The Office of Mental Health (OMH) recently revised the application process to streamline the procedure for obtaining an outpatient mental health clinic operating certificate (New York Mental Hygiene – Article 31) making it possible to obtain approvals again in areas of need. The approval process has always been there, but the OMH simply stopped processing applications for a while.
The strengths of the Article 31s are:
- Outpatient mental health clinics can be owned by someone other than a doctor (non professional), however similar to an Article 28 Diagnostic and Treatment center, there are regulations regarding the staff needed to run the clinic.
- Corporate billing is accomplished under one group as opposed to each individual provider.
- Mental health care provides expansion for other areas of practice if desired by the owner/operator. This is because other health care fields such as drug detox and pain management clinics need mental health clinics in order to grow. This is because after a certain number of visits, they cannot prescribe controlled substances without sending the clients to a mental health office/facility. Mental Health Care clinics also work with other existing programs and hospitals.
- In a poor economy, more and more attention is given to mental health care because of the hopelessness and desperation many people are experiencing.
- The overhead for a mental health clinic is low as there is no need for specialized diagnostic or durable medical equipment. Treatment rooms are used for talking and discussion.
- The pre-approval application process consists of a visit to a field office to pitch the clinic project idea and go over the preliminary proposal. The pre-approval gives an early indication of whether the project will be accepted by the Office of Mental Health. If the pre-approval board give the project a “thumbs up,” the applicant can go ahead and file their full application electronically. For an Article 28 D&T center, the applicant must go through the full application process and then wait to find out if it will be accepted or not.