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Hochul announces availability of up to $1.5 million to expand telehealth services for addiction treatment


Fri, Feb 18th 2022 02:55 pm

Funding will allow providers to upgrade telehealth equipment and technology

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced the availability of up to $1.5 million in federal funding under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) to allow providers to expand telehealth services for addiction treatment. Providers will be able to use this funding to expand and upgrade their telehealth infrastructure through new telehealth equipment, as well as new software, tablets and phones. This funding is being administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

"Like too many New Yorkers, I know what it's like to lose a loved one to addiction – there's an empty chair at our family table where my nephew, Michael, should be," Hochul said. "New Yorkers struggling with addiction should have access to telehealth services that will provide the treatment they need. I am humbled by our mental health professionals who've helped guide our most vulnerable during this pandemic. We remain committed to providing whatever help is needed to those affected by addiction, as well as the providers across New York state who deliver these important services."

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of telehealth services throughout New York, which has made it easier for people to access the care that they need without the need to travel to a doctor's office. Hochul’s team said, “This has been especially important in addiction treatment settings, which often require continuous, uninterrupted care.

“This funding will help support providers who faced challenges in meeting the increased demand for telehealth services and will further expand access to important resources across the state. It will also improve engagement for individuals who face barriers to accessing in-person care, such as those who may have difficulties traveling to an in-person provider.”

Each provider can receive up to $15,000 through this initiative. Information about the RFA and application process can be found here.

OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has been vital in helping people stay connected to care, including life-saving services for people with addiction. Ensuring that people have multiple ways to access care is an important way that we can support those affected by addiction, and this funding will give our community-based providers the ability to further improve these services."

New York State Sen. Pete Harckham said, "The additional funding for increased telehealth availability for residents will save lives across the state. More than ever, we need to be connecting people with the help they need.”

Assembly member Phil Steck said, "Telehealth has made health care, mental health care and substance use treatment significantly more accessible. Removing barriers to treatment to increase access and treatment capacity is the goal of every provider. I have been a champion of telehealth in this year's budget and I commend the governor for making it a budget priority."

Hochul’s team said, “Over the past several years, New York state has instituted an aggressive, multipronged approach to addressing the overdose 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.”

Hochul was a member of the NYS Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which in 2016, 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.

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, seven-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 FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov 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 [email protected].

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