As we continue the budget review,  there are several additional pieces that we were pleased to see in the proposed budget.

Among them include:

Funding for the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center:
We were pleased to see the Governor’s continued commitment to mental health education in schools through $500,000 in funding for the  Resource and Training Center.  The funding will be utilized to continue the work to educate teachers, administrators, students and other school personnel about the inclusion of mental health education in schools and helping to promote school climates that are conducive to mental health and wellness

Funding for a Master Teacher Program:
There is $1.5 million allocated in the budget for the Master Teachers Program. The program would create a corps of outstanding teachers and counselors in order to improve the quality of instruction and counseling at public schools and establish mental health professional learning communities throughout New York State.  This also provides a great opportunity to work with stakeholders to help embed Trauma Informed Care into school settings. 

Behavioral Health Parity:
The FY 2021 Executive Budget establishes the Behavioral Health Parity Compliance Fund for the collection of penalties imposed on insurance carriers who violate New York’s Behavioral Health Parity laws, which will be used to support the Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Ombudsman program. Additionally, the State will strengthen compliance with the Behavioral Health Parity provisions set forth in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget through the release of State regulations by October 2020.  

Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Ombudsman Program:
The Executive Budget continues $1.5 million in funding to support the behavioral health ombudsman program, which helps individuals and their families navigate the behavioral health care system to ensure people have access to necessary care and services, and helps resolve issues when care has been delayed or denied. The Executive Budget also provides authority to utilize up to $1.5 million in funds received in the newly established Behavioral Health Parity Compliance Fund.

MHANYS strongly endorses both the Parity Compliance Fund and the Ombuds program. We are very supportive of initiatives that insure compliance with parity and enhancing the important role of the Ombuds program.

Medicaid Redesign Team Part II:
The Governor has called for the implementation of a Medicaid Redesign Team II that will be instructed to identify strategies to eliminate the $2 billion  Medicaid budget deficit.  As the Governor is working to appoint the MRT team, it is incumbent that the voice of stakeholders in the disability field are part of the MRT.