LIRA Newsletter 2011

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Long Island Recovery Association
PO Box 262 Franklin Square NY 11010-0262
Winter 2010-2011
On Saturday September 25th, 2010 LIRA joined with local partners to host our 2nd Annual Rock N Recovery celebration at the Deer Park Community Center. A huge crowd turned out to
celebrate recovery and a number of political dignitaries presented proclamations and service awards to LIRA for National Recovery Month.

LIRA Event Committee members with Friend of Recovery Award Recipients, Suffolk County Legislator John Kennedy & his wife Leslie Kennedy RN
The Kennedy’s were chosen for their work on behalf of chemically dependent people and commitment to the recovery community, and both happen to be studying for the CASAC, NY State’s addiction professional credential. Congratulations to these two amazing friends of recovery.
LIRA was pleased to present two separate recovery community scholarship awards of $500.00 to Henry Dennis from Nassau County and Giovanni Ivaldi of Suffolk. Both of these men are inspirations in their own right and we also thank their nominators for such excellent choices.
LIRA presented an Appreciation Award to long time board member and former Vice President
Mary Callan who decided to step down from the board after many years of service. Just like she promised Mary continues to represent LIRA when needed and recently testified at the Medicaid Redesign Team hearing urging support for recovery centers and related services. Thank you Mary!
LIRA would like to acknowledge the following individuals and agencies for their time and energy helping to make this event a huge success: Suffolk County Division of Community Mental Hygiene, Nassau County Dept of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency & Developmental Disabilities, Town of Babylon Dept Alcohol &
Drugs; Nancy Beckett Lawless, Richard Buckman, Mary Callan, Gene Foley, Pat Fulton, Sheila Gackler. Larry Gise, Leo Hurley,
Eugenia Karahalias, Maxine Materowski Ed Olsen, Jeff Reynolds, Anthony Rizzuto Roseanne Slattery, Bruce Till,
In addition many local businesses donated funds or merchandise to help make the event a giant success. When given the choice we ask that you help say thanks to these friends of recovery by using their services or products whenever the opportunity arises. See complete donor listing enclosed.
LIRA continues to exist and do its work without any funding or grants, relying only on the support of our members and friends.
This year please consider supporting LIRA by making a 100% tax deductible contribution.
Please make checks payable to Friends of Recovery LI and mail to
PO Box 262 Franklin Square NY 11010-0262
Your support enables us to continue working to improve the lives of our friends and families.

LIRA remains an integral component of Friends of Recovery New York (FOR-NY).
Under the leadership of Laura Elliot EngelFOR-NY has expanded its board to include 13 members representing 15 counties across NY State. In the fall of 2010 FOR-NY received a $60,000 grant from OASAS to help coordinate statewide recovery community efforts. A search is underway to hire a field coordinator to help lead day to day operations
FOR-NY joined with NCADD, ASAP and OASAS to host the recovery celebration on Randalls Island last September that was a big success and attended by several thousand supporters. A statewide recovery rally and a family focused advocacy day are in the making for later this spring in the Albany area.
LIRA members remain active at the fore front of this issue with representation on all the key committees and teams as well as the statewide OASAS residential needs task force. With LIRA, LICAN and the Quality Consortium continuing to lead the way and demand action Suffolk County held two hearings on sober housing late in 2010 and the Suffolk Legislature assigned its Welfare to Work Commission to investigate the issue. The final Commission report to the Legislature was very thorough and embraced many of our pro-activeideas in its recommendations.
Following receipt of this report Legislator Kate Browning introduced a resolution requiring Suffolk DSS to offer an Request For Qualifications (RFQ) seeking an entity to oversee and coordinate housing operations receiving county money.
The selected outfit would be positioned to receive increased reimbursement rate of $500 per month from the $309 rate that has remain unchanged for nearly 40 years or they would receive $650 per month up from $448 which includes board. The RFQ was just released and while it is a step forward LIRA is disappointed with the end result as only
OASAS certified, not for profit programs are eligible. This narrow minded view falls way short of the mark or intent of our work and the spirit of discussions with regulatory agencies. The glaring omission of a mechanism to entice independent operators or others with considerable experience to partake once again highlights the disconnect between public officials and those with intimate knowledge and hands on experience with the everyday living conditions. LIRA remains committed to fighting this battle to improve safety and existing conditions for our folks and to ensure a broader based inclusion of good operators who have quietly been doing the right thing for years.
For the 2011-2012 legislative term power in the New York State Senate has reverted back to Republican control and we are hopeful that Long Island’s own Dean Skelos, the Senate Majority leader, will work closely with us on the issues that matter to the recovery community. Senator Skelos has reactivated the dormant Alcoholism & Drug Committee in the Senate and named Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx as chair. Meanwhile Assembly Speaker Silver has appointed Brooklyn Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz as chair of the Assembly Alcoholism and Drug Committee.
We look forward to continuing our work with Senator Tom Duane our true friend and a Recovery Champion.
With Governor Andrew Cuomo’s arrival in
Albany comes a host of changes and belt tightening initiatives including the designation of a Medicaid redesign team which is continuing to conduct hearings around the state. The team is charged with creating cost saving measures to trim waste and identify areas where cost effective changes can be made. Recovery advocates across the state have provided testimony in support of funding for recovery centers and related peer support services. We have also touted the research based significance of SBIRT alcohol screenings and we support a “carve out” of the behavioral healthcare component of Medicaid.
We remain steadfast in our belief that treatment authorization decisions should be made by addiction treatment professionals and not insurance companies. We continue to support an inpatient addiction treatment benefit requirement in existing insurance law.
LIRA would like to acknowledge United States Congressmen Jim Ramstad (R-MN)and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) for their outstanding leadership and personal commitment to chemically dependent individuals. Their combined efforts and dedication led to the passing of The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Treatment Equity Act; which has removed barriers and discriminatory practices for addiction treatment coverage. Both of these recovery giants will be sorely missed as they move on from the US House of Representatives having left behind a permanent imprint and recovery legacy within their distinguished public service careers.
LIRA congratulates newly appointed OASAS Commissioner Arlene Sanchez-Gonzalez, who left her behavioral health management position here in Nassau County for the new job. We are hopeful that Ms Sanchez remembers her Long Island roots and works with LIRA to help bring a sorely needed Recovery Center to Long Island in the near future.
Great speculation has been stirring in response to the Governors plan to consolidate state agencies and services and we anticipate that a potential merger of OMH and OASAS is more likely now then ever before.
While on the surface it appears to make sound fiscal we will continue to monitor these developments and be certain to weigh on to make certain that our issues and concerns are given proper priority and focus.
The just released budget defers funding for new recovery centers which is quite discouraging considering the cost effectiveness and these peer run.
The OASAS Recovery Implementation Team (RIT) continues to meet quarterly and the faith
based initiative is moving forward seeking to establish recovery centers in all 5 boroughs. We are pleased to be working with OASAS counsel Debbie Egel for the past year or so on a number of issues. Deb is a real friend of recovery and has brought great energy and a sincere passion to improving the lives of individuals in recovery.
OASAS has altered some if the requirements for Credentialed Alcoholism Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) hoping to recruit folks to consider becoming a NY State Qualified Healthcare Professional (QHP) as an addiction counselor.
Board member Maxine Materowski was appointed to the OASAS committee on healthcare reform.
Ed Olsen was elected Treasurer of NAADAC and also accepted a position for LIRA on the OASAS electronic record oversight team.
Larry Gise board member was elected President of the LI Addiction Counselors Association (AAPNY’s LI Region)
Board member Debbie Turkel-Nardozzi who is now an ordained minister.
Congratulations to these dedicated LIRA members and true friends of recovery.
LIRA plans to soon be hosting a “Night of Recovery” each month, providing access to recovery support services for individuals in and their families. Thanks to Seafield for generously donating their training center space for this worthy cause. Additional updates will be provided early this spring.
LIRA sends best wishes and heartfelt thanks to outgoing OASAS Commissioner KarenCarpenter-Palumbo, who embraced recovery and understood like few others have. Her contributions to the recovery community were meaningful and shall have a lasting effect on our future. Thank you and good luck Karen!

For over 11 years (LIRA) a 501 C 3 Not for Profit Corporation, has worked to advocate and protect the rights of individuals in recovery and their family members. We proudly acknowledge the selfless service, leadership and major contributions of the following members over the years. Stu Astor, Maureen Borkowski, Richard Buckman, Gary

Butchen, Mary Callan, Jim Devine, Joanne Devitt, Gene Foley, Larry Gise, Bernadette Hackett, Leo Hurley, Bert Johnson, Eugenia Karahalias, Nancy Becket Lawless, Maxine Materowski, Bobby Moore, Ed Olsen, Mary Quinn, Claudia Ragni, Anthony Rizutto, Peter Schweitzer, Mary Silberstein, Bruce Till, Debbie Turkel-Nardozzi

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