Governor Cuomo Signs HCA Mental Health-Home Health Legislation.

On October 1, 2018, Governor Cuomo has signed into law (chapter no. 305) HCA-developed legislation (A.10938/S.8632) supporting collaborative work between home care and mental health providers. The bill was unanimously passed by both houses of the State Legislature earlier this year. We thank Assembly sponsor Aileen Gunther and Senate sponsor Robert Ortt for working to get this bill shaped and passed in both houses.

This bill works in concert with an existing geriatric program of the state’s Office of Mental Health (OMH), by including mental health collaboration with home health as part of the features and authorized mission of this existing program. It would foster collaborations between home care and mental health providers “for the integration of health and mental health care, and for all other enumerated goals” of the program.

Home care collaboration with mental health is critical to assist individuals to age-in-place, avoid hospitalizations, promote better care transitions from hospital-to-home, and support quality of health and life for New Yorkers with mental health conditions. Many individuals with mental health conditions have co-occurring, significant physical health needs that not only jeopardize health and require effective medical management but also trigger avoidable hospitalizations, emergency room transports and overall greater long-term institutionalization risk.

The legislation is one element in HCA’s work with OMH to help build an educational and relationship foundation among mental health and home health providers. HCA will provide further updates on next steps for implementation of these provisions, and the opportunity areas for home care, as discussions with OMH and other stakeholders commence following the Governor’s action on this bill.