November-December 2018


There has been continuing activity on both old and new projects as the year draws to a close!

Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee:

Dr. Minkoff worked with the non-federal members of ISMICC to help organize several activities to support the implementation of the ISMICC recommendations, including planning for the second full ISMICC meeting of 2018, which was held at SAMHSA on December 11. The meeting was very successful and provided an opportunity for ISMICC members to interact with the interdepartmental workgroups which are making progress on implementation of the ISMICC recommendations (ISMICC report). Assistant Secretary McKance-Katz has proposed further engagement of ISMICC members with the workgroups during 2019, having both two quarterly teleconference meetings in addition to the two in-person meetings.   The non-federal ISMICC members are working on a report on the progress of ISMICC implementation which is intended to be completed in early 2019.

Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP) – Committee on Psychiatry and the Community:

Dr. Minkoff is co-chair of the committee, with Dr. Jackie Feldman. At the fall GAP meeting (Nov 8-10), the Committee made considerable progress on its report on the criteria for an ideal crisis system.   A plan was developed for putting together an initial draft for review by stakeholders, with Dr. Feldman, Dr. Balfour, and Dr. Minkoff meeting in Tucson at the end of February to coordinate the contributions from the entire Committee. It is anticipated that the review draft will be available in March, 2019.

National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare: ZiaPartners is an Affiliate Member of National Council, and Dr. Minkoff is a member of the Medical Director’s Institute. ZiaPartners has committed to two presentations at the NATCON conference in Nashville in March: A pre-conference institute on co-occurring disorder service implementation on March 24, and a presentation on the criteria for designing and implementing an Ideal Crisis System (with Dr. Margaret Balfour from Connections AZ) on March 25.


Institute on Co-occurring Disorder Service Implementation

Defining the Ideal Crisis System

College for Behavioral Health Leadership – As a Board member, Dr. Minkoff has been contributing to launching a new set of CBHL activities that will allow the organization to operate on a much bigger scale and will attract resources for the development of materials to “make leaders better” across multiple sectors and boundaries within the universe of Behavioral Health service delivery. Dr. Minkoff will be working on helping to seek funding to support the “big new vision” for the organization.

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) – Dr. Minkoff was contracted by NASMHPD to prepare one of its 2019 concept papers (funded by SAMHSA) on developing integrated systems and services for individuals with co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Dr. Minkoff will be working on this project with Nancy Covell of the Center for Practice Improvement at Columbia. The paper is due to be completed by June.

American Association of Community PsychiatristsDrs. Minkoff and Cline worked during December to plan the Winter Board meeting of AACP in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The meeting will be held from January 31-February 2 and will involve AACP working with the entire community on how to improve Mental Health services on this tiny island (Population 10,000) that has experienced considerable trauma.   Planning for the event has involved a series of meeting with community representatives and a consulting psychiatrist group called Crear Con Salud, one of whose members is an AACP Board Member.

Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute:   Dr. Cline and Dr. Minkoff attended the MMHPI full staff meeting in Austin on December 5-6, and did a presentation, with Dr. Seema Shah, on the experiences of individuals with serious mental illnesses to help non-clinical staff have a better understanding of the impact of Mental Health policies. ZiaPartners also continued active involvement in multiple projects and activities conducted by MMHPI, as follows:

  • Finalizing the Houston Endowment Substance Use Disorder System report following submission of the first draft to the funder.
  • Coordinating with the Local Systems team regarding how to best support progress in a variety of local system consultations
  • Working with Dr. Seema Shah to discuss statewide efforts to improve primary health/behavioral health integration for children, and to develop statewide academic partnerships regarding research and services.
  • Participating with Sam Shore on the HHSC-MMHPI workgroup on Substance Use Disorder services, focusing on data accuracy and policy recommendations for sober living and expansion of Opioid Use Disorder services.
  • Supporting implementation of a Texas TA team to work with the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry on statewide TA for MAT, as part of the national STR-TA initiative.
  • Working on the development of materials for the next phase of Okay to Say: (Okay to Share; Okay to Care).

Follow MMHPI at

While visiting Texas, ZiaPartners also met with Sonja Gaines, Deputy Commissioner for Behavioral Health at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, to discuss support for HHSC efforts at interdepartmental coordination as well as the implementation of integrated MH/SUD/DD/BI services.

Mid-Hudson (NY) Region Co-occurring Initiative: There was a very successful conference on November 13 for co-occurring capability implementation teams from all seven counties in the region, with approximately 150 people in attendance. Each County was able to develop an implementation plan for continued progress with using the COMPASS-EZ across county services to improve co-occurring capability. Individual county meetings with Westchester and Putnam County leadership and providers on November 14 resulted in a much more granular discussion on how EACH agency could identify and address its own improvement opportunities across multiple programs based on its experience with the COMPASS-EZ, as well as developing a framework for how the county co-occurring coordinators and steering committees could support that continuing progress in an organized fashion.   ZiaPartners is very appreciative of the amazing work on this project by Marcie Colon of the Mid-Hudson Region and Stephanie Marquesano of The Harris Project, as well as the 7 County Behavioral Health leaders.

Iowa East Central Region: ZiaPartners initiated a consultation activity with the MHDS East Central Region (including 9 counties with three regional hubs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Dubuque). This has involved a specific focus on working with the Dubuque hub to plan their network of Access Center services, and then to engage the Access Center planning groups in Johnson County (Iowa City) and Linn County (Cedar Rapids). During November and December, Dr. Cline and Dr. Minkoff had a series of teleconferences to meet the main participants in the Access Center planning process in order to develop a framework for how to support the development of successful crisis services in Iowa.

Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI): ZiaPartners began a consultation project with GOBHI to implement co-occurring services and assist with Substance Use Disorders system redesign in the regions for which GOBHI is a Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) under the Oregon Health Authority (three counties in NW Oregon as well as most of Eastern Oregon). The opening phases of this project involve reviewing a comprehensive set of materials that define GOBHI’s functioning as a CCO, video conferencing with GOBHI leadership to understand their challenges and opportunities, understanding the current landscape regarding CCO re-contracting in Oregon, and preparing for an onsite planning visit with GOBHI leadership in The Dalles on February 13. This will permit detailed planning for an implementation launch at the GOBHI annual provider conference in May.

Equine Assisted Therapies and Activities:   ZiaPartners was awarded a competitive bid to help multiple organizations involved with equine assisted therapies and activities to come together to develop a common language for the entire field. This three-day meeting is scheduled for July 2019.

CALM:   Following our final on-site consultation visit in Santa Barbara on October 29-30, ZiaPartners has worked with CALM leadership on a continuing support plan for the remaining resources in our consultation contract to extend through 2019. CALM has made dramatic progress in the course of our consultation, and the results of their organization’s commitment to healthier organization culture, involving both clinical and business practice, are really taking hold at all levels.

Tennessee Co-occurring Strategic Initiative: Dr. Minkoff presented a series of three webinars to engage new participants in the statewide co-occurring capability development process, particularly Substance Use Disorder programs working with criminal justice.

Vermont Co-operative for Practice Improvement and Innovation (VCPI): Dr. Minkoff continues working with the VCPI leadership team to develop a working leadership and operations structure for VCPI. ZiaPartners is also a subcontractor along with VCPI on a proposal submitted by Vermont Care Partners to Vermont Department of Mental Health to expand co-occurring Mental Health/Substance Use Disorder services, with a focus on adults with Serious Mental Illness and Opioid Use Disorder.

Common Ground: Continued consultation to assist in the development of improved capacity for Common Ground to deliver the highest possible quality comprehensive crisis service array in Oakland County, Michigan.

Silver Hill Hospital – ZiaPartners has contracted with Silver Hill (located in New Canaan, CT) to assist with continuing implementation of the transformational recommendations from our April visit, to implement a collaborative culture to facilitate admissions, transitions, and staff engagement. Following our on-site visit in September, Silver Hill has engaged a new CEO, and we will be communicating with the new CEO regarding our ongoing involvement.

Missouri Foundation for Health: ZiaPartners organized a team (including TriWest, Lynfro Consulting, and Joe Parks, MD from The National Council) to respond to an RFP released by MFFH for a statewide analysis of the Missouri Behavioral Health System.   This proposal is under review and if accepted, the project will begin in 2019.


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