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Mental Health Update

September 24, 2021
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 9/24/2021 – Governor Hochul press release announcing Federal Funding Available for the OASAS Licensed Workforce

Listed below is a press release from Governor Hochul announcing workforce funding from the federal government for OASAS licensed programs. 

Separately, over $20 million is available for the mental health workforce through the federal block grant funding. We are advocating with the State to ensure that this funding is available to licensed mental health providers and flexibility is afforded to providers to utilize as necessary for the retention and recruitment of quality staff. Much more to come on this.

Governor Hochul Announces Availability of $19 Million in Funding to Assist Addiction Support Workforce in New York State


Funding Was Awarded to NYS Through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New York State has secured $19 million in federal funding through the SAPT Block Grant program to support the addiction workforce in New York State. Prevention, treatment, and recovery providers certified by the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) will receive this funding to support initiatives such as loan repayment, scholarships, and other incentives to recruit, retain and strengthen the addiction support workforce in their eligible programs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to New York State, and has affected all aspects of our lives,” Governor Hochul said. “This includes the addiction support workforce. This funding will assist our workforce throughout the state, and it will continue to enable all New Yorkers to receive the addiction care that they need.”

OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “New York State has always had a strong, dedicated workforce, who have put in countless hours to help those affected by addiction. As we continue to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are sending a message that we will do whatever is necessary to support this workforce, as well as all New Yorkers who have been affected by this devastating disease.”

Sen. Pete Harckham, Chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse said, “Treatment programs for Substance Use Disorder statewide, which had staffing problems long before the Covid-19 pandemic, now need the large-scale assistance that this federal funding will provide for their workforces. I appreciate Gov. Hochul’s leadership here because
the more we strengthen the treatment workforce by recruiting and retaining qualified professionals, the sooner we can deliver the scope of assistance our residents require.”

Assemblymember Phil Steck, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse said, “During COVID, we have seen an exponential rise in overdoses and overdoses resulting in deaths. Newly released data from the CDC shows that drug overdose deaths reached a record high in 2020. The addiction workforce has risked their own lives by continuing to work in congregate settings during COVID. We need to provide every possible incentive we can offer to ensure that both in- and out-patient treatment facilities are kept open and appropriately staffed, as well as increase the addiction workforce during this time of extraordinary need. I commend Governor Hochul for her recognition of these essential workers and securing the necessary funding to keep them in these important careers and incentivize more to join.”

Funding awarded under this grant can be used for the following initiatives:

Recruitment and Retention
Funds may be utilized for Recruitment and Retention incentives for all substance use disorder (SUD) clinical, direct care, administrative, and support staff. These incentives include:

– Retention and hiring incentives;
– Longevity Pay;
– Retirement Contributions and other one-time fringe benefit payment;
– Differential Pay;
– Hazard Pay.

Providers may also receive funding for tuition, exam, and application fees to support certifying staff, as well to retain existing Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors (CASACs), Credentialed Prevention Professionals (CPPs), Credentialed Prevention Specialists (CPSs), and Certified Recovery Peer Advocates. This funding can also be utilized for conference registration fees, tuition for professional development college level courses for staff, and other professional trainings, including continuing education courses for credentialed or licensed professionals, as well as for educational loan forgiveness.

Ongoing Support
Funding may be utilized to develop long-term employee engagement strategies, as well as workforce development, retaining consultants, developing or acquiring training curriculum, providing stipends, and attending or providing training events.

Building on current trauma-informed care, this funding can also support training, ongoing consultation, and steps to implement evidenced-based models of care.

Career Development
Funding may be utilized for the creation, promotion, or enhancement of fellowship programs for professionals including medical doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, as well as for programs promoting career development of other licensed or credentialed professionals.

Providers can also contract with college-level nursing, physician assistant and or medical schools to create Addiction Fellowship Programs and support new students for the degrees in addiction, social work, or mental health programs.

Providers may also use this funding to encourage interdisciplinary practice in the delivery of addiction services, and to collaborate with academic and policy entities to develop strategies for training staff. Eligible providers can review the scope of work for this funding opportunity at:

Over the past several years, New York State has instituted an aggressive, multi-pronged approach to addressing the opioid epidemic, and created a nation-leading continuum of addiction care with full prevention, treatment, and recovery services. To combat this epidemic, the state has worked to expand access to traditional services, including crisis services, inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment programs, as well as medication assisted treatment, and mobile treatment and transportation services.

Governor Hochul was a member of the NYS Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which in 2016, recommended new, non-traditional services, including recovery centers, youth clubhouses, expanded peer services, and open access centers, which provide immediate assessments and referrals to care. These services have since been established in numerous communities around the state and have helped people in need access care closer to where they live.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free,
24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, residential, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at <> or through the NYS OASAS website <>*.*

If you, or a loved one, have experienced insurance obstacles related to treatment or need help filing an appeal for a denied claim, contact the CHAMP helpline by phone at 888-614-5400 or email at

Feeling stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic? You are not alone. Call the NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline 7 days a week, 8am-10pm at 1-844-863-9314 or visit