Friends of Recovery New York (FOR-NY), the statewide Recovery Addiction Advocacy not for profit remains committed to confront discrimination and to educate decision makers and the general public by advocating for access to addiction treatment, support for and expansion of regionally located recovery centers and the use of recovery coaches to provide peer driven, recovery support services. We therefore, urge the NYS Legislature and Administration to consider and act on the following:

Access to Treatment

Discrimination against those with addiction illnesses continues to permeate insurance law and authorization practice(s) in New York. These practices are especially evident in inpatient rehabilitation coverage. Guised under the various elusive definitions of “medical necessity”, insurers repeatedly prohibit authorization for inpatient addiction treatment and in rare cases where treatment is authorized, severely limit the length of stay allowed.

FOR-NY encourages support for pro-active legislation similar to the existing Pennsylvania Act 106 (1989). This legislation justly appoints addiction treatment professionals as the sole authority in certifying the need when treatment is indicated, as well as determining the duration of the individual’s treatment. The existing system with insurance companies making dollar driven decisions has often denied life-saving treatment and contributed to numerous preventable deaths and a cycle of short-term abstinence and relapse, draining our state of vital resources.

Reinvestment and Recovery Services

FOR-NY strongly urges reinvestment of resources into recovery support services including; Recovery Centers, Recovery Coaches, Recovery Community Organizations.

Funding should be earmarked to support existing Recovery Community Organizations and to assist in the creation of additional regional organizations across the state.

Financial support in the form of seed money to help ensure the establishment of regional and local recovery centers which focus heavily on the use of peers to help the newly recovered establish strong recovery foundations in their local communities.

Recovery Centers are widespread in nearby states like Vermont and Connecticut and have proven to have great economic value. Then centers serve as clearinghouses for all addiction and recovery related matters, assisting with reintegration to society with a focus on relapse prevention and a host of recovery support services such as; housing, vocational assistance, parenting skills, clothing, healthcare, legal and educational supports and other life skills training delivered by peers whenever possible.

The full integration of recovery coaches into the recovery-oriented system of care adopted by NY State OASAS will go a long way to help rebuild families prevent relapse and save dollars. Recovery coaches are trained and soon to be certified support specialists who bring a wealth of personal recovery experience (either their own, that of a family member or friend) to bear in assisting the newly recovered to remove barriers and navigate obstacles to recovery. Coaches can expedite processes and connect a recoveree to vital support services proven to reduce the chance of relapse and save both lives and dollars. Recovery coaches help to prevent relapse and greatly improve the chances of sustained recovery, lowering the typical costs to the healthcare and criminal justice systems.

Discrimination remains the single largest barrier to recovery, blocking access to life-changing treatment and successful outcomes for individuals and their family members seeking help. By working with our constituency and supporting these pro-active measures that will save lives and dollars, FOR-NY with the support of the NY State Legislature and the Governor’s office will continue to address important issues affecting those with addiction issues and their family members.