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Mental Health Update

July 1, 2021
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 7/1/21 – OMH Recommendations Regarding Block Grant and FMAP

The Federal stimulus funding and FMAP increase has provided OMH with a unique opportunity to identify over $126 million to be spent in the community.  There are of course caveats with that including the fact that this is one-time money and certain set asides are in place including those for crisis services.

Listed below is the recommendations put forward by OMH to how best to spend this funding.  This list is consistent with a lot of our advocacy which will help meet the needs of individuals in the community.  We will continue to advocate strongly on issues around workforce.  All of these initiative are all essential but we have a workforce crisis front and center that will dramatically impact our ability to meet the needs of individuals that our community serves.  Bonuses, hazard pay, loan forgiveness, tuition reimbursements, etc. should all the be on the table during this implementation phase.


Supplemental Block Grant and FMAP Opportunities

Recent federal legislation provides supplemental funding to mental health services through time-limited expansions of:

  • Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) Block Grant
  • Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) share of funds for Medicaid programs

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) will be working with community stakeholders to identify opportunities for these funds to best meet unmet prevention, treatment, and recovery needs for people with or at risk of serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance.

Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Supplements

OMH has received two notifications of awards for supplemental CMHS Block Grant funding totaling $126.3 million.

SAMHSA indicates that this funding should address unmet need and capacity growth with an emphasis on crisis services, and provided recommendations for funding utilization, including:

  • Children’s mental health including crisis service needs and school-based and school-reentry related supports
  • Operation of crisis lines to address mental health access, including 988 implementation, and expansion of telehealth opportunities
  • Training of staff and equipment and start up for mental health crisis response
  • Development of crisis stabilization teams
  • Expansion of outpatient access, including Assisted Outpatient Treatment services
  • Improve information technology infrastructure
  • Mental health awareness training
  • Enhanced outreach and peer support workforce investments
  • Prison and jail reentry and discharge from inpatient settings to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission
  • COVID-19 related expenses for SMI/SED populations

Federal Medical Assistance Percentage Rate Increase

Another source of federal relief includes opportunities for enhanced FMAP of 10% for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and rehabilitative services beginning April 1, 2021 and ending March 31, 2022. CMS provided general guidance regarding enhanced FMAP to State Medicaid Directors on May 13, 2021. OMH will provide more information as it becomes available.

Public Feedback

To ensure these resources are applied toward the areas of highest need under CMHS and CMS guidelines, OMH has and will continue to engage with stakeholders to allocate and track these funds.

In April 2021, OMH held a series of regional stakeholder feedback sessions to receive input on the allocation of this funding. The feedback received during these sessions, in addition to the written feedback received and other stakeholder input, will be used to develop plans for these funds as they become available.

Stakeholder Feedback Session Recordings

Hudson River Region – April 19, 2021
Long Island Region – April 20, 2021
New York City – April 26, 2021
Western New York Region – April 29, 2021
Central New York Region – April 30, 2021

Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Legislative Reports

OMH Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Supplementary Funding Report- July 1, 2021

More Information

CMHS Letter from SAMHSA to New York State Office of Mental Health – March 11, 2021
CMHS Response Letter from the New York State Office of Mental Health to SAMHSA – April 5, 2021
CMHS Response Letter from the New York State Office of Mental Health to SAMHSA – May 5, 2021
FMAP Letter from CMS to State Medicaid Directors – May 13, 2021
CMHS Letter from SAMHSA to New York State Office of Mental Health on American Rescue Plan Act Block Grant Guidance – May 18, 2021

Comments or questions about the information on this page can be directed to the Office of Planning.