SUPPORT – A2229 Gunther / S2836 Ortt

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ON ASSEMBLY MENTAL HEALTH AGENDA 5/16/17

 

A2229 Gunther / S2836 Ortt

The New York State AFL‐CIO, representing over 2.5 million union members, their families as well as our retirees and their families supports the above referenced legislation.

This legislation amends section 7.17(e) of the mental hygiene law to clarify that the length of time that a notice of closure or significant service reduction is in effect would be no more than one year and one month.

Current law requires the Office of Mental Health (OMH) to give at least 12-months’ notice to affected local governments, employees and employee organizations prior to the closure or substantial reduction in services of an OMH facility. The law was enacted to protect communities and families from the disruption of services due to closing OMH facilities, ensuring a smoother transition for clients, affected communities and employees.

While state law requires a minimum, one year notice, it does not have a maximum amount of time that the notice can be in effect.  Unfortunately, OMH has issued notices under this provision for years at a time, and claiming that they have met the requirements, defeating the purpose of the law.  Communities and individual continue to be in the dark as to closure or downsizing of facilities.

The intent was to give facilities, communities, and workers time to plan for the imminent closure or reduction of services at a facility. This legislation will ensure that OMH complies with the spirit of this law.

This Federation urges this bill be passed.

For further information contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.