our continuing request to prioritize the needs of New Yorkers with behavioral health conditions and the providers that serve them in any/all upcoming state policy reform efforts, to include the state’s soon-to-be-submitted 1115 waiver application to CMS, to include funds from the waiver to address our workforce shortages
  4. Telehealth Rate Parity:  Currently BH providers receive reimbursement for Medicaid tele health services on par with reimbursement for face to face care.  This is not the case in other areas of healthcare where the rates for tele health including services provided via use of audio-only modality, are not on par with the FTF rates.  Our mission is to ensure our rates remain equivalent to FTF rates.  We must keep the pressure up.

Note:  I have attached a total of 6 documents corresponding to our asks (listed above) for your review prior to the meeting on Tuesday. 

As always, I suggest we keep our focus on access to care and continuity of care in the face of:

  • historic increased demand for BH services across the state 
  • a decade long failure by NYS to invest in BH services with adequate rates and other critical investments to ensure access on demand and the availability of high quality care
  • workforce shortages that are crippling our ability to deliver on our promises to the individuals and communities we serve
  • the tragic and completely avoidable loss of life associated with the ongoing overdose epidemic and increased rates of suicide in certain populations

Note:  NYS Council budget requests listed above represent just a few of our ‘asks’. We picked these issues because we think they are most central to Brett’s ongoing work and his purview as State Medicaid Director.

I look forward to our Annual Meeting on Tuesday morning and I want to thank you for your participation in our discussion with Brett Friedman.

Happy holidays to all.  Please be well and stay safe!