Press Releases: National Council Urges Congress to Support Mental Health, Addiction Disorders
Focuses Efforts on Three Legislative Priorities
Contact: Communications@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.7457.
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Washington, DC, July 18, 2011—To help improve the lives of people with mental illness and addiction disorders, more than 500 advocates are meeting tomorrow with their members of Congress to ask support for mental health and substance use treatment services that are under serious threat. The advocates, members of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council), say the services are essential to help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders live full and productive lives.
During the National Council’s 7th Annual Public Policy Institute and Hill Day on July 19-20, the advocates — including persons with mental and addictions disorders, families, community members and healthcare providers — are focusing their efforts on the following three legislative priorities:
- Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011 (S.539)—Urge representatives to cosponsor this bill to expand federal incentive payments for the adoption of health information to behavioral and mental health professionals, psychiatric hospitals, mental health treatment facilities and substance abuse treatment facilities. A study last year by Avalere Health found the bill would save the government more than $1.7 billion over 10 years by avoiding adverse drug-to-drug interactions and avoiding emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
- Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Centers—Seek support to create these centers to enable community behavioral health organizations to receive cost-based reimbursement for the essential services they provide to children and adults with mental health and substance use disorders. Also, ask for federal status for community behavioral health organizations and develop clearly defined national standards so these entities can address the growing need for services.
- Medicaid: Oppose cuts to Medicaid, the primary funding source for safety net mental health and addictions services. Vote against a Medicaid “blended rate” option that would severely reduce federal Medicaid and CHIP payments, and oppose any proposed spending caps and efforts to repeal the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort.
“We cannot afford to continue to enlarge the ever-widening holes in our country’s behavioral health safety net, a support system that people with mental health and substance use disorders rely on,” says Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council. “Destroying critical programs like Medicaid for our most vulnerable citizens is unacceptable for a civilized country.”
Jim VandeHei, executive editor and co-founder of POLITICO, is discussing “The 112th Congress: Political and Budget Outlook” during his keynote address at the Public Policy Institute on July 19. POLITICO is a nonpartisan media company covering national politics and Washington governance.
More information on the National Council’s Hill Day may be found here.
The National Council is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,950 community healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addiction disorders to nearly 6 million adults, children and families in communities across the country. Learn more at www.TheNationalCouncil.org.