By: Tamar Shtrambrand

CAPS at Bikur Cholim of Monsey has reached a new milestone in its growth and development as a center for provision of a multitude of high quality mental health care services to the frum communities in Monsey. The popular and ever-growing mental health facility recently received a federal grant which expands it into a CCBHC (Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic). This grant and new title widens the spectrum of services that CAPS can provide for the community. In addition, as a CCBHC, CAPS’ role as a traditional outpatient community mental health clinic broadens to provide more than traditional psychotherapy services to accommodate the diverse mental health needs of the Monsey frum community.

In March 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, with inclusion of a demonstration program modeled by the Excellence in Mental Health Act. The goal was to increase American’s access to community mental health and substance use treatment services with improved Medicaid coverage for these services (thenationalcouncil.org). The government plans to spend more than $1 billion towards this goal, making it in the largest federal investment in mental health and addiction services in recent history. Establishment of “Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics” is one component of the Excellence in Mental Health Act. The definition of CCBHCs according to this act is “entities designed to serve individuals with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders that provide intensive, person-centered, multidisciplinary, evidence-based screening assessment, diagnostics, treatment, prevention, and wellness services (thenationalcouncil.org).”

In December 2016, eight states were initially selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to participate in the endeavor of creating CCHBCs, including Minnseota, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. One of the requirements for an organization to apply and qualify for a CCBHC grant is OASAS certification, which certifies the organization to provide provide Chemical Dependence Outpatient services, which is a certification and provision which CAPS currently has. There are currently only 70 CCBHCs nationwide, and only 13 in New York State. CAPS is the first mental health clinic selected which services mainly a large ultra-orthodox population as its main target population. It is also one of the smallest organizations in NYS to become a CCBHC.

On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, CAPS held a clinic-wide training to all its office staff and providers. The goal of the training was to describe the new services CAPS would be providing under the CCBHC grant, to explain the new and expanded role of CAPS as a CCBHC, and changes in billing and documentation that would occur in the CAPS Electronic Medical Records system as a CCBHC. Several new services include case management, peer support, nursing care, and psychiatric rehabilitation. Earlier services already being provided will continue, in addition to the newer services that will be included by CAPS as a CCBHC.

The transition to a CCBHC also resulted in shifting of supervisory roles held by various staff, and addition of some new staff. Dr. Isaac Schechter, PhD, has been the long-time Clinical Director and Manager of CAPS. He is transitioning to a new role as the CCO (Chief Clinical Officer) of CAPS. Dr. Jonathan Frohlich, PhD recently began working as the new Clinical Director and Manager of CAPS in place of the Dr. Schechter’s former role. Dr. Frohlich is a well-known and popular psychotherapist, and has worked on staff at Yeshiva University’s Psychology Department. He brings a wealth of professional experience, knowledge and skills to his new position at CAPS.

The new Jewish year for CAPS is ripe with change and opportunity for even greater growth than ever afforded in the past on its new journey as a CCBHC serving the frum communities in Rockland County.

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