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OMH announces $4 million-plus in grant awards to benefit aging New Yorkers

by jmaloni

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Fri, May 23rd 2014 07:50 pm

Community providers representing 10 New York state counties receive funding for physical and behavioral health care integration for older adults

In recognition of Geriatric Mental Health Awareness Week in New York, the Office of Mental Health has announced more than $4 million in grant money has been awarded to community-based programs that offer both physical and behavioral health care services to older adults in Albany, Erie, Franklin, Kings, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Onondaga, Queens and Washington counties.

By the year 2030, it is estimated nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65, with approximately 20 percent of this demographic experiencing significant mental illness. Currently, more than half of all older adults who receive mental health care receive these services from their primary care physician, a number that continues to grow. These grants aim to prepare New York's mental health care system for the expected influx of older adults in need of mental health services and provide multiple venues in which individuals can find high-quality mental health care.

"Across the United States, individuals with serious mental illness are dying 25 years earlier than the general public," said Acting OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie Sullivan. "By integrating mental health services into primary care, and vice versa, New York is enabling our health care system to more quickly identify mental illnesses and intervene with appropriate treatment. Through early intervention, we will improve the health and functioning of older adults with mental illness, thus increasing the quality of life and improving overall health outcomes for a growing segment of our population."

In 2005, New York's Geriatric Mental Health Act called for OMH to establish a geriatric service demonstration program to provide grants to providers of mental health care for the elderly. To date, OMH has provided more than $12.5 million in funding for more than three-dozen programs.

"The aging baby boom population and their unique mental health needs is often called a 'silver tsunami,' and New York is one of the few places in the nation proactively building a boat strong enough to protect our seniors," said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of National Council for Behavioral Health. "We need to address seniors' whole health needs wherever they feel most comfortable - whether that's in their doctor's office or their therapist's. The National Council is proud to partner with New York to build an integrated health workforce and, as a New Yorker myself, I'm thrilled to see the momentum behind this initiative."

"With the implementation of the Geriatric Mental Health Act, which established the geriatric grants program, New York state is leading the nation in providing integrated care to the growing population of older adults with mental health needs, thus improving their health, functioning and overall quality of life," said Kimberly Williams, LMSW, director of the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York.

The following providers are recipients of OMH's 2014-16 Geriatric Service Demonstration Program grants:

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center - Niagara County: $500,000

Niagara Falls Memorial, in partnership with its department of psychiatry and The Dale Association, aims to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for older adults by integrating physical and behavioral health care and senior services at one of the hospital's primary care settings, the Summit Family Care Center in Wheatfield. The services of a part-time senior advocate in the integrated practice are intended to address the psychosocial needs of older patients through linkages with housing, meal, caregiver and other services. To encourage its adoption, the project also aims to teach physicians in training, behavioral health care agencies, and other primary care providers in Niagara County about the value of integrated health care.

Erie County Medical Center Corp. - Erie County: $185,447

For a target population of older adults with serious mental illness in Buffalo and Erie County, Erie County Medical Center will partner with the State University of New York at Buffalo's School of Medicine and biomedical sciences department of internal medicine to address unmet needs for primary care services in two outpatient mental health clinic sites. Physical care is to be provided by a primary care physician and nurse. The project will utilize the chronic care model, the hallmark of which is collaborative care, and the evidence-based practice of illness/wellness management and recovery. A peer advocate will be available at each site to support self-management of chronic diseases and wellness goals.

Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services - Queens County: $490,995

Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling Services - Nassau County: $370,250

Citizen Advocates - Franklin County: $395,500

Equinox - Albany County: $500,000

FEGS Health & Human Services - Kings County: $441,592

Glens Falls Hospital - Washington County: $500,000

Liberty Resources - Onondaga County: $500,000

Odyssey House - New York County: $249,387

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