Telephone:  845-956-NAMI (6264) 
                                                  Toll-free:   1-866-906-NAMI (6264)

                                               FaceBook:   NAMI Orange County, NY
                                               FaceBook:  NAMI Orange Discussion Group


regarding Medicare

Upcoming Events/Outreaches

See details
of upcoming NAMI
meetings and courses by clicking links below:

Upcoming Courses:

On-going Meetings:

NAMI Connection
a peer-led support group for adults living with a
mental illness.
PLEASE NOTE: these meetings are on a temporary hold. We will post here when the weekly meetings will resume.

NAMI Education Mtg.
There are no Education Meetings in Jan., or Feb.

Wed., January 30
6:30 p.m.
MHA Family & Friends Plus
Social Group

Please RSVP
Peggy 342-2400
Ext. 1238

6:30 p.m.
Please note:
new time and day

NAMI Family Support Group

no fee
no registration

Tues., February 12,
9 am-3 pm
NAMI-NYS Legislative Action Day

Mon., Feb 18
7 p.m. p.m.
NAMI Family Support Group
ORMC, Middletown
no fee
no registration

Thurs., Feb. 21
7 p.m.
MHA Family & Friends Together

June 19-22
2019 NAMI National Convention
in Seattle

 NAMI Presentations:

  -Ending the Silence

-In Our Own Voice

arranged by request

*Click on above
 links for details


*For information on public policy and advocacy issues:

                                          ACT TEAM

The ACT team was developed to serve the most serious and persistent mentally ill (SPMI) individuals in Orange County. These are individuals who have failed at other treatment programs. This program had been extremely effective as evidenced across many outcome measures including improved quality of life, reduced risk of incarceration, reduced risk of re-hospitalization and reduced risk of harm to self and others. The ACT program not only works to improve lives, but also saves the system institutionalization related costs by reducing jail and inpatient stay. It is a shame and counter-productive that this program is targeted for closure. Current and former patients who have graduated from the program will tell you their stories of how the ACT team is and was a “difference maker” in their lives.

UPDATE: Due to cutbacks, the ACT Team had been operating with fewer staff and was scheduled for a restructuring which could have had a severe negative impact on the continuity of care for many people receiving services in Orange and Sullivan Counties.

After advocacy efforts by Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther, Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Darcie Miller, NAMI Orange and many others, Office of Mental Health has committed to not only keeping the current ACT team members, but to also adding  more positions to increase access and availability for those needing service.


NAMI-NYS 2019 Legislative Action Day

Tuesday, February 12, 2019    9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Meeting Room 6, Empire State Plaza Concourse, Albany, NY

Join advocates from throughout New York State as we come together to tell our stories and make our voices heard during one of the most important legislative sessions in shaping the future delivery of mental health services.

       NAMI-NYS 2019 Legislation Action Agenda
  • Access to Appropriate Services and Medication

  • Continued Investments in Community Services and the Mental Health Workforce

  • Mental Health Housing With Wraparound Support Services

  • Improve the Criminal Justice–Mental Illness Interface

  • Enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO)

  • Expand Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran’s Mental Health Program


BIH is group of community-based supportive housing providers, mental health advocates, faith leaders, & consumers & their families, demanding adequate funding.

Bring It Home NAMI-NYSNAMI-NYS Bring It Home

Visit  to discover more facts and to learn how you can support the Bring It Home campaign which calls for increased financial support for New York's Mental Health Housing Programs.

NYS License Plate (photo credit: News10 ABC)

Specialty License Plates
for Mental Health Awareness
Click above link to NYS Department of Motor Vehicle

The governor has signed into law Bill #A.06216B sponsored by Aileen Gunther which creates a specialty license plate stating, "Healthy Mind, Healthy NY"

            How New Medicare Rule Proposals
               Affect People with Mental Illness

        excerpts from NAMI Advocacy and Public Policy Team

In November, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule<> that would impact Medicare coverage of prescription drugs. In January, 2019, we will distribute template comments specific to our areas of concern, but in the meantime, NAMI's partner organizations may reach out your NAMI State Organization or Affiliate to sign on to letters or encourage action regarding this proposed change or others.

To help determine if signing on or engaging is appropriate, you'll find more information on these changes and the areas that impact people with mental illness below.

Background on Medicare and Mental Illness
Medicare, unlike Medicaid, is entirely funded by the federal government. It provides health coverage to older Americans and to adults with disabilities. Many older adults on Medicare have mental health conditions. In addition, there are millions of younger adults who are on Medicare because they have a psychiatric disability.

Medicare is made up of "parts" that cover different benefits:

* Part A: Hospital care, short-term skilled nursing, home health services, hospice
* Part B: Health care professionals, outpatient and preventive care, some medical equipment and supplies
* Part C: Medicare Advantage-an alternative coverage option that covers both part A and B benefits, and often includes part D prescription benefits
Part D: Prescription drugs

What are the "6 protected classes" in Medicare Part D?
Medicare Part D provides drug coverage for 43 million seniors and adults with disabilities. Today, Part D plans must cover "all or substantially all" drugs in six classes, including:

1. Anticonvulsants (often prescribed for epilepsy)
2. Antidepressants
3. Antineoplastics (prescribed for cancer)
4. Antipsychotics
5. Antiretrovirals (prescribed for HIV/AIDS)
6. Immunosuppressants (prescribed for transplants)

These six protected classes were created to ensure people with conditions treated by these medications are not discriminated against, as well as to ensure access to a range of options that meet individual needs.

What is CMS proposing to change?
CMS is proposing a number of changes to how Medicare pays for drugs. Of these proposals, NAMI is concerned that the following will negatively affect people with mental illness:

Medicare Advantage (Part C) changes

* Step therapy for Part B drugs
NAMI has a long-standing policy of opposing step therapy for mental health medications. The proposed rule would put into regulation what CMS already allowed in an Aug. 7, 2018 memo-allowing Medicare Advantage plans to implement step therapy for drugs covered under Part B.

What drugs are covered under Part B? Part B covers drugs that have to be administered intravenously, such as chemotherapy. One long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotic is also covered by Part B, while newer LAIs are covered under Part D.

Part D changes

* Prior authorization and step therapy in the six protected classes

CMS is proposing changes that would allow plans to use prior authorization and step therapy more widely in the six protected classes, even for people who are stable on their current medication. NAMI opposes this rule change, which would cause dangerous disruptions in treatment for millions of Medicare enrollees with mental illness.

* Restrictions on new formulations of drugs

The new rule would allow Part D plans to not cover new formulations of existing drugs, such as the long-acting injectable form of an antipsychotic or a new extended release formula. NAMI opposes this rule change, which would limit important innovations that make medications easier to take, better tolerated, or better tailored to a specific condition.

* Price increases above inflation

The new rule would allow plans, starting in January 2020, to exclude coverage of drugs, including "protected class" antipsychotics and antidepressants, if their wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) rose more quickly than general, not medical, inflation. General inflation generally rises more slowly than inflation for medical goods or services. This change could result in people not having access to needed medications and experience harmful disruption in their treatment.

What you can do
Comment on the proposed rule: Your voices on this issue matter. NAMI will distribute template comments specific to these areas of concern and instructions for submitting comments in early January which you can use to let CMS know about our concerns regarding the proposed rule.

Sign on to coalition letters: You are encouraged to sign on to coalition letters on this rule, provided the letters appropriately represent NAMI's position(s). As always, if you are not sure or would like advice, feel free to reach out to Hannah Wesolowski, director of advocacy, at

Note: Separately, CMS is asking for comments on options for changing payment for Part B drugs to more closely align with international prices. If you're contacted about this issue, please reach out to Hannah Wesolowski, director of advocacy, at

Mental Illness

learn about federal bills that pertain to mental illness 

We Need  To Do More
Than Just Talk About Mental lllness

opinion article in "The Hill" (December 11, 2017)
by Dr. Herbert Pardes

NAMI-NYS Anylasis of 2015-2016 NYS Budget Agreement


Highlights Include:

Housing Investments

Expansion of CIT

Restoration of Prescriber Prevails

Criminal Justice Initiatives

Investment in Community Services

On Sunday, March 29th, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders Assemblyman Carl Heastie and Senators Dean Skelos and Jeffery Klein reached an agreement for the FY 2015-16 budget. State legislators are expected to approve the budget deal before the April 1st deadline.


NAMI-NYS is extremely encouraged about many aspects of the budget agreement. Highlights include an investment in housing, several criminal justice initiatives including CIT expansion and the restoration of precribers prevails. This is one of the strongest budgets for mental health services in many years.