Bill Text: NY A09290 | 2011-2012 | General Assembly | Introduced
Bill Title: Creates a course of instruction to train mental health providers in veteran specific mental health issues. [Track Bill]
Status: 2012-02-14 - referred to veterans' affairs [A09290 Detail]
S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K ________________________________________________________________________ 9290 I N A S S E M B L Y February 14, 2012 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. ORTIZ -- read once and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs AN ACT to create a course of instruction to train mental health provid- ers in veteran specific mental health issues THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: 1 Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as 2 the "veterans mental health training initiative". 3 S 2. Legislative intent. The legislature finds and declares that the 4 state of New York and the country at large are facing a formidable chal- 5 lenge in serving the mental health needs of veterans returning from 6 active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the beginning of Operation 7 Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, over one and a half 8 million active duty and reserve members of the United States military 9 have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and nearly one-half million 10 have been redeployed. With each deployment, our service members encount- 11 er extreme strains on their physical and mental health, which, in many 12 cases have resulted in unprecedented rates of health and mental health 13 problems, most notably post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trau- 14 matic brain injury (TBI). Equally alarming, are numerous reports of 15 increased suicide, addiction and homelessness among our returning 16 soldiers. Further, family members are struggling with the ramifications 17 of extended and/or multiple deployments, resulting in serious emotional 18 and psychological tolls. 19 In addition to high rates of PTSD, providers in the mental health 20 community have also begun reporting increased cases of traumatic brain 21 injury sustained in the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres of combat due in 22 large part to the use of improvised explosive devices (IED). Equally 23 disturbing is the rate at which TBI has been misdiagnosed as PTSD. 24 Numerous reports have told the story of soldiers returning from Iraq and 25 Afghanistan with brain trauma, but because there are no visible head 26 wounds, symptoms such as memory loss and confusion are often mistaken as 27 indicators of PTSD. EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00007-02-1 A. 9290 2 1 Many returning service members, particularly National Guard and 2 Reserves, are not accessing services from the federal veterans adminis- 3 tration or through the department of defense tricare system upon return- 4 ing home; but rather, through community-based organizations and agen- 5 cies. Therefore, community-based providers are experiencing an influx of 6 returning service members for whom they are not entirely prepared to 7 provide treatment. 8 To assure that such care be provided by an adequately trained mental 9 health workforce, the state shall, through an open grant process, engage 10 associations of social workers to design and conduct, in collaboration 11 with an association of psychiatrists and associations of physicians a 12 multi-disciplinary educational and training program for mental health 13 providers to assist such providers, within their lawful scope of prac- 14 tice, to identify, diagnose, and put forward a course of treatment for 15 combat related PTSD, TBI and other mental health issues, including 16 substance abuse. This course shall also serve to educate service members 17 and family members of service members in accessing mental health and 18 related social services. 19 S 3. The office of mental health in consultation with the division of 20 veterans' affairs shall: 21 a. through an open and competitive process award a grant of no less 22 than $500,000.00 for the purpose of developing and deploying an educa- 23 tion and training program for health, mental health, and other human 24 service providers. Such program will also provide training and education 25 to veterans and family members of veterans on navigating mental health 26 systems of care. 27 Such program will be designed to maximize the treatment and recovery 28 from combat related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic 29 brain injury (TBI) and other combat related mental health issues, 30 including substance abuse. This grant shall be distributed in the 31 amount of $250,000.00 at the beginning of each state fiscal year, for 32 two years, starting in 2012; however, a sum to be determined by the 33 office of mental health may be forwarded for future years' expenditures 34 if it is determined to be necessary for the proper implementation of the 35 program; 36 b. require such association of social workers to implement the 37 purposes of such grant in collaboration with an association of psychia- 38 trists, an association of physicians and such other statewide associ- 39 ations, as the office of mental health in consultation with the division 40 of veterans' affairs shall deem appropriate; and 41 c. have the power to audit such association to ensure the proper 42 expenditure of state funds. 43 S 4. The association receiving such grant pursuant to section three of 44 this act shall: 45 a. develop and deploy an education and training program as prescribed 46 in section three of this act. Such program shall be consistent with 47 national and state guidelines regarding the diagnosis and treatment of 48 PTSD, TBI and combat related mental health issues including substance 49 abuse; 50 b. conduct such program in multiple locations across the state; 51 c. establish an advisory committee to include experts in the fields 52 of neurology and psychiatry, to be recommended by the statewide associ- 53 ation of physicians and the statewide association of psychiatrists. The 54 advisory committee will also include experts in traumatology, PTSD, TBI, 55 military mental health, veterans' health and administration, and 56 licensed social work practitioners with a demonstrated expertise in A. 9290 3 1 veterans mental health. The advisory committee shall also include a 2 combat veteran and a family member of a combat veteran; 3 d. contract with an association of physicians and an association of 4 psychiatrists to (1) advise and assist with the design and development 5 of core content with respect to matters relating to the practice of 6 medicine; and (2) provide physician experts in PTSD, TBI and other 7 combat related psychiatric and neurological disorders for the program; 8 e. produce a yearly report to the legislature, the division of veter- 9 ans' affairs, office of mental health and the office of alcoholism and 10 substance abuse services regarding the progress, expenditures and effec- 11 tiveness of the program; 12 f. conduct the program in direct consultation with the office of 13 mental health and the division of veterans' affairs; and 14 g. provide a certified continuing education course on veteran specific 15 mental health issues, to be made available online. 16 S 5. The office of alcoholism and substance abuse services shall: 17 a. consult with the office of mental health and the division of veter- 18 ans' affairs and provide guidelines necessary for the proper design and 19 implementation of this program; and 20 b. have the power to make recommendations to the office of mental 21 health and the division of veterans' affairs and legislature as to the 22 effectiveness and future need for such a program. 23 S 6. Nothing in this act shall be construed to affect the scope of 24 practice of any profession licensed pursuant to the laws of this state 25 or to authorize or compel any change therein. 26 S 7. This act shall take effect April 1, 2012.