NYJL Legislative Leadership Today: Advocates for Public Policy Committee (APP) Supports the Reintroduction of the Michelle Alyssa Go Act

(Left to right) APP Member Helen Scott Ching, Congressman Dan Goldman, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, President of the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice Francis Greenburger, APP Co-Chair Nicole Veno, Social Action & Advocacy Council Head Moriah Lutz-Tveite

On January 19, Congressman Dan Goldman (NY-10) announced his plan to re-introduce the Michelle Alyssa Go Act during a press conference at the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice in New York City, where members of APP attended in support.  Rep. Goldman was joined by former Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Jerry Nadler (NY-12), Assemblymember Grace Lee (D-65), representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City, The Treatment Advocacy Center, and Councilmembers Erik Bottcher, Carlina Rivera, and Keith Powers. 

This federal bill is intended to expand access to mental health services for the most vulnerable and in need populations in New York City.  It would repeal the Medicaid institutions for mental disease exclusion which currently prevents mental health providers from receiving federal Medicaid reimbursement for more than 16 psychiatric beds and would allow facilities with more than 16 beds to admit patients between the ages of 21 and 64 with severe mental illnesses to receive inpatient treatment.  

Although each of APP’s advocacy accomplishments over the decades speaks to the NYJL’s commitment to sustainable change for the populations it serves and to the broader public good, the choice to support the Michelle Alyssa Go Act and to select mental health and community safety as two of its four focus areas for advocacy this year is in no small part due to the tragic death of long-time NYJL member, Michelle Go, in January 2022. 

Michelle’s legacy with the NYJL spans over 10 years before her passing.  Michelle specifically chose to spend her 10+ years with the NYJL working face to face with those in greatest need and she was highly focused on wanting to make a lasting impact for change with these populations.  Her volunteer legacy includes working on a preventative health education initiative with the NYJL’s Children’s Education, Health and Welfare Council and teaching adults life skills to become healthy, productive citizens with the Adult Education and Mentoring Council.  Michelle is remembered by those who had the pleasure of knowing her as a friendly, generous person, who always had a smile on her face. 

NYJL President Serra Eken says, “It seems more than fitting that the proposed legislation – the Michelle Alyssa Go Act – would create a required standard for institutions to meet nationally recognized, evidence-based standards for mental health or substance use disorder programs, in addition to removing barriers for the most vulnerable of populations.

The NYJL thanks Congresswoman Maloney for her initial championing of the Michelle Alyssa Go act as well as Congressman Goldman for serving as the bill’s new sponsor. 

Legislation such as this will afford adequate, consistent care to those in greatest need and improve the community for all New Yorkers. 

The Michelle Alyssa Go Act is a critical first step in finding resolve and we appreciate that Michelle Go and her dedication to serving the community can be honored in this way.”

APP advocates in support of legislation and policy initiatives furthering the NYJL’s work for women, children, and families in New York. Committee members research proposed legislation, educate fellow Committee members on their research, coordinate educational events for the NYJL’s membership on these issues, and advocate virtually or in person on legislation or issues.  APP hosts Advocacy Day in which attendees are trained on how to communicate with government officials on behalf of the bills that the NYJL and the Committee are supporting that year.  

For more information on the Advocates for Public Policy Committee and the New York Junior League’s advocacy for women, children, and families, visit nyjl.org/advocacy/.