Enclosed is a checklist on the status of some major budget issues.

This year the ‘table target’ for mental hygiene is $35 million dollars.
While everyone agrees it is not enough, it is more funding for the mental
hygiene table then has been received in many years. Because this funding is
inclusive of OMH, OASAS and OPWDD, the funding is generally split among the
three sectors. However, one of the reasons for the increase this year is
around opioid prevention and early intervention. Later today, there will
be budget meetings to further clarify where the proposed funding is being
allocated.

The three major budget issues for us this session have been around
Workforce, School Mental Health and Housing.

Workforce

The Issue:

The Senate’s one house bill included language that would provide a 3.25%
increase for mental hygiene for the direct care and clinical workforce.
Existing funding in this year’s budget would pay for the 3.25 percent
increase that has been scheduled for April 1 of this year.

The one house proposal language would continue the possibility of funding
in future years. The reality is that this does not mean in future years the
workforce will be funded. Language could be ‘not withstood’ like the COLA
has been for the past decade. However, as proven by BFair and mobilization
of the behavioral health sector, there is a groundswell of support that is
not going away as long as there continues to be an underpaid and
undertrained workforce in our community. We look at this as language that
will help create a ‘pathway’ for funding for future years.

Status:

Through your advocacy and that of others in our community, the Assembly is
working hard to include this language as well. Thanks to the many of you
who took the time to call yesterday. Your calls really matter.

We should find out later today if the Assembly and Senate agree to the same
language and it will hopefully be an integral part of the final negotiation
with the Executive. Stay tuned

School Mental Health Resource and Training Center

The Issue:

In response to the operationalized needs of implementation of the Mental
Health in Schools Legislation on July 1, MHANYS has a proposal to create a
Mental Health Resource and Training Center to respond to the needs of
schools.

While many schools have and continue to do a terrific job in teaching about
mental health in schools, many have not even talked about the issue in the
past. Through the leadership of SED in conjunction with MHANYS, there was
creation of a Mental Health Advisory Committee to create guidance documents
for schools. This will be very helpful but additional resources will be
necessary as well.

MHANYS proposal would provide phone and web-based information and referral
services, updated information, consultation with individual school
districts and professional development. An advisory group would be created
that would include leadership from the education and mental health
community.

Status:

The Senate, Assembly and Executive all have proposed funding for schools
related to mental health. They are all worthy proposals but none of them
are specifically tied to the new legislation. We are making the argument
that it would make sense, given the timing of this legislation, to link the
two together and provide funding for a resource center that will impact
thousands of young lives. We are continuing to advocate for this proposal
and with the addition of funding in the table targets, we are urging the
Legislature and Executive to fund this proposal.

Housing

The Issue:

In this year’s Executive Budget, the Governor included ten million
additional dollars to help enhance the rate for existing housing providers
in mental health. The Senate added an additional five million dollars in
their one house bill. The Bring It Home campaign continues to raise the
visibility of this issue and is advocating for additional funding in the
budget for housing. Many MHA members who provide housing have barely been
able to keep up with the cost of operating residential programs given the
lack of increased funding for housing over the years. This concerted effort
by the entire community will hopefully continue to raise the issue and
increase funding

Status:

Yesterday, the Bring It Home campaign held a rally in which we distributed
thousands of letters from the community to the state’s leadership including
the Governor and the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader. There has
been increased media attention about this as well. We will hopefully get a
better sense today about any increases in housing.

Other Updates

Though those have been our three largest budget issues, we continue to
support other areas of great need including Prescriber Prevails Language,
Veterans’ Mental Health, Social Work Licensure, Children’s Mental Health,
Fighting proposed cut to Health Homes, Adult Home Resident PNA increases,
Crisis Intervention Teams, HALT Legislation, Mental Health First Aid,
Geriatric Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Problem Gambling and other
significant issues.

Glenn Liebman, CEO