Health Association in New York State, Inc.
Friday Fax from Albany
BUDGET TALKS AND MHANYS’ ONLINE ADVOCACY: Legislative leaders here in Albany have been meeting for a few weeks, in public, to discuss the Governor’s 2005-06 Executive budget proposal. This marks the first time in nearly a decade that budget talks are happening in the public forum for all to see. In addition, the Minorty Leaders in both the Assembly and Senate have been invited to participate in these discussions.
While the public budget talks are a positive development, it appears that little in the way significant movement has been made as a result of these discussions. However, anticipated release dates of budget proposals from both the Senate and Assembly have now been made public. Members of the Senate plan to release their budget proposal on March 7th (the same day as MHANYS’ Legislative Conference) and Members of the Assembly plan to release their budget proposal on March 14th.
This means that there is still ample time to weigh in with your legislators to let them know what you think they should do about many of the components of Governor Pataki’s budget proposal as it relates to individuals with mental health needs. Throughout our budget discussions, we have talked about several of the positive aspects of the proposed budget. However, we continue to voice our concerns regarding many portions of the Governor’s proposal.
In order to help you weigh in with your legislators, MHANYS’ Online Advocacy allows you to send your legislators an e-mail, letting them know that they must reject the Governor’s proposal:
Please use MHANYS’ Online Advocacy to send your Senator and Assemblymember an e-mail on the Governor’s proposed budget - http://www.mhanys.org/policy/advbudget.htm - to urge them to reject proposals that would negatively impact individuals with mental health needs in New York.
If you’re unsure of who your Senator and/or Assemblymember are, simply enter your address in the Board of Elections search page at http://map01.elections.state.ny.us/boe/main.asp.
LEGISLATIVE DAY, MARCH 7th: MHANYS’ Legislative Conference is almost upon us. We continue to get a great response from the MHAs and our colleagues in the mental health community, and beyond. In addition, we have commitments from some of the top leaders in mental health including OMH Commissioner Sharon Carpinello and Assembly Mental Health Committee Chair, Peter Rivera. Many other legislators and state leaders will be in attendance as well.
Our official position papers will be out next week. Hard copies will be provided to everyone who attends the Conference and copies will also be available on our website, www.mhanys.org.
KENDRA’S LAW HEARINGS (from NYAPRS): Assembly Mental Health Committee Chairman Peter Rivera has announced that he will be holding the first of 3 public hearings on Kendra's Law on March 24, 2005 at 250 Broadway in New York City.
OMH ANNOUNCES PROS REGULATIONS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: The following PROS information found on the OMH website, details OMH’s draft PROS regulations and provides some insight into OMH’s plans to implement the first phase of PROS in seven counties.
Although there are varied opinions on the PROS initiative, there are some consistent themes that we will be voicing when we put our comments together. Among the themes we will include in our comments are:
From OMH website –
The Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding the regulations applicable to the Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) initiative will be published in the March 2, 2005 issue of the State Register to begin the formal 45 day public comment period. The link below will take you to the Regulations section of the OMH website where the Proposed PROS regulation is now available for review. Information regarding the submission of public comments is also provided. Please note that the final language is slightly revised from the version that appeared previously on this website. View Proposed Regulations (http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/policy/512pros.htm). (February 23, 2005)
The link below will take you to the section of the OMH website where the Draft PROS Handbook (January 20, 2005 draft) is now available for review. Please note that the draft handbook replaces the excerpts from the handbook that appeared previously on this website. Continue to check this website for additions and revisions to the Draft PROS Handbook. View Draft PROS Handbook (http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/pros/handbook.htm). (February 23, 2005)
reviewing the county PROS implementation plans, the Office of Mental Health
has decided to begin the implementation process with a modest initial
phase involving the following seven counties:
The scope of this initial implementation phase has taken into consideration OMH's ability to support successful program transitions to the new PROS license with intensive technical assistance. The seven counties were selected based on the following criteria:
A modest initial implementation effort is also anticipated in New York City. However, since the New York City PROS implementation plan is still under development, this effort will commence at a later date.
Preferred Drug Program Call-In Day:
|HOSPITAL||COUNTY||FEDERAL SHARE||STATE SHARE||TOTAL|
|Long Island Jewish||Queens||$700,000||$246,000||$946,000|
|New York Presbyterian||New York||$443,000||$155,000||$598,000|
|St. Luke-Roosevelt||New York||$830,000||$291,000||$1,121,000|
|North Shore University||Nassau||$56,000||$20,000||$76,000|
|SUNY - Stony Brook||Suffolk||$117,000||$41,000||$158,000|
Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center in Ramapo and St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers are among those that could be affected.
Pataki has called for cutting $2 million from a state Medicaid program that reimburses hospitals at a higher rate to operate structured day-treatment programs. The federal government pitches in an additional $6 million in matching funds.
"It doesn't seem to me to be very economically sensible to be losing 6 million bucks," said state Sen. Thomas Morahan, a fellow Republican, who opposes the program cuts. Morahan is chairman of the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Morahan, R-New City, said he would try to persuade fellow lawmakers to restore the funding to the facilities, which provide valuable services and treatment to society's most vulnerable citizens.
As it stands, Summit Park would lose more than $1.1 million — $298,000 from the state and $848,000 from the federal government. Only Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in the South Bronx would be hit harder, losing nearly $2.7 million.
The Rockland County Department of Mental Health operates two day-treatment programs through Summit Park. Last year, the two centers, at the Dr. Robert L. Yeager Health Complex in Ramapo and in Garnerville, served about 500 people, who made a total of 42,000 visits.
The program provides a host of services to people with mental-health diagnoses, such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, Mental Health Commissioner Mary Ann Walsh-Tozer said.
Clients receive medication, counseling and group therapy during five-hour visits.
Many of those who participate in the program have spent time in a psychiatric hospital. They come from once to six times a week.
"These programs provide a lot of supports ... to maximize their functioning and to live in the community," Walsh-Tozer said.
Because of the specialized nature of the therapy, the county receives $26 on top of the standard Medicaid rate, Walsh-Tozer said.
The additional $26 per client visit is what Pataki wants to cut.
Walsh-Tozer and deputy commissioner Janet Talley said they didn't know how the program would absorb the revenue loss.
Services might have to be eliminated, hours scaled back or the department might ask county taxpayers to make up the gap. No decisions will be made until the final state budget has been approved.
Rena Finkelstein, co-president of NAMI-FAMILYA, the Rockland affiliate of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, said cuts or changes in services could have a worrying effect on the mentally ill.
"It's terribly disruptive in the lives of individuals whose lives sometimes are already chaotic," Finkelstein said. "Many of them depend on these programs."
A spokeswoman for St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers did not have specific details of how, if at all, its mental-health programs might be affected by the proposed cuts.
St. Joseph's is at risk of losing $84,000, the second-lowest amount among the 10 hospitals.
next time, we remain,
Working to ensure available and accessible
mental health services for all New Yorkers