Tag Archives: nys

Madness at OMH: Thousands of mentally ill New Yorkers listed [illegally] in SAFE Act registry

Wow! This is ‘snafu’ in all its glory.

One thing at play here: The seemingly ‘purposely’ releasing of private information about, apparently, ALL people committed voluntarily or not in our psych hospitals. I expect that there will be an investigation into this seemingly wide-spread contagion of forgetfulness about patients privacy rights. This is serious, though.


If this doesn’t have ‘conspiracy’ written all over it, its definition must be reviewed.

a) “More than nine out of ten reports so far have come from hospitals or state psychiatric centers — including hundreds [how many hundreds?]of reports filed in a single day in late April by state psychiatric hospitals. [“hundreds’ “in a single day” is too much for it to be a ‘mistake’.]

b) “Yet some reports, testified Wolkenbreit, are being filed by someone other than the mental health provider seeing the patient, and many appear to be computer generated, based on existing patient files.[If only mental health providers can file, who violated the rule and why?]

c) “Benjamin Rosen, a spokesperson for the state Office of Mental Health, acknowledged in an email statement that this spring many [how many is “many”?] psychiatric patients [not in-patients included?] were automatically referred [by who?]to county officials.” 

d) “From March 16, 2013 to May 6, 2013, while OMH was building a reporting portal for state psychiatric hospitals [hmm], reports were initiated [from where and by whom?] based on admissions to state psychiatric hospitals [all people admitted from March 16 to May 6? From All psych hospitals?], although mental health professionals had the ability to prevent reports from being forwarded for those persons who did not meet NY SAFE Act criteria,” said Rosen,…[who are they who did not prevent the reports from being forwarded?]

e) “In many cases [again, how many?] mental health providers listed on the documents, when contacted by community services directors for review, either said that they had not filed the reports… according to Wolkenbreit.” 

So, WHO filed the reports and why? Is the DCS or OMH investigating these ‘false’ reports of people “who did not meet the Safe Act criteria”? Did the psych hospitals receive orders from anyone, in the hospitals or by someone in OMH, to file the reports en mass? What are the chances that all those people working at state psych hospitals could have, at unison almost, made the same mistake of breaking a privacy law they ought to know by heart? How come other institutions, private, did not commit the ‘mistake’?

Did the Department of Community Services forwarded ALL of the names in the report to the NYPD?

“Of the 6,000 reports that have been filed, 11 have been acted upon,” testified Jed Wolkenbreit, counsel to the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, Inc., citing figures from the state Office of Mental Health.

What does “acted upon” means? That 11 were forwarded to the NYPD or to the Department of Criminal Justice? How many, if any, were sent to the NYPD or to the DCJ?

This is a debacle. This is beyond stigma and violations to HIPPA. Evidently HIPPA is there to protect privacy. It’s PRIVACY and rights that are at stake here.

I’m sure that the NYPD is happy if this ‘error’ provided them with info about who is in mental treatment. The surveillance state has being feverish at work trying to compile a data base of EVERYBODY officially diagnosed as mentally ill. Sure, it’s to ‘protect’ you from yourself and others.

With stigma or without it, our police wants to have a dossier of everyone whom it considers a threat to the establishment, a ‘potential terrorist’. It’s our collective liberty what is at stake here. We, as people with disabilities, are just ONE of the many groups being labeled for ‘security’ purposes.

Everyone ought to stand by us in this debacle. It will happen to you next.

Comment by Lourdes C.

Source: http://www.thenewyorkworld.com/2013/06/03/safe-act-registry/#comment-327403

NYS’ new gun (and mental illness) control law.

Our state (NY) has just passed some new law on the issue of gun control, and mental illness to boot. Of course, the discussion about the law was kept “behind closed-door”, in the closet, so to speak.  How charming.

Why would they want to do such a thing, I ask myself. But then again, who am I to ask anything about them ‘law makers’?

I don’t want to burst your bubble of joy here but, I think I must. Just kidding.

When our legislators, at both state and federal level, sit behind closed doors, the law that comes out of there is filled with loopholes big enough to pass an elephant sitting on a tank through it.

So, save yourself a major disappointment IF you actually read the new law when it gets  published. If you don’t read the new law you will go away happy and content thinking that here something was done relating to gun control. If you read the law later, your bubble is bound to burst. Choose: to read or not to read.

The other thing is the now fait accomplished of wielding together mentally ill people with mass killer. That’s what the legislation has done, based on what the news tell us. Maybe we ought to call this law ‘the stigma of mental illness Act’.

And to not waste the opportunity, they also wielded together Kendra’s Law to the mentally ill and gun owners. Involuntary commitment usually goes hand in hand with stigma and stereotypes. Have you already forgotten Willowbrook and the recent articles about mistreatment of the disabled  and mentally ill? The cases of police called to help with some distressed person only to have the cops taser and kill that person? Now, you can include old fashion straight jackets to the mix of tools to deal with gun owners. See my post on fashion for the mentally ill here.

This new law makes ‘official’ the boggy man’s theory of the relation between gun ownership and mental illness. I’m waiting for our ‘leaders’ to pass a law that makes it official that foreclosure and poverty causes mental illness; that there is correlation between  the political and economical disorder  of a society and increase in violence and mental disorders there.

Our fashionable  “fiscal cliff” is a term that ought to point to you to that relation I just mentioned.

The "fiscal cliff" as a cause for mental instability. There ought to be a law against 'fiscal cliffs'.

The “fiscal cliff” as a cause of mental instability. There ought to be a law against ‘fiscal cliffs’.


what have we learned from the history of abuse of with mental illness?

This is from a short powerpoint test I made. See it in full screen. It has sound half way into the vid, so control your speakers.

Are NYS OMH’s license policies violating our Mental Health Act?

For an  answer to the above question you have to read OMH’s policies.

NOTE: I’m not a lawyer, nor a paralegal, or a legal counselor or legal advocate. These are my opinions, the opinions of a lay person’s interested in understanding the State’s mental health laws and the ADA. These comments are intended to open a public discussion about NYS OMH’s license policies.

I: NYS Mental Health Act, Title E,  Section 31.02 Operating certificate required.

A. But what does that mean?

That statement that “operating certificate required” looks to me like a declaratory statement:  a requirement for something has been stated. It doesn’t seem to imply in any way, shape or form that operating certificates (op cert) are required only for a few people or only in few  occasions. The statement that “operating certificate required” carries a meaning of purpose and intention: ‘Let it be no doubt about it: operating certificate required, PERIOD.’ That’s what it seems to say and imply. Don’t you agree?

So why has OMH declared that (in what seems to me to be) about half of all mental health providers do not need an operating certificate? I would understand it if FEW providers were exempted from the mandate; after all, every law has an exception on how it is applied:

(a)  Except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section…

That’s the ONLY exemption in the mandate that “operating certificate required”. And what does that exemption say?

(b)  A  provider  of services operating a community residence on April first, nineteen  hundred  seventy-six [1967!],  shall  be  issued  an  operating certificate  by the commissioner without requiring proof that there is a public need for such residence, providing application for such operating certificate to  the  department  in  accordance  with  this  article  is submitted  prior  to  September  first,  nineteen  hundred  seventy-six. Pending the determination of any such  application  the  continuance  of such  operation shall be lawful.

That’s the only exemption: that a provider running a community residence program open for business since April 1967 or before will be exempt from the requirement IF the operation is deemed “lawful” by today’ standards.  I venture to say that MOST programs we have today didn’t open for business until after at least 1985, the decade of the big changes in our public mental health system. Those programs would NOT qualify for the exemption. I hope you agree with me up to here.

What activities are mandated to have an op cert?

(a)…no provider of services shall engage in any of the following activities  [ there are 5] without  an operating  certificate…
1. operation of a residential facility  or  institution,  including  a
  community residence,…

Let’s see this one first. Only in court would you split hairs in interpreting the meaning of “residential facility”, “facility” “or community residence”. If you are in a  supported housing program (SHP), you would consider it a “residential facility”, wouldn’t you? Same if you live in congregate housing, SRO, etc, whether or NOT it was run by an institution. It seems logical: I live there, therefore it IS  a RESIDENCE.

Are there any other exemptions if, as I said, they ALWAYS exist in any law? Yes, they are here too! Continuing on the same “(a)1” as above:

It shall not include a place where the services rendered consist solely of non-residential services for the mentally disabled which are exempt from the requirement for an operating certificate under article sixteen, thirty-one or thirty-two of this chapter, nor shall it include domestic care and comfort to a person in the home.

So here we have the characteristics  of those services exempted of the requirement to have an op cert:

a. services that are SOLELY non-residential in nature – this means that if there is at least ONE residential service in it, it is NOT exempt from the op cert requirement, it HAS to have one. To be exempt it has to be SOLELY of non-residential nature AND, in addition…

b. services SOLELY of non-residential nature which are  exempt by articles 16, 31 or 32 of this chapter. That means that even non-residential services REQUIRE an op cert  if they are not “exempt by articles 16, 31 or 32 of this chapter.” There seems to be an intent running through these exemptions: that as long as you provide SERVICES, you  MUST HAVE AN OP CERT, PERIOD. (caps are for emphasis, not shouting.). Whether residential OR NON-RESIDENTIAL, you must have an op cert.

c. domestic care and comfort at home is not required to have op cert.

This intent that all services require an op cert is shown in the second description of activities that require one:

2. operation of any part of a general hospital for the purpose of providing residential or non-residential services for the mentally disabled.

And if you are still not satisfied that the INTENT of this “op cert required” is to have ALL mental health services covered by a mandate, check the third characteristic of services which must have one:

3. operation of a facility established or maintained by a public agency, board, or commission, or by a corporation for the rendition of out-patient or non-residential services for the mentally disabled;”

Even “corporations”, not only public  “board” and “commission” and ‘agency” must have an op cert EVEN if they provide out-patient or non-residential services. Of course, there are the eternal exemptions in this case too  for these “corporations’ which provide non residential services. These are:  pastoral mental health services, providers licensed by another agency, and private practice.

The 4th and 5th activities which requires op cert:

4. operation of a residential treatment facility for children and youth.

5. operation of a residential care center for adults.

So there you have it. The INTENT of our NYS Mental Health Act seems to be that providers of services, including out-patient, residential and non-residential services, must have an op cert.

Again, why have OMH apparently decertified more than half of all providers of these services?

II: Why op cert required?

The question is Why are so many programs exempt? Does it matter? Of course it does! This is the DMH/OMH reason for having op certs:

Part 70.01 (b)2…The issuance of an operating certificate is intended to signify that a provider has met minimum standards for conditions conducive to safe and effective operation and to establish the accountability of the provider for operation in accordance with those standards.http://weblinks.westlaw.com/result/default.aspx?cnt=Document&db=NY-CRR-F-TOC%3BTOCDUMMY&docname=365892426&findtype=W&fn=_top&pbc=DA010192&rlt=CLID_FQRLT64198413922156&rp=%2FSearch%2Fdefault.wl&rs=WEBL12.04&service=Find&spa=nycrr-1000&vr=2.0

So, no license = no accountability, no safety, no quality of services. This explains why so many providers accused of abuses on consumers go without punishment: because they are unlicensed! The State has no power of oversight if these providers are unlicensed. To be unlicensed means to be OUTSIDE OUR PUBLIC mental health system.

These are two of the six reasons given by the Act for having an op cert:

“(a) No operating certificate shall be issued by the commissioner unless the commissioner finds:

1. that the premises, equipment, personnel, records, and program are adequate and appropriate to provide the services for the mentally disabled which are sought to be authorized,

2. that such services will be provided in compliance with applicable law and regulations,”  at NY Code – Section 31.05: Issuance of an operating certificate.

Look it up yourselves in the link below, don’t take my words for it: more than half of programs are unlicensed, meaning out side our public system, not required to provide MINIMUM quality of services and protection, etc, etc, etc. See them here and count for yourselves, then answer the question: Why are so many programs unlicensed?

NYS Consolidated Budget and Claiming Manual, Appendix F – OMH Programs Types, Definitions and Codes

(start at 0040 – Family Care
(Licensed Program)


Next: OMH’s licensing rules. Are they in violation of the ADA?