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Mental Health Update

July 21, 2021
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 7/21/21 Review of Mental Health Workforce Funding in FMAP Proposal to CMS (Fund our Workforce through Recruitment and Retention Bonuses, Hazard Pay, Loan Forgiveness and Retirement Contributions)

As we have frequently mentioned since the passage of the State Budget in April, the New York State Office of Mental Health will be receiving an additional $125 million between increase in FMAP and the Federal Block Grant. Other State Agencies are also being provided with additional funding increases. For the FMAP piece, the New York State Department of Health had to submit a plan to CMS to identify priority areas in which this spending could be utilized. Please remember this is a proposal and there is nothing official at this point.

A part of OMH’s $125 million is included in the FMAP funding. Consistent with our advocacy and those of many of our colleagues, the FMAP funding is being utilized largely for workforce and children’s services (much of the Federal Block Grant will go to Crisis Services).

We are very appreciative that the State has listened to our workforce concerns about direct care and have put several proposals together. As you can see from the documented listed below, there are workforce recommendations across all direct care workers in all sectors. We specifically break down the mental health workforce.

There are however serious concerns as well. Getting this money out through a streamlined process is the standard that must be met. The not for profit mental health workforce is in desperate need of some support. The attached proposals if implemented quickly can enhance our ability to jump start the workforce. While this money is one-time, it can still be utilized where it is most needed around recruitment and retention bonuses, loan forgiveness, hazard pay and retirement contributions.

The State Proposal for Mental Health Workforce:

$16.7 million for Prescribers, licensed practitioners and program staff for:
Loan Forgiveness
Tuition Reimbursement
Hiring and Signing Bonuses
Expanded Student Placements
Differential Pay
Expanded Retirement Contributions

The proposed funding mechanism is that rather than give direct payments to providers, MCO’s would get the funding and administer as grants to providers that meet specific qualifications.

By running it through MCO’s, the State would be able to leverage additional Medicaid funding. The downside is that it also creates a level of complexity for providers and the Plans.

$6.9 million to direct care staff in CR’s
Rate increase to direct care staff paid across Medicaid claims

$4 million for Evidence Based Best Practices
Allocated to Training and Technical Assistance agencies with expertise in EBP dissemination and to the SUNY system or other institutions of higher learning. Specific areas of interest include co-occurring disorders, marginalized and under-reported demographic.

$4 Million to Expand Recruitment and Retention of Culturally Competence, Culturally Responsive and Diverse Personnel
OMH proposed an environmental scan of current workforce to identify areas of under-representation, with goals of ensuring adequate levels of demographic and linguistic representation within the field. OMH will fund administrative grants to providers meeting specific qualifications. Funding would also include SUNY/CUNY education.

$4 Million to Expand Certified and Credentialed Peer Capacity
Expansion of certified peers currently in OMH program through investment in resources for recruitment, education/training and career pipeline investment.

$12.5 Million from DOH/OMH Implementation of HCBS and Community Oriented Recovery and Empowerment Services (CORE)
Eligible providers would report to OMH regarding specific goals attained through this funding and how the funds have been used to impact and expand access to data

$3 Million—PROS
Enhanced rates with PROS includes increase in off-site capacity and 1: services as well as specific investments. Rate increase would be through Fee For Services or Medicaid Managed Care Plan.

$2.7 Million—ACT
Increased paid across Fee For Service or Medicaid Managed Care Claims

$1.6 Million—Youth ACT
Startup training

$184,000—Young Adult ACT Teams

Start up training and monitoring

$5.1 million to enhance Chidren’s Services Workforce
Offer provider flexibility and creation of golas including capacity building.

$2.3 Million Children’s Wavier Rate Program
An HCBS rate adjustment of 25% retroactive to 4/1/21 until 3/31/22

Final Thoughts:

This is still the beginning of the process and there will undoubtedly be a lot of changes and modifications. Our goal is to remain vigilant and ensure that we are focused on fundamental workforce issues around bonuses, hazard pay, loan forgiveness, tuition reimbursements and retirement contributions.

Here is the website for when it posts.