As negotiations around a stimulus package break down in Washington, a group of behavioral advocates are urging support for additional revenues from New York State if necessary to prevent the devastating impact of the 20% withholds to behavioral health services ending up as cuts to our sector.

MHANYS strongly believes that everything should be on the table to avoid community cuts. Yesterday, our colleagues at NYAPRS sent out an update from a CDC survey stating that over 25% of young people have thought about taking their own lives because of COVID.  Incredible, just think that one in four of our youth have been in that much despair that they have thoughts of suicide. In addition, the increase in substance use, anxiety, depression and trauma are off the scales.

We have reached a perfect storm of need. To cut our services when most needed will have horrific outcomes for individuals and their families.  We would support any measure that would restore the withholds to behavioral health.

 


August 14, 2020
Media Contact: Cailin McKenna, 518-396-7787, cailin@gramcomm.com

Facing Funding Cuts, Lost Services, Increasing Homelessness and Layoffs,

Behavioral Health Advocates Agree Revenue Raisers Must Be Considered

ALBANY, NY – As New York struggles to deal with billions of dollars in revenue losses amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the federal government’s promise for additional COVID relief fades, behavioral health organizations announced today that they agree with elected officials that substantial additional revenue action will be necessary to prevent collapse of the community based behavioral health service delivery system.

Despite decades of progressive behavioral policies in New York, insufficient state aid and Medicaid rates have failed to sustainably fund those policies. Restrictive funding left providers with cash flow and lack of borrowing problems even before the full impact of the COVID crisis hit them. Now, with less than 6% of federal provider relief funds going toward Medicare and Medicaid behavioral health providers, withholding state funding has pushed the service delivery system to the brink of insolvency.

Given these circumstances, representatives of behavioral health organizations across New York have determined that long-term revenue generation is the only way the system will recover from the service declines and looming state revenue cuts. These organizations include the New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health, NAMI-NYS, New York State Care Management Coalition, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Mental Health Association in New York (MANYS), New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, The Coalition for Behavioral Health, the Supportive Housing Network of New York and Families Together in New York State. The advocacy community applauds the courage and willingness of state elected officials to say they might need to raise revenue to provide services and support necessary to get New York through the pandemic and economic downturn.

“We stand firmly in support of our providers, their employees and youth in our programs,” said Andrea Smyth, Executive Director of the NYS Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health. “We encourage consideration of whatever revenue actions are necessary to protect children who need behavioral health services so they and their families can meet basic needs and access supports and treatment and live their best lives.”

“We have engaged in vocal and continuous support for additional federal relief, but it doesn’t seem like it will arrive in time to avoid state budget cuts,” said Matthew Shapiro, Associate Director, Public Policy for NAMI-NYS. “Without federal support, New Yorkers need to develop their own rescue plans for behavioral health services.”

“Human services nonprofits in New York State employ nearly 800,000 individuals, yet as employers 39% of our organizations have less than three months of operating cash-on-hand,” said Jackie Negri, Director of NYS Care Management Coalition. “It is unreasonable to believe there is any ability to absorb any additional revenue losses without impacting our already stretched workforce, many of whom represent marginalized populations.”

“The urgent need to grow, not cut, behavioral health services was highlighted in new survey results released by the Centers Disease Control that found that 40% of those surveyed reported an increase in mental health and addiction related challenges, and one in four youth having contemplated suicide,” said Harvey Rosenthal, CEO of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

“To deal with billions of dollars in losses, New York’s budget leaders are managing cash by holding off on state worker’s 2% raises, withholding 20% of behavioral health local aid and waiving prompt payment requirements and penalties,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of MHANYS.  “We know those actions may preserve the state’s bond rating, but they are draining the state’s nonprofits sparse reserves.”

Yesterday, the Division of the Budget released the fiscal year 2021 First Quarterly State Budget Financial Plan.  The plan shows revenue and tax receipts declines the result in a projected $62 billion in lost revenue through 2024.

“Cuts to essential services mean more people will die from overdose”, said John Coppola, Executive Director of the NY Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers. “Spiking rates of addiction and overdose, creating a greater demand for services, will go unchecked if cuts are made.”

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