Guest Post: A Policy Focus on Recovery in New York

On June 4th, Deputy Director Michael Botticelli joined public health officials in New York to discuss integrating a focus on recovery into alcohol and substance abuse treatment services.

The half-day conference, hosted by the State of New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), was led by Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez and attended widely by state and city public health experts, treatment providers and social workers.

Entitled “Recovery 2013: Charting the Future of Policy and Practice,” the event emerged from the state’s participation in the ONDCP ROSC Learning Community. With a current membership of 10 states and two local governments, the ONDCP ROSC Learning Community gives members access to expert presentations, group consultation, and opportunities for cross-jurisdictional sharing and collaboration. It receives ongoing support from the SAMHSA Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network Coordinating Office and from various regional ATTCs.

The conference raised awareness about the state’s ROSC efforts and helped expand their base of support. Mr. Botticelli spoke of the importance of developing recovery-oriented systems and services, which helps lay the groundwork for health reform implementation, and how states such as New York  (who participates in the ONDCP ROSC Learning Community), are national leaders who serve as examples for other state and local governments.

The State of New York has been working on ROSC implementation for the past five years. To date, it has begun establishing recovery community centers, has instituted training for Recovery Coaches, and has taken significant strides in developing sustainable mechanisms for reimbursing peer-to-peer services provided in outpatient treatment settings.  Since joining the ONDCP ROSC Learning Community in March 2012, the State of New York team has focused its participation on developing flexible funding mechanisms to develop, sustain, and integrate peer recovery support services.

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the concurrent charge from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to make sweeping changes to the structure of the State Medicaid system, New York State stands poised to make bold leaps toward a more recovery -oriented system of behavioral health care.  Participating in the learning community gives the state a mechanism for better guiding its ongoing ROSC efforts.

Lureen McNeil is a Program Manager at the State of New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Peter Gaumond is the Recovery Branch chief at ONDCP.

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