Mental Health Staffing

Standard Assessment
1. Client care is overseen by a licensed mental health professional.
  1. The clinical directory of the mental health program has the following:
    • Masters or Doctorate in social work, psychology, or psychiatric nursing, or MD who is board eligible or certified in psychiatry; and
    • License/certification to practice in the respective discipline in NYS; and
    • Clinical training and experience with clients with mental illness (preferably additional experience working with PLWHAs and those with substance use issues).
  2. The clinical director ensures the following:
    • Oversight of the development of mental health and HIV policies, protocols, and systems for care coordination;
    • Education and supervision of staff and consultation to other mental health and HIV providers;
    • Clinical competency of staff, including assessments, treatment and documentation;
    • Case conferencing;
    • Review and sign off by licensed staff on all documentation;
    • Oversight of the mental health quality improvement program in the agency; and
    • Accountability for mental health resources and planning, and for general program implementation and evaluation (including AIRS and fiscal reports).
2. Psychiatric services are provided by a qualified psychiatrist.
  1. The mental health program employs or has evidence of a collaborative relationship with a NYS licensed, board eligible or certified psychiatrist, to ensure that clients needing psychiatric services do not have to wait for initial appointments.
  2. The psychiatrist's education and experience focuses on the program's targeted population.
  3. The psychiatrist's responsibilities include:
    • Case consultation with all staff involved with client care;
    • Review and sign-off of diagnostic evaluations conducted by him/her
    • Medication evaluation, initiation and management.
3. Mental health care is provided by qualified mental health professionals.
  1. Members of the clinical team are:
    • Licensed/certified to practice as mental health professionals in NYS, including Psychiatrists, Psychologists, physicians with a specialty in psychiatry, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, Masters prepared Psychiatric Registered Nurses, and/or Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs). If Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) and graduate social work students are part of the clinical team, they are regularly supervised by a licensed mental health professional, as defined by the New York State Department of Education Office of the Professions.
    • Trained and experienced with clients with mental illness; and
    • Trained in HIV-related issues, including partner notification and disclosure, HIV and psychotropic treatment adherence, treating the triply diagnosed, etc.
  2. A credentialing process is used to verify that staff have required certification or licensure, references and recommendation, and clinical training and experience in working with clients who have mental illness and substance use (preference should be given to those who also have experience working with PLWAs).
4. Staff is ensured education in professional development programs and clinical supervision.
  1. Staff participates in continuing education in mental health and HIV issues.
  2. Training topics are based on assessment of the educational needs of clinical staff and relevance to program services.
  3. There is evidence of administrative support for clinical education through:
    • Time off for educational activities and/or scheduling of education sessions outside of clinical hours; and
    • Availability and access to educational training resources and materials.
5. Staff participates in all meetings and trainings as required by the AIDS Institute.
  1. Program staff participates in AIDS Institute events, which could include face-to-face provider meetings, workgroups, conference calls, web-based meetings, etc.