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New York Trains Counselors to Treat Dual Diagnosis

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New York’s Medicaid program has long hindered comprehensive treatment for people with co-occurring addiction and mental-health problems, but now the state is training more counselors to provide services to dually diagnosed patients, the Associated Press reported Jan. 11.

The state’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services and the Office of Mental Health are working together to address a problem that affects 90 percent of individuals with both addiction and mental illness. Medicaid won’t pay for both types of treatment simultaneously, so a $3.2-million grant from the National Development and Research Institutes is being used to train addiction counselors to address mental illness, and vice-versa.

“It is finally taking a person-centered approach to care, and saying emphatically, ’If you need treatment for a dual diagnosis, you will get it,’” said Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, commissioner of the state Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services.

New York’s addiction and mental-health screening, assessment, rehabilitation, discharge and aftercare programs also are being overhauled. Services will be integrated at 1,223 licensed addiction and mental-health outpatient programs statewide.

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