Outpatient Mental Health Clinics: Back in Business

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Corporate billing is accomplished under one group as opposed to each individual provider.
  3. 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.
  4. In a poor economy, more and more attention is given to mental health care because of the hopelessness and desperation many people are experiencing.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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