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Hamaspik Poised to Provide Community Mental Health Care

Hamaspik Poised to Provide Community Mental Health Care Agency Approved for OMH Services: Full Steam Ahead in Brooklyn; Hudson Valley Eyed Hamaspik is now approved to provide the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)’s Adult Behavioral Health Home and Community Based Services (BHHCBS), the Gazette can now report. Both the Hamaspik of Kings and Rockland County divisions received the green light from the state this past January to offer a number of mental health-related supports and services. Setting up those supports and services is already well under way at Hamaspik of Kings County; Hamaspik of Rockland County is aiming to launch those services by July of 2016. The planned new programs are part of New York’s ongoing efforts to transition its social and human services to a person-centered, community-based managed care system. But for Hamaspik, for decades rightly associated with community disability care and more recently with home health care, the approval represents the agency’s near-future foray into the equally-critical community need of mental health care. For the hundreds of people with mental-health needs in the communities throughout the downstate and Hudson Valley regions that are served by Hamaspik, it’s not a moment too soon. Underlying mission Among the mental health-related programs Hamaspik of Rockland County has been approved to provide under its new BH-HCBS designation are Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR), Community Psychiatric Support and Treatment (CPST), and Family Support and Training. Those programs, created and run under the auspices of the New York State OMH, are geared to gently usher individuals with mental-health issues back from the brink of dysfunction to an eventually healthy and gainful life. Once individuals serviced by those programs “graduate” and are prepared for the next major step in their lives, employment goals come next. As such, moving individuals with mental illness and/or substance abuse struggles out of the dead end of despair and into the workforce is the big-picture mission of Empowerment Services-Peer Supports, Prevocational Services, Transitional Employment, Intensive Supported Employment (ISE), and Ongoing Supported Employment. Person-centered, community-accessible In keeping with the federal government’s ongoing emphasis on person- and community-centeredness for a myriad of human services and supports, New York’s BH-HCBS program may not be provided in any institutional setting. That would include hospitals, nursing facilities and, obviously, institutions for mental diseases. It would, conversely, very much include independent community housing, and even housing supported by the New York State OMH—so long as said are “integrated in and supports full access to the greater community,” according to official OMH documentation. Underscoring the aforementioned person-centeredness is the requirement that the setting be “selected by the individual from among setting options,” and that it “ensures individual rights of privacy, dignity and respect, and freedom from coercion and restraint.” It must also be a setting that “optimizes autonomy and independence in making life choices.” Managed care Pushing forward on the frontiers of social justice while keeping an eye on the financial bottom line is the overarching mission of managed care, the payment model increasingly used by a number of taxpayer-funded human supports and services. Instead of the traditional fee-for-service payment model, managed care allots a set monthly amount per member; providers must then keep care costs within that monthly amount. Managed care is mostly in use today in such publicly-funded healthcare programs like Medicaid, which is available in New York largely through such managed-care health insurance companies like Fidelis. The managed-care model is also in use in managed long term care (MLTC) plans, new insurance companies funded by state and federal monies. These provide comprehensive healthcare coverage to New Yorkers who require 120 or more consecutive days of a nursing-home level of care. Moving forward Helming Hamaspik’s eventual major expansion into bringing its signature care to mental health care is David Schatzkamer, an industry professional who’s been working for several months at Hamaspik now to build its internal mental-health apparatuses. Part and parcel of that work has been forging strategic alliances with five of New York State’s largest Medicaid managed-care healthcare providers. These are: Amerigroup, Fidelis, HealthFirst, HIP/Emblem, MetroPlus, and UnitedHealthcare. With the planned launch of Hamaspik’s mental-health services in Kings and Rockland Counties, members of any of these Medicaid care providers will be able to benefit from those supports.