GNYHA herein provides an update on our ongoing efforts to assist the behavioral health population. A major effort is now underway to decant Article 28 inpatient psychiatric units to free up medical surge space. Additional efforts are progressing to plan for the continuity of care for behavioral health patients who do not require inpatient hospital services. All members are strongly encouraged to use telehealth options, both video and telephone services, which are reimbursable. Please regularly check the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), and Department of Health for the most current COVID-19 guidance for Medicaid providers.

New York State Free Mental Health Hotline

New York has established a free mental health hotline that is staffed by mental health provider volunteers. Individuals who require mental health support can be directed to the hotline at 844-863-9314 to schedule an appointment. The hotline is not in lieu of regular discharge planning requirements.

Office of Mental Health

GNYHA is working closely with OMH to develop capacity in State Psychiatric Centers and to accept Article 28 psychiatric patients who continue to require inpatient care. Planning is ongoing and further information will be provided as soon as it is available.

Office of Addiction Supports and Services

All hospitals suspending inpatient detoxification and rehab services are required to notify the OASAS central office and regional offices by e-mail (contact information is below). Hospitals remain responsible for ensuring the safe discharge of patients.

OASAS contact information:

OASAS has received Federal waiver approval permitting Outpatient Treatment Program providers to modify methadone dispensing practices related to COVID-19. Regarding take-home medications, all patients who have chronic medical conditions and/or who are otherwise vulnerable to infection should be given up to a 28-day supply of their take-home medication using the Federal eight-point criteria as a guide and employing a risk/benefit analysis that compares the risk of diversion against the risks of infecting the patient with COVID-19 and transmitting the virus to staff and other patients. Please see OASAS’s FAQ for additional information and guidance.

Additional General Discharge Planning Operations Under Development

GNYHA is working with many agencies to identify hotel resources in New York City for individuals who are appropriate for discharge and who cannot return home. The hotel operation will accommodate more than the behavioral health population. Planning continues, and further information will be provided as soon as it is available.

Please contact me with any questions or if I can be of assistance. If you have any difficulty reaching me, please use GNYHA’s special COVID-19 contact points, which are constantly monitored:


Thank you for all you of your efforts.