SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Providers, like Helio Health in Syracuse, were notified at the end of June that New York State withheld funding and mental health advocates are fearing that could mean people in need of help won’t be getting it.
The withheld funds total $5.5 million affecting dozens of mental health and addiction care services across New York ranging from detox and drug treatment to mental health counseling and housing.
President and CEO of Helio Health Inc., Jeremy Klemanski says they are working hard to convince their partners in state government that this decision is “a deadly deadly public policy decision”.
New York State is facing a massive deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and according to Klemanski, providers like Helio Health were asked to cut back 20…even 30 percent.
“We’re seeing massive spikes in overdoses across the state and suicides as well so a tremendous concern at a time when the need is greatest with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic to have funds withheld it puts a tremendous strain the behavioral health treatment system across the state,” says Klemanski.
While Klemanski says Helio Health is still gauging the impact of the withheld funds, he worries, if the federal government doesn’t help New York that these temporary reductions could become permanent.
He said, “It will force some of us, if these withholds are carried into the 4th quarter, to evaluate reductions in services and possibly even layoffs in some program settings or in extreme situations you could even be talking about program closures.”
Leaving many of New York’s most vulnerable without the help they need.
Right now Helio Health’s programs are operating as usual.
If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, depression or mental health, help is available. Call 211 or visit 211CNY.com.