Outgoing commissioner Michael Hogan announced that New York’s state Office of Mental Health (OMH) is now rolling out its new Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health Services--2012-16, that envisions a future in which managed behavioral healthcare offers “a “single point of accountability at the community level.” This, he says, will overcome “the lack of continuity, integration … and high costs” that have combined to result in “poor outcomes for individuals.”
The plan, he noted, reflects the efforts of the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team to provide “care management for all,” a challenge that is said to “lie just ahead.” The state’s safety net services will extend beyond treatment to include housing, peer supports, and employment assistance, part of a modern mental health safety net with three parts:
1) care management for individuals in Medicaid to enable re-balancing from costly hospital services to community treatment services with added supports;
2) a closure in the gap in the availability of affordable housing for people with mental illness through the efforts of OMH and a new supported housing initiative;
3) creating and offering competitive work opportunities to people with disabilities by leveraging New York State's historic Ticket To Work agreement with the Social Security Administration.
In addition, the new plan envisions new efforts to advance mental health care in corrections, children’s services, and primary care. These advances, notably the expansion of mental health capabilities within mainstream health plans and primary care will continue to speed the transition away from state psychiatric institutions and even specialty care settings.
Hogan says that OMH will partner with the state’s Department of Health to provide “moderate levels of mental health treatment” to individuals within the mainstream healthcare system. It will also launch a First Episode Psychosis (FEP) program to help detect potentially disabling psychiatric illnesses more quickly with the hope that this early intervention will enable young people and their families to adjust effectively and avoid life-long disability problems.