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Letter: People on the front lines deserve more state support

In our community and across New York State, we have been counting the number of deaths, the number of overdoses, the number of suicides but we don’t count the lives saved every day by the dedicated teams of counselors, medical staff and clinical assistants working in community-based agencies.

Unfortunately, we are not counting the times these dedicated people prevent a suicide, reverse an overdose, or assist a patient or family in crisis. This work is rewarding but it is also exhausting and, often times, heartbreaking.

Behavioral health needs parity with other sectors of health care.

Our reimbursement rates are far below the cost of care and have not been adjusted in several years.

We cannot continue to operate and respond to the needs of the community without a stable, dedicated and adequately compensated workforce.

We know that treatment is effective. When people are treated for their behavioral health conditions, their physical health conditions improve.

We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature in the past several years to invest in treatment and recovery services. Unfortunately, more is needed.

We need a commitment that community-based treatment, and recovery programs will be infused with significant additional funding to meet demand, keep place with basic inflation, upgrade our infrastructure and to stabilize our workforce. The people on the front lines of literally saving lives deserve more.

Anne Constantino


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