Yesterday, was the annual Assembly and Senate Budget Hearing on Mental Hygiene. Here is MHANYS’ Budget Testimony for 2016.

 At MHANYS, we have always carried a lot of issues both budget specific and more globally as well. We spent a lot of our time yesterday, along with our partners at NYAPRS, in highlighting the need for a $90 million investment in community mental health, arguing that we have long faced rising costs and minimal increases in funding. This is also a time of the ‘perfect storm’ when, on top of all the existing challenges, we are facing all the new challenges that lie ahead with Medicaid Managed Care Preparedness. MHANYS and NYAPRS also identified $70 million where funding in this year’s proposed budget substituted existing funding for BIP dollars for Medicaid preparedness and bonding dollars for Medicaid in supportive housing. Also, in the case of Reinvestment, there was a $5.5 million shortfall. This is all adds up to $70 million which will be a good start in the investment to Mental Health.

 

We also highlighted the need for a State recognition for funding for the minimum wage for the mental health workforce, the need to pay for the base of existing housing cost, Expansion of the Medication Grant Card for Individuals Released from Jails and Prisons, funding for Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Prevention, Geriatric Mental Health, Veterans Mental Health, Crisis Intervention Teams Adult Home Advocacy, and significantly expand the Medications on the formulary to add to ‘Prescriber Prevails”

 

Our Legislative request are led by our call for mental health education in schools as well as legislation regarding Mental Health First Aid for teachers, Elimination of Step Therapy, Elimination of discriminatory language against people with mental illness in termination proceeding and Justice Center engagement for Adult Homes with under eighty beds.

 

We also acknowledged some of the positive things in the budget including the investment in children’s mental health, continued investment in Medicaid Preparedness and the State’s policy and financial commitment to the homeless crisis in New York.

 

We also thanked the Legislature again for the strong symbolic and fiscal victory of the Mental Health Tax Check Off. This is landmark legislation—the first of its kind in the nation and it would never have happened without the legislative leadership of Assemblymember Gunther, Senators Ortt and Carlucci and both legislative bodies.

 

If you would like to sign on and endorse our campaign for a $90 Million Investment in Mental Health in the community than contact either me at gliebman@mhanys.org or Harvey Rosenthal at HarveyR@nyaprs.org

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