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Investments announced to expand telepractice addiction services across NYS


Fri, Aug 21st 2020 03:35 pm

Awards made to 33 providers in all regional economic development zones

Telepractice services across behavioral health programs provide safe means of care delivery amid pandemic

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the award of funding for the purchase and installation of equipment to enhance telepractice addiction services statewide. A press release said, “Expanded telepractice capacity ensures access to critical addiction services for individuals and families who may not otherwise seek out treatment.”

Funding for this initiative was provided through the federal State Opioid Response Grant and administered by Office of Addiction Services and Supports via the requests for proposals process.

"As we continue the fight against COVID-19, we must also continue our focus tackling the ongoing opioid epidemic," Cuomo said. "This investment in addiction treatment services will help ensure underserved communities have the necessary resources to expand New Yorkers' access to often life-saving services as we battle the deadly scourge of addiction."

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, co-chair of the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, said, "During this extremely challenging and unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and families are experiencing increased stress and anxiety and some are struggling with addiction. It's important now more than ever to make sure New Yorkers have the resources and services available that they need to help. This investment to expand telepractice services across the state will provide a safe way to deliver care to many New Yorkers. New York remains committed in our efforts providing the care, support and treatment people need to live healthy and safe lives."

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, "With this funding, providers will be able to purchase equipment and deliver comprehensive behavioral health services immediately without compromising their health and the health of those in their care. Telepractice has never been more crucial to the addiction treatment landscape in New York state."

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, telepractice services are being utilized as a safe means of keeping individuals and families engaged in addiction services and supports. OASAS has temporarily waived certain regulatory requirements for providing telepractice during the pandemic. Over 600 program sites across the state are authorized to deliver telepractice services through the use of telephone and video technology. Of that, 500 of these programs were rapidly approved via the emergency telepractice waiver and attestation process.

Funding was awarded to 33 providers in all regional economic development zones across New York. Funding can be used to purchase: PCs, software, monitors, speakers, laptops keyboards, or webcams.

The awards include:

Western New York



Brooks-TLC Hospital System



Evergreen Health



In 2016, Cuomo's Heroin Task Force recommended new, nontraditional 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.

Since taking office, Cuomo has instituted an aggressive, multipronged 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 governor 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.

The governor has advanced legislative and regulatory reform to enable people to get treatment faster by eliminating many insurance restrictions, as well as legislation to reduce most opioid prescriptions from 30 days to seven days, and legislation to increase training and education for prescribers. Cuomo has also taken action to combat patient brokering and fraudulent addiction treatment services.

The governor has also worked to increase training and availability of naloxone, resulting in more than 420,000 individuals in New York being trained and equipped with the opioid overdose reversal medication. Through Cuomo's actions, pharmacies around the state are now able to provide naloxone without a prescription.

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, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS treatment availability dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the NYS OASAS website.

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