Category Archives: NASWNYS

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NYS Passes Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act

Members,

We did it!

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at 11:38 p.m., the NYS Senate voted to pass S.1156-C which establishes the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act.

In the final hours of the legislative session, we received increased opposition from insurers and health plans who worked overtime to defeat this important accountability measure. But you did not let that happen.

Your demonstration of strong grassroots support and advocacy were crucial to advancing this bill. Thank you for taking the time to call and email your representatives and letting them know that New Yorkers deserve to know how insurers and health plans are complying with federal and state parity laws, which is critical in maintaining and enhancing access to care. Passage of this legislation will require insurers to submit certain key data to the Department of Financial Services in order to evaluate and report on their compliance with already mandated parity coverage for MH/SUD.

Please stay tuned for updates on implementation of this legislation. In the meantime, we encourage you call and thank your legislators who helped ensure passage of this very important piece of legislation.

 

Action Steps Needed

Call and write to thank:

  • Your Senator and Assemblymember – Call the main Senate and Assembly switchboards and asked to be connected to your local legislator:

NYS Legislature Switchboard:

Senate: 518-455-2800

Assembly: 518-455-4100

Find your NYS Senator: 
https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator

Find your NYS Assemblymember: 
http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search/

 

  • Senator James L. Seward (R-C-I-Ref,-Oneonta), Chair of the Senate Committee on Insurance(518) 455-3131; Email: seward@nysenate.gov

 

  • Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan (R-East Northport) – (518) 455-2071; Email: flanagan@nysenate.gov

 

  • Senator Robert G. Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda), sponsor of bill S.1156-C – (518) 455-2020; Email: Ortt@nysenate.gov

 

  • Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D,W,I-Forestburgh), sponsor of bill A.3694-C – (518) 455-5355; Email: GuntheA@nyassembly.gov

 

 

 

 

Sample Script

Hi, my name is ___________________. I am a constituent and/or treat constituents of [Legislator’s Name]’s district. I am calling to thank [Legislator’s Name] for supporting S.1156-C/A.3694-C, that requires insurers and health plans to annually disclose information and data necessary to evaluate their compliance with federal and state mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) parity laws. This legislation is an important mechanism to reduce industry patterns of disparity between coverage criteria imposed on mental health and/or substance use disorder care as compared to other services, and I thank the [Senator/Assemblymember] for his/her support on this bill. Thank you for your time and attention.

NASW-NYS Calls for End of Separating Children from Migrant and Asylum-Seeking Families

(6/23) UPDATE: The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has released a statement with concerns over President Trump’s immigration executive order. NASW demands the president present a more humane, coherent plan that also addresses the treatment of more than 2,300 children who are already detained. These children continue to be exposed to trauma that has life-altering implications. Read the full statement here.

(6/20) UPDATE: It has been reported that President Trump has signed an executive order to stop family separation at the border. NASW has announced they will release a statement in response to President Trump’s executive order.

(6/20) UPDATE: Families Belong Together, a nationwide advocacy day to oppose the policy of separating immigrant families at the border and detaining children apart from their parents, has been planned for Saturday, June 30. To find an event near you, visit https://www.familiesbelongtogether.org/

 

NASW-NYS Calls for End of Separating Children from Migrant and Asylum-Seeking Families

The National Association of Social Workers – New York State Chapter (NASW-NYS) emphatically condemns the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant and asylum-seeking families entering the United States.

The reason for these separations is a zero-tolerance policy, announced last month by the Trump administration, for parents who are accused of undocumented border crossing. Since April 19, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security has separated well-over 2,000 children from their families.

The Trump administration’s practice is in direct violation of our Code of Ethics. As social workers, we are guided by a set of ethical principles that are based on the profession’s core values including service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, and the importance of human relationships.

Strengthening families and providing family support are priorities of the social work profession. The family is the primary socializing agent, economic unit, and the mental health resource for its members, young and old (Carr & Springer, 2010). Our profession believes that removing a child from his or her parents should happen in extreme cases only, and the focus should be on family preservation and services to strengthen the family unit. As such, we are calling on the administration to keep families together in community-based settings while their immigration proceedings are pending.

The Trump administration has stated that its goal in separating children from their families is to deter undocumented border crossings. NASW-NYS would contend that using children as leverage to punish their parents is unconscionable, both with respect to the health and well-being of the children and as treatment of migrants and asylum seekers. The Code of Ethics maintains that we must preserve the dignity and worth of the person, treating each other in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences, and cultural and ethnic diversity. It is a practice that is applied to anyone regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or immigration status.

Even when children are separated from parents in a non-forceful way, research has shown that they have a higher risk of anxiety and depression. It is well documented that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as separation from family and incarceration, can contribute to lifelong negative effects/psychological and emotional trauma including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, and are precursors of negative health and education outcomes later in life (Dube, Cook, & Edwards, 2002). As social workers, we know from experience the perverse impact of removing a child’s primary caregiver, particularly during the early stages of childhood development. Furthermore, we have yet to hear confirmation from the administration that children separated from their families will be reunited.

For the reasons stated above, we urge ALL Chapter members to call your representatives in Congress and let them know that you strongly oppose the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant and asylum-seeking families entering the United States, and demand the immediate reunification of families.

Here’s where to start: 

Contact your representatives in Congress to voice your disapproval. There are currently several bills being pushed to fight the zero-tolerance policy, the most widely-circulated being the Keep Families Together Act, introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Encourage others to call their representatives and demand an end to separating children from their families at the border.

  • Download the 5 Calls App for a phone call script on the following issues:
    • Support the Keep Families Together Act
    • Stop the Department of Homeland Security from Separating Families at the US Border

(Screenshots of the 5 Calls App)

There’s more. If you are looking for additional resources and ways to get involved, please visit the following organizations:

  • Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immigrant families and refugees with affordable legal assistance. They also offer an online toolkit to help inform people about family separation and how to raise awareness. UPDATE: They are currently accepting donations and volunteers at its website. In addition, the #postcards4families campaign will donate $5 to RAICES for every postcard kids write to help the separated immigrant children. – https://www.raicestexas.org/
     
     
    *URGENT* RAICES needs volunteer translators who speak Meso-American indigenous languages (e.g.: zapotec, nahua, quich’e, maya, mixe, mixteco – not Spanish). Do you know anybody? They don’t need to be in Texas, or even in the US. They can translate remotely. Email volunteer@raicestexas.org.
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) works to ensure that no child appears in immigration court alone without representation http://www.supportkind.org/
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights advocates for the safety and well-being of unaccompanied kids arriving in the United States. They recently announced a project specifically dedicated to helping children separated from their parents at the border. UPDATE: The organization is training adults who want to become “child advocates” who will work one-on-one with unaccompanied immigrant children while they are subject to deportation proceedings.  https://www.theyoungcenter.org/
  • Families Belong Together is a coalition opposing the separation of families at the border and is organizing a series of rallies and events across the country. Update: Use this to find events and rallies not happening on June 30 – https://familiesbelong.org/
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is national, non-profit, nonpartisan refugee resettlement and advocacy organization that has served and defended the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons. Based in Washington, D.C., it has six field offices including one in Albany, NY, and partners with local community-based agencies across the nation to help thousands of refugees build new lives in the U.S. each yearhttps://refugees.org
  • Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project works to prevent the deportation of asylum-seeking families fleeing violence. The group accepts donations and asks people to sign up for volunteer opportunities here. – https://asylumadvocacy.org/
  • Together Rising is accepting donations to help the helpers on the ground. Donations will go to the lawyers and social workers working with these families. You can also learn more on how your money is working by clicking here – https://togetherrising.org
  • NATIONWIDE MARCH SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 30th: Families Belong Together (#FamiliesBelongTogether), a nationwide advocacy day to oppose the policy of separating immigrant families at the border and detaining children apart from their parents, has been planned for Saturday, June 30. To find an event near you, visithttps://www.familiesbelongtogether.org/

 

UPDATE: The Texas Tribune has compiled a list of organizations that are mobilizing to try and help children that have been separated from their parents at the Texas-Mexico border. Click here to read.

If you have resources to share with the membership, please let us know. If you have any questions or are looking for ways to get involved, feel free to contact the Chapter at info.naswnys@socialworkers.org or at 518-463-4741.

 


References

Carr, D., & Springer, K.W. (2010). Advances in families and health research in the 21st century. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 743-761.

Dube, S.R., Cook, M.L., & Edwards, V.J. (2002). Health-related outcomes of adverse childhood experiences in Texas. Preventing Chronic Disease, 7(3):A52. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2010/may/09_0158.htm

Social Workers, N.A. (2013). The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study: Implications for Mothers’ & Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/assets/secured/documents/practice/children/acestudy.pdf

Workers, N. A. (2017). NASW Code of Ethics (Guide to the Everyday Professional Conduct of Social Workers). Washington, DC: NASW.

ACTION ALERT: Calls Needed for Full Implementation of Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Parity Laws!

Call Your Legislators and Leadership TODAY to Express Support & Urge a Vote on Legislation Requiring Insurers and Health Plans To Submit Key Compliance Data with Federal and State Parity Laws.

Calls and emails are needed for full implementation of Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Parity Laws!

With only a handful of days left in the Legislative Session, it is imperative you call or email your legislators and Senate and Assembly leadership TODAY to express strong support for legislation (S.1156-C/A.3694-C), which directs the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services to collect certain key data and matrixes from insurers and health plans in order to scrutinize and analyze if they are in compliance with the federal and state mental health and substance use (MH/SUD) disorder parity laws. The information collected would be analyzed and used for the preparation of a parity compliance report in the annual “Consumer Guide to Health Insurers” issued by Department of Financial Services. Now more than ever, this legislation is needed as New York faces an increasing number of suicides and opioids deaths.

It is critical that you make your voice heard today to ensure full implementation of mental health and substance use disorder parity laws and reduce patterns of disparity between coverage criteria imposed on MH/SUD care and treatment as compared to other covered services!

 

Call and email your Senate and Assembly Members express your strong support for NYS bill S.1156-C/A.3694-C!

 

Action Steps Needed

 

Please call or write to: 

(1) Your Senator AND Assemblymember – Call the main Senate and Assembly switchboards and asked to be connected to your local legislator:

NYS Legislature Switchboard:
Senate: 518-455-2800
Assembly: 518-455-4100

Find your NYS Senator
Click here to find your NYS Senator

Find your NYS Assemblymember
Click here to find your NYS Assemblymember

(2)     Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan – Albany Office Number: (518) 455-2071

(3)     Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins – Albany Office:  (518) 455-2071

(4)     Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie – Albany Office Number: (518) 455-3791

(5)     Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb – Albany Office: (518) 455-3751

To send an email, visit the Senator or Assemblymember’s official Senate or Assembly web page.

 

Sample Script/Message

Hi, my name is ___________________. I am a constituent and/or treat constituents of Senator or Assemblymember _____________ ‘s district. I am calling today to: (1) identify myself as a constituent and/or [psychiatrist; psychologist; social worker; family advocate; peer] who strongly supports legislation (S.1156-C/A.3694-C) requiring insurers and health plans to annually disclose information and data necessary to evaluate their compliance with Federal and State mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) parity laws. Although MH/SUD parity laws have been on the books for a decade on the federal level and more than twelve years in New York State, there still exists within the health insurance and health plan industry patterns of disparity between coverage criteria imposed on MH/SUD care and treatment as compared to other covered services. Hence, this legislation is an important mechanism for moving forward with full implementation with the parity laws, a critical component to assuring continued access to care. Please support this bill and urge it be brought to the floor for a vote before the end of the session!

 

Why is this legislation so important and needed NOW?

 

This legislation is important because



  • The current enforcement & compliance system is complaint driven — putting the onus on consumers!

  • This legislation is extremely important as we know non-compliance persists, which unnecessarily delays and/or denies access to care for MH/SUD.

  • The eight settlements/agreements the New York Attorney General reached with several major insurers, health plans, and managers of behavioral health benefits found significant acts of non-compliance, including:

    • applying more stringent and frequent utilization review for MH/SUD as compared to medical/surgical benefits;

    • denying care and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders at higher rates;

    • imposing a higher/specialist copayment rate for outpatient mental health and substance use disorder care than for outpatient/medical surgical care; and

    • using criteria and models inconsistent with the laws and regulations of the State.



  • Now more than ever, this legislation is needed as New York faces an increasing number of suicides and opioids deaths.

    • Recent CDC data shows a 28.8% increase in suicide in New York State between 1999 to 2016. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death with the number of suicide (nationally) surpassing the number of deaths by automobile accidents, homicides, and breast cancer. According to a recent OMH report and plan on suicide prevention, “1,700 New Yorkers died by suicide in 2014. Only four states in the country had a higher number.”

    • Nearly 3,600 opioid deaths occurred in 2016 (a 135% increase between 2013-2016).



  • Compliance with the parity laws is critical to assuring access to care and treatment.

  • Under this legislation, insurers and health plans would have to submit data on: network adequacy; rates of utilization review; rates of adverse determinations; percentage of claims paid for in-network and out-of-network MH/SUD care and treatment; percentage of providers who remained in network; network adequacy; and any other data or metric the Superintendent deems necessary to evaluate compliance with the MH/SUD parity laws.


2018 NASW-NYS Chapter Election Results

The 2018 NASW-NYS Chapter Election results are in.

 

Congratulations to the new 2018-2019 Board of Directors and volunteer leaders elected by the membership!

On behalf of the NASW-NYS Chapter, I am pleased to announce the results of the 2018 Chapter Election. Each year, NASW-NYS members are provided with the opportunity to cast votes for candidates seeking placement on the NASW-NYS Board of Directors and other volunteer leadership positions including Division Chair, Committee on Nominations & Leadership Identification (CNLI) Region Representative, and Delegate Assembly Member.

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to all the candidates who ran and congratulate the individuals who were elected. Your desire to serve demonstrates your commitment to your fellow social workers and to the social work profession. 

I would also like to thank the many Chapter members who voted. Voting is a privilege to all members – it is an opportunity to have a voice in NASW-NYS’s future by voting for the candidates that will represent you and your association over the next year(s).

There are many ways to get involved with NASW-NYS and running for an elected position is just one of them. I encourage any one of you to reach out to the Chapter to see how you can get involved and help build strength through our association together.

Sincerely,

Mark Buttiglieri, LCSW-R

NASW-NYS President

 


 

2018 NASW-NYS Chapter Election Results

(Term will begin July 1, 2018)  

Board of Directors

 

Division Chairs

CNLI Positions

Delegate Assembly