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Health Care Enhancements for Direct Care Staff in
Mental Health Added to the Budget as well as
funding for Veterans Trainings and Mental Health
night, the New York State Legislature passed the State Budget. It
is still to be signed by Governor Paterson but since he was involved
in the negotiations, it is unlikely that he would veto parts of
of last week, it appeared that many of the legislative priorities
of MHANYS and other organizations did not make it into the budget.
However, over the last few days there was funding added to the budget
for Health Care Enhancements ($300,000) and $250,000 added for funding
of Veterans Mental Heath Issues.
are very appreciative of the legislature’s recognition of
the issues of Health Care Enhancements for direct care staffs in
mental health programs. This has been one of the priority issues
for MHANYS in this year’s budget. Senator Thomas Morahan,
the Senate Mental Hygiene Chair, was a real leader and champion
on this issue and worked hard to insure that it was added to the
Mental Hygiene Chair, Peter Rivera also played a significant role
on inclusions of health care enhancements in the budget.
also are very appreciative of the legislative staffs in playing
important roles in highlighting the issues of recruitment and retention
of direct care staff in mental health programs.
would also like to thank our members and the advocacy groups who
continue to support the enhancements. Jeff Wise, the Executive Director
of the New York State Rehabilitation Association, has played an
important role in pointing out the impact to his members of the
high turnover rates in mental health programs. David Nemiroff, the
Executive Director of the Nassau County MHA, was incredibly helpful
in discussing his past experience in working at a major OMRDD provider
agency and how the impact of the health care enhancements, in his
former agency, served as an important incentive in retaining quality
all know that $300,000 will not implement health care enhancements
across the New York. However, we also know that there are several
positive pieces that come from the funding of the enhancements.
It was the biggest statewide legislative addition in mental health
in this year’s budget. That says that the Legislature clearly
regards this as a priority issue and will be very vested in the
successful long term implementation of health care enhancements
It is the first time that health care enhancements have ever been
added to the mental health budget. This provides the beginning
of the precedent for future funding in the Executive Budget. The
state’s continued commitment to the COLA combined with hoped
for future funding of enhancements will help in creation of a
As we move to an implementation stage, it will help continue to
forge the discussion at the Governor’s Office, OMH and the
Division of the Budget about the effectiveness of providing enhancements
to provider agencies and increasing efforts to incentivize a quality
community based workforce
is an issue that will not go away. Our consistent mantra has been
that you can’t run quality programs without quality staff.
The recognition of the enhancements are just a start on what we
hope will be a long term commitment from our partners in and out
of state government to identify long range plans to keep and recruit
very much look forward to being part of the implementation phase
discussion of enhancements and how it will assist in retaining a
strong work force in community based mental health programs.
issues of PTSD and veterans have been discussed in great detail
in the media in recent months. MHANYS Deputy Director Helena Davis
has been very involved in working with veterans groups and development
of trauma based trainings. Thanks largely to the work of our colleagues
at NASW—NY, there will be additional funding in the budget
($250,000) to develop and implement statewide trainings for mental
health professionals on issues of veterans and trauma.
addition as we mentioned last week, the other positive additions
to the budget was that the legislature was able to add anti-depressants
back into the mental health carve out for medications in the preferred
drug list. One of the most significant advocacy pieces of MHANYS
is the over arching need for medication accessibility.
the advocacy agenda that was not funded this year included geriatric
mental health, employment for people with psychiatric disabilities
and funding for youth in transition with psychiatric disabilities.
All are major priorities we will continue to work with our colleagues
in the advocacy community to see them come to fruition. We were
also disappointed that there was not additional funding for Child
Health Plus and Family Health Plus in the budget for Timothy’s
Law. Timothy’s Law has been an incredibly effective tool in
dramatically transforming coverage of mental illness in insurance
plans but to have true equity, CHP and FHP must be covered in the
of Mental Health Budget Cuts
are still not clear about the impact of the administration budget
cuts to mental health this year. We have been assured by all the
major state policy makers that they would try to minimize the impact
to community mental health programs. The Paterson administration
has demonstrated this commitment by assuring the community that
the third year of the COLA will not be cut. In addition, there is
new language that makes the COLA 3.2% for this year, up from last
will keep you posted as we get additional information
Celebrates Mental Health Month with
May 1st, Spring Event
hope that you will be able to attend our May 1st Reception at the
State Room in Albany from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Our keynote speaker is
David Kaczynski. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Kaczynski,
he is a leading social rights activist. He is also the brother of
Ted Kaczynski, the so called Unabomber. For those of us who have
heard him speak, he provides folks with a very stirring message
about hope and forgiveness. We are honored that he is joining us
for the evening.
highlights of the event include great food (we have many testimonials
about that from last year’s event), lots of baskets to be
auctioned off and great company. In addition, you are helping a
very worthy cause.
information on registration on line, go to www.mhanys.org.
hope you will spend the evening with all of us.
Budget Built on Borrowing, Fees: $121.7B
spending plan also depends on taxes and one-time revenues
Times Union, April 10, 2008
By James M. Odato
-- Lawmakers completed a $121.7 billion state budget Wednesday that
includes substantial borrowing and that budget critics say is precariously
balanced on one-time revenues and more than $1 billion in increased
taxes and fees.
budget raises spending 4.9 percent from the $116 billion spent last
Legislature and Gov. David Paterson agreed to split $1.28 billion
for big-ticket items that will likely be supported through bonds,
including $46 million for the proposed Advanced Micro Devices chip
fab in Malta.
of the new revenues close loopholes affecting businesses, but some
will hit consumers directly, such as a $1.25 increase on the per-pack
tax on cigarettes and $70 million more in assessments on health
said the budget is imperfect and spending habits will have to change
drastically, given the nation's faltering economy.
Anglin, his budget director, could not provide many details -- state
work force numbers, new debt estimates or the size of the budget
gap that will need to be filled next year. The state earlier pegged
it at $3.6 billion, according to an analysis by rating agency Standard
said not only will there be an imbalance in 2009-2010, a midyear
correction may force lawmakers back this year to cut programs, find
emergency revenues, or both.
a concern . . . I'd rather be optimistic," said Senate Majority
Leader Joseph L. Bruno.
spending rises by $1.75 billion. Paterson agreed to strip tenure
requirements for certain education aid from the budget deal, saying
it wasn't fair to base job security on student test scores.
Speaker Sheldon Silver said Paterson did "an extraordinary
job leading us to this," given that the governor has been in
office just 23 days after Eliot Spitzer's resignation. The Legislature
did well, Silver said, to deliver a budget "only nine days
James Hayes, R-East Amherst, said the measure needed more paring.
"The money is simply not there," he said, predicting "a
crushing blow that will come later."
budget includes $200 million for community projects for the Senate
and Assembly, and for Paterson using unused "member item"
funds from past years rather than new money, said Anglin. She said
it isn't feasible to ask the Legislature to reprogram such discretionary
funds for more essential needs.
a result, the final budget bills are laden with member items for
such things as Little Leagues, gay and lesbian organizations, food
pantries, circuses and ethnic programs.
and bigger member items are is possible: The capital budget includes
$350 million for the majority conferences of each chamber to use
for economic development.
identified some his projects, such as $25 million for the University
of Rochester's Clinical and Transitional Science Building and $15
million for the developing Marcy NanoCenter. The Senate did not
produce a list.
did tease that an international business will be moving its operations
to the Capital Region.
said he will hold off on spending his $585 million, but ruled out
using it on "pork." Much of his money is already committed
under projects announced by Spitzer.
of it also is wrapped up in a huge deal set up by Gov. George Pataki
in 2006 for Advanced Micro Devices. The new budget calls for $45
million to fix up Luther Forest Technology Campus with infrastructure
upgrades and $1 million for the economic development corporation
that runs the campus.
said the money supplements the $1.2 billion in Pataki-era incentives
to lure AMD. The financially ailing chip manufacturing company proposes
a $3.2 billion plant at the Luther Forest site.
said some of the Senate capital will be for GE Healthcare's move
to North Greenbush, for which $10 million is committed.
$200 million is earmarked for affordable housing programs and $40
million is set up for grants to the agriculture industry. The sums
are less than Spitzer proposed.
Spitzer's $1 billion upstate revitalization initiative was shrunk
to a $700 million program.
support the budget, one-time revenues known as "one shots"
are included in $1.52 billion in new funds. It assumes $250 million
from a vendor willing to pay for develop Aqueduct racetrack and
run video gaming there.