ALBANY — The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), has allocated $894,725 for the expansion of behavioral health services in Steuben, Allegany, and Livingston counties, the state announced this week. The funding from the 2014-15 budget will enable the counties to enrich their mental health services, with a focus on crisis and mobile services to prevent avoidable inpatient admissions and divert individuals to the appropriate community-based services and supports.

In June 2013, St. James Mercy Hospital announced its intention to close its inpatient psychiatric unit. As part of the 2014-2015 state budget process, OMH and the New York State Department of Health (DOH), proposed reinvestment of Medicaid savings associated with the reduction of available inpatient mental health beds at St. James Mercy Hospital. This approved reinvestment reflects collaborative planning between the OMH, DOH, the impacted counties and local mental health service providers.

The following funding amounts were awarded to the three counties:

• Steuben County — $490,000 to develop a multifaceted approach around enhanced mobile crisis outreach. Supporting services include enhanced family support, bridger care management, county-targeted mental health response and training for local law enforcement.

• Allegany County — $95,000 to create intensive interventions services. These services include community-based assessment, development of crisis plans, and frequent face-to-face intervention for adults at high risk of hospitalization.

• Livingston County — $59,725 to support starting a mental health clinic satellite in an area impacted by the hospital closure, and the planned hiring of a crisis intervention specialist who will partner with other county agencies that serve high-risk populations.

Additionally, all three counties will share $250,000 for the creation of a Tri-County Home Based Crisis Intervention (HBCI) program for youth aged 5 to 21. The HBCI program will provide intensive in-home crisis intervention for families whose children are at risk of inpatient admission within the three county area.