Ben Rosen
Director of Public Information
NYS Office of Mental Health
518-474-6540- Phone
518-473-3456- Fax
May 22, 2014

OMH Announces Over $4 Million in Grant Awards to Benefit Aging New Yorkers

Community Providers Representing Ten New York State Counties Receive Funding for Physical and Behavioral Health Care Integration for Older Adults

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

By the year 2030, it is estimated that nearly 20 percent of the United States 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 which continues to grow. These grants aim to prepare New York State’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 State’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 dollars 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, 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, Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York.

The following providers are recipients of OMH’s 2014-2016 Geriatric Service Demonstration Program grants:

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

Catholic Charities plans to partner with the Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center to provide integrated physical and mental health care for individuals living in Far Rockaway, Queens.  The target population is mostly older adults receiving services at Catholic Charities’ Rockaway Mental Health Services clinic and Rockaway PROS program, where a part-time primary care provider from Joseph Addabbo will hold office hours to provide physical examinations and health monitoring and link clients to specialty outpatient care.  Outreach is planned to identify additional individuals in the community who would benefit from integrated care, especially those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

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

For a population of new and existing older adults in its outpatient mental health clinic in Hicksville, New York, Central Nassau will partner with Nassau Medical Associates to increase access and utilization of needed physical health care services, diagnose and treat physical health conditions, and produce better health outcomes.  The project is to integrate comprehensive behavioral health treatment services with on-site primary care.  Other services include management and monitoring of identified health problems, referral and coordination of specialty services, and as-needed assistance with transitional care coordination.

Citizen Advocates - Franklin County: $395,500

Citizen Advocates, Inc., North Star Behavioral Services will partner with Alice Hyde Medical Center to integrate behavioral health screening, assessment, and treatment services for older adults in health centers in northern Franklin County located in Malone, Chateaugay, Moira, Fort Covington, and St. Regis Falls.  Using a coordinated care model, two licensed clinical social workers will provide on-site behavioral health services as part of an integrated care team.  The model includes treatment for patients using evidence-based practices and monitoring using validated clinical rating tools, linkage to care coordination, and regular case reviews by the care team with consultation for patients who do not show clinical improvement.

Equinox - Albany County: $500,000

Equinox and the Whitney Young Community Health Center will collaborate to provide integrated health care primarily for older adults in Equinox’s outpatient mental health clinic and PROS program in Albany, New York.  A full-time registered nurse is to complete health assessments and function as a health coordinator.  A part-time nurse practitioner from Whitney Young will be posted at the Equinox clinic, join the interdisciplinary team, conduct physical exams and provide routine and emergent physical health care services for recipients marginally linked or not linked to primary care providers, and make referrals for more specialized care.

Erie County Medical Center Corporation - 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.

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

FEGS will work closely with its partner, Maimonides Medical Center, to embed FEGS behavioral health services for older adults in two of Maimonides’ outpatient primary care settings in Southwest Brooklyn.  FEGS staff, operating as integral members of an integrated care team, will provide behavioral health screening, assessment, treatment, and case management services.  Project goals are to identify and treat behavioral health disorders among the target population of older adults, implement a fully integrated care model, reduce or stabilize the severity of chronic medical conditions exacerbated by behavioral disorders, and ensure recipient input into program services.

Glens Falls Hospital - Washington County: $500,000

Glens Falls Hospital’s Behavioral Health Services will internally partner with the hospital’s Adirondack Medical Services to integrate behavioral health care for older adults in two of the hospital’s rural health centers in Washington County – the Greenwich Regional Medical Center and Granville Family Health – to serve a particularly vulnerable, high need population. Two full-time psychiatric nurse practitioners, two full-time licensed clinical social workers, and two full-time medical technicians will be added to the project.  Integration is expected to improve direct access to care, improve communication among providers, potentiate mutual support of shared goals, and assure that care is well coordinated.

Liberty Resources - Onondaga County: $500,000

Liberty Resources plans to partner with Upstate Cerebral Palsy to introduce and integrate primary care in Liberty’s Brownell Center for Behavioral Health, an outpatient mental health clinic in Syracuse, New York.  Joining the partnership will be Syracuse Jewish Family Services, whose staff will conduct or coordinate PEARLS (the Program to Encourage Active Rewarding Lives) depression screens for older adults at the Brownell Center, as well as in their places of residence and at identified community locations such as senior centers and geriatric housing programs.  Project objectives include effectively managing chronic health conditions to avoid acute care crises and fully engaging older adults in their own health care.

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, New York; 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.

Odyssey House - New York County: $249,387

Through an internal partnership, Odyssey House will locate a full-time geriatric social worker at its Article 28 diagnostic and treatment center in East Harlem to facilitate the integration of behavioral health care in a physical health care setting.  The target population is older adults who access primary care services at the center and have substance use disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.  Working as a member of the medical team, the geriatric social worker will provide screening, assessment, and brief intervention services and serve as a behavioral health care manager to ensure appropriate referrals for pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and substance use treatment.


To find a licensed mental health program in New York State serving the geriatric population, use OMH’s “Find A Program” search:


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