The term "health home" does not refer to a place or location. A health home is a group of health care providers that join together to serve those receiving mental health services through Medicaid as a team. The new behavioral health home teams will be made up of agencies that already serve our community, and they will all remain at their current locations.

Each health home will include medical doctors, hospitals, clinics, and inpatient and outpatient mental health services.  Some health homes will also include housing agencies, peer services agencies, home health services, employment services providers, and others who provide community-based services to people with psychiatric disabilities.

Who will get services from health homes? When will these services start?
Later this year, health homes will begin enrolling Medicaid recipients who:

  • Have a mental illness or a substance-abuse disorder
  • Have one or more other serious chronic medical conditions

A selected group of individuals will be enrolled in 2012. Enrollment in health homes will gradually expand over the next couple of years, and by 2014 all Medicaid recipients who meet the above criteria will be served by behavioral health homes.

How will I know if I’m assigned to a health home? What choices do I have?
If you are assigned to a behavioral health home, you will be notified by a letter from that organization. If you receive such a letter and do not do anything, then you will remain with the assigned health home.

However, you have the right to decline to join a health home or switch to another health home. To exercise either option, you should speak with a care manager from the health home at least once and fill out the “Health Home Opt-out Form” and any other required forms. This will ensure that you continue to receive the Medicaid health care services you are entitled to.

Why are health homes being established now?
Health homes are intended to reduce New York State’s Medicaid costs and to improve the health and well-being of people living with psychiatric illnesses. These two goals are directly related. When people obtain support that helps them to live healthier, more satisfying lives in the community, it decreases their reliance on emergency rooms and hospitals or need for long-term care.

Which health homes will be serving Westchester County? Which service providers will be included?
Two behavioral health homes have been designated to serve Westchester County.  They are:   Hudson River Healthcare, Inc. and Open Door Family Medical Center Inc./Hudson Valley Care Coalition.  Behavioral health homes are identified by the name of their lead agency, which is the administrative coordinator of each health home..  For a full roster of providers that are partnering in each home please visit the New York State Department of Health website as indicated below.   
Where can I get more information?
The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health’s Web site will continue to provide basic information about the Health Homes program. However, many details of program implementation are still subject to change. In order to ensure that you have up-to-date information, it is recommended that you access information directly from the New York State Department of Health (DOH), which oversees the Health Homes program throughout New York State.   

Is there anyone I can speak to directly to learn more about the Health Homes program in Westchester County?
If you have any further questions or concerns about the Health Homes program please contact:

Brian Hollander
Mental Health Public Policy Coordinator
Westchester Independent Living Center
Tel: (914) 682-3926

The Department of Community Mental Health Services manages and provides access to a wide array of services for adults, children and families.

Community-based services are made available to adults with serious mental illnesses. Services are obtained by application to the department. Many programs have a limited capacity so some are treated as priority requiring expedited access to services. Community-based services include:

  • Case Management involves the coordination of services and supports on behalf of an individual. A case manager can help an individual manage their life in areas like housing, physical and mental health and job readiness and employment. There are two levels of case management—supportive and intensive.
  • Housing New York State funds several types of housing for individuals with serious mental illness. The appropriate type of housing is selected based on the individual’s ability to live independently.
  • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a program that provides treatment, rehabilitation and support services to individuals who are diagnosed with a severe mental illness. ACT teams are multi-disciplinary and include members from the fields of psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, substance abuse and vocational rehabilitation.
  • Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) The AOT legislation provides court-ordered support for treatment and case management to individuals pose a significant danger to themselves and/or others. DCMH is required by state law to monitor court ordered treatment and diversion services.
  • Forensic Services provides training and community outreach to police officers and other county employees such as those working in the Department of Probation and the county jail on how to deal with people who are mentally ill or emotionally disturbed as these people move through the criminal justice system. 

More and more front line responders, police officers and community service providers are required to understand how to deal with people who are mentally ill or emotionally disturbed as these people move through the courts of law, and specifically, the criminal justice system. In response to this need, we have provided critical forensic training and community outreach to police officers and other county employees such as those working in the Department of Probation and the county jail.

Crisis Intervention Officer Training
DCMH continues its collaborative training partnership with the White Plains Police Department. Together, DCMH and the White Plains Police Department host Crisis Intervention Officer Training which is provided through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. This is a program that goes beyond the standard 16 hours of basic recruit training. The collaborative training partnership allows for a total of 40 hours, going further to promote the safety of police and peace officers, people in emotional crisis in the community and community at large. Crisis Invention Training prepares officers to better manage crisis involving people with mental illness. Law enforcement officials also improve their understanding and accessibility of the public mental health system.

Suicide Prevention for Law Enforcement
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among law enforcement professionals. DCMH, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and the White Plains Police Department developed and provide in-service training to 211 officers throughout Westchester County with the goal of preventing suicide among law enforcement professionals. For more information on the training materials and schedules, contact Mark Giuliano, Program Director, at .

Crisis Intervention Teams
The Department of Community Mental Health collaborates with the City of White Plains Public Safety Department and the City of Yonkers 4th Precinct to operate two Crisis Intervention Teams. The teams consists of police officers with enhanced mental health training and mental health clinicians who respond to calls involving individuals with a mental illness. These calls may be related to psychiatric or substance use crisis in the community and may or may not include criminal activity.

This team of co-responders emerged because individuals with mental illness who become involved in the criminal justice system have been unable to engage in ongoing treatments and services. To improve access, this approach gives the mental health professional team member an opportunity to immediately engage individuals in crises.

Court-Based Initiatives: Jail Diversion
In response to an increased number of individuals entering the criminal justice system, a national phenomenon, DCMH recently spearheaded two jail diversion initiatives. Jail diversion is one component of an evidence-based approach to reducing incarceration of individuals with serious mental illness. The overall model is called Sequential Intercept and DCMH is working to develop each of its critical elements.

Mental Health Alternatives to Incarceration (MHATI)
MHATI provides community services to people with serious mental illnesses by using both intensive and supportive case management. People with serious mental health and those with co-occurring disorders who have been arrested on a misdemeanor or non-violent felony charge may be sentenced to participate in treatment and services under the supervision of the MHATI program.

Westchester County’s Mental Health Court
The Westchester Mental Health Court is a partnership between the Ninth Judicial District, DCMH and the Department of Probation. This problem-solving court provides diversion from the justice system for adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders who are facing non-violent felony charges. Collaboratively, the court and DCMH provide access to needed treatment and services that support recovery and promote public safety. In 2008, 26 people participated in the Westchester Mental Health Court. This represents an increase over 2007 and a potential cost savings of $2 million by preventing incarceration and by providing access to the appropriate level of services.

The Westchester County Re-entry Task Force
This task force, formed in 2007 as a collaboration among the Westchester County District Attorney, DCMH, Social Services, the New York State Division of Parole and other agencies and not for profit organizations, addresses the needs of released felony offenders returning home to Westchester County. The task force refers individuals to needed medical, mental health, substance abuse, educational and vocational services. In addition, DCMH’s Transitional Management program provides services for those with serious mental illness. Data shows that individuals served through the Task Force have lower rates of re-arrest and parole violation than did other Westchester County parolees.

Transitional Management Services
DCMH provides services to people with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders returning from local and state correctional facilities. Using a cross-system data match between DCMH and the Department of Correction, DCMH identifies and provides services to people returning from the Westchester County Jail and state prison.

Homeless Outreach and Community Placement Team
This joint effort of Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, Human Development Services of Westchester and CHOICE of New Rochelle works to transition people from the shelters and streets to permanent housing. Most of these individuals have been involved with the criminal justice system. In 2008, the team served a total of 241 individuals. Of this total, 51 individuals received housing. One-hundred and eighty-one (190) continue to get services, but have not yet been able to secure permanent housing.

Call National Suicide Hotline (800) 273-TALK or (800) 273-8255 for help.If you are in crisis and need immediate assistance, call either:

  • 911  - or -
  • St. Vincent's Crisis Team at (914) 925-5959  - or -
  • (800) 273-TALK (8255) the National Suicide Hotline

at any time to reach a person who can help you. Professional standards of confidentiality are followed by both services.

If someone is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or someone else, call 911.

Any of the following could be potential warning signs for suicide:

  • Change in personality - becoming sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
  • Change in behavior - can't concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
  • Change in sleep pattern - oversleeping or insomnia, sometimes with early waking
  • Change in eating habits - loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
  • Loss of interest in friends, sex, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
  • Worry about money, illness (real or imaginary)
  • Fear of losing control, "going crazy," harming self or others
  • Feelings of overwhelming guilt, shame, self-hatred
  • No hope for the future;"It will never get better, I will always feel this way."
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Recent loss of a loved one through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship; or loss of job, money, status, self-confidence, self-esteem
  • Loss of religious faith
  • Nightmares
  • Suicidal impulses, statements, plans; giving away favorite things; previous suicide attempts or gestures
  • Agitation, hyperactivity, restlessness may indicate masked depression

Case management involves the coordination of services and supports on behalf of an individual. This typically includes creating a case file and following a process to ensure delivery of services. A case is handled by a case manager or case team.

Intensive Case Management (ICM)
The ICM program is for seriously and persistently mentally ill and seriously emotionally disturbed consumers. The program is designed to increase the length of time spent in the community by reducing hospitalization through intensive interaction with the participants. Case workers assist consumers in developing and maintaining viable living, working and social situations in the community. The program is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Case workers have an average caseload of 12 clients.

The Supportive Case Management (SCM)
The SCM program is a variant of the Intensive Case Management program and provides services to individuals who require less support than ICM consumers. SCM is designed to coordinate services and supports for people with mental illness to enable them to live successfully in the community. SCM services are based on the rehabilitation-oriented case management approach. Services are provided by professionals who assist consumers in developing and maintaining viable living, working and social situations in the community. Crisis intervention services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Managers carry an average caseload of either 20 clients or 30 clients.

Blended Case Management
The "Blended" Case Management program is for seriously and persistently mentally ill individuals, intended to increase time spent in the community by avoiding unnecessary hospitalization. Case management is provided by professionals who assist program participants in developing and maintaining viable living, working and social situations in the community. The state participation rate is 100 percent.

The "Blended" approach facilitates a team approach to case management services by combining the caseloads of multiple Intensive Case Management and Supportive Case Managers.

Adult Home Case Management
Case managers are expected to work in tandem with peer specialists as part of an integrated approach to addressing the needs of individuals residing in adult homes. This program is modeled after the Supportive Case Management program.