November 10, 2011
Thank You For Your Advocacy in Support of Medicaid and Behavioral Health; 2 Things You Can Do to Keep Up the Fight
The National Council would like to take a moment to thank the thousands of individuals who responded to our call to action and signed on to a national letter
in support of preserving Medicaid during the Supercommittee negotiations. The letter highlights the importance of behavioral health treatment services and urges the Supercommittee to do no harm to our mental health and addictions safety net as they craft the details of their spending reduction plan.
Why Your Advocacy Matters: The Supercommittee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in federal savings, which can come from either revenue increases or spending cuts. Fiscal conservatives in Congress have steadfastly refused to consider revenue increases during this process – and if they get their way, the entire burden of the trillion dollar cuts could fall on programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and initiatives supported by agencies like SAMHSA. Now is the time for us to stand up and fight for funding for these critical programs! Legislators need to hear from their constituents about the impact these cuts could have in their districts – they need to hear from YOU.
The Fight Isn’t Over – Two Simple Things You Can Do Now to Stand Up for Medicaid: Please help us keep the pressure on Congress to preserve Medicaid by doing two simple things today:
- Tweet about our field’s sign-on letter – and tag your members of Congress to let them know. Here’s a sample tweet you can use: 1735 Americans say: don't cut #Medicaid & #behavioralhealth in #Supercommittee talks! @[insert your Member of Congress’ twitter handle here] plz read r letter: http://bit.ly/u8H0Nu
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. The National Council has drafted two template letters for you to use – just pick one, fill in the blanks with information about your organization, and email it to your local paper. At least three newspapers across the country have already published your colleagues’ letters on this topic. Click here to add your voice to theirs today!
Thank you again for your tireless advocacy in support of the behavioral health safety net. Together, our voices are making a difference in Washington. Keep up the great work!
Senate Passes Criminal Justice Appropriations Bill; Includes $0 for Second Chance Act Programs
The Senate this week voted 69-30 to pass the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for criminal justice programs, which includes funding for a number of programs related to addictions and mental health. Unfortunately, the Senate did not vote to restore funding for Second Chance Act programs, which were eliminated in the Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the bill. The Senate-passed funding levels for programs important to our field include:
Second Chance Act Programs (including a variety of reentry programs and substance abuse and mental health treatment):
- FY12 Senate bill: $0
- FY12 House bill: $69.9 million
- FY11 funding: $83 million
- FY12 Senate bill: $35 million
- FY12 House bill: $39.9 million
- FY11 funding: $37.3 million
Mentally Ill Offender Act (MIOTCRA) Program:
- FY12 Senate bill: $9 million (labeled as “Mental Health Courts” under State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance)
- FY 12 House bill: $9.9 million
- FY11 funding: $9.9 million
For the Senate vote, the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill was combined with the spending bills for Agriculture and Transportation-Housing-Urban Development into a package known as a “minibus.” This strategy of combining spending bills into minibuses will likely be continued as the House and Senate begin negotiations to reach agreement on the details of each bill. Stay tuned to the Public Policy Update for the latest news and details.
NAMI Report Documents Continuing Cuts to State Mental Health Systems
The National Alliance on Mental Illness today released a report
documenting ongoing deep cuts to state spending on services for children and adults living with serious mental illness. The impacts of these cuts are felt throughout society as people go without the treatment they need. Increasingly, emergency rooms, homeless shelters and jails are struggling with the effects of people falling through the cracks due to lack of needed mental health services and supports.
Some states, such as California, Illinois, Nevada and South Carolina, which made devastating cuts to mental health services in previous years, have made even further cuts for fiscal year 2012. States have cut more than $1.6 billion in general funds from their state mental health agency budgets since 2009, a period during which demand for such services increased significantly due to the impacts of the economic recession. These cuts translate into loss of vital services such as housing, Assertive Community Treatment, access to psychiatric medications and crisis services.
Modest increases in state general fund mental health spending fail to compensate for the loss in federal Medicaid revenues that hit states due to reductions in federal Medicaid rates implemented at the end of June 2011. Moreover, to make up for these lost federal Medicaid revenues, states such as Arizona and Ohio have shifted state general fund mental health dollars to Medicaid recipients, leaving many non-Medicaid recipients with serious mental illness without services.
to read the report and learn more details about your state.
Appeals Court Upholds Health Law
On November 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all individuals have health insurance. The decision makes the court the 6th one to uphold the law. Nine courts have dismissed challenges to the law on the grounds that plaintiffs did not have the legal standing to bring a lawsuit, and three courts have overturned part or all of the law. Eight challenges against the law remain undecided at this time.
This week’s appeals court decision marks another victory for the Obama Administration in its legal endeavors to protect the ACA. Several of the previous court decisions on the ACA have been appealed to the Supreme Court, which is meeting today to select the cases that it will hear during its upcoming session. The split decisions among courts at the circuit level make it likely that the Supreme Court will take up the ACA. For the latest information on the legal challenges against the ACA, visit the Kaiser Health News Scoreboard
SAMHSA Announces Selection of Regional Administrators
This week, SAMHSA Administrator Pam Hyde announced the selection of SAMHSA’s new Regional Administrators. For the first time in its almost 20 year history, SAMHSA will have a presence in each of the 10 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Offices. This new configuration of SAMHSA staff is intended to ensure that a voice for behavioral health is present in the regions along with all of the other HHS operating divisions. The new SAMHSA Regional Administrators are:
- Region 1 – Boston, MA: A. Kathryn Power; currently Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services.
- Region 2 – New York, NY: Dennis O. Romero; currently Acting Director of SAMHSA’s Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse.
- Region 3 – Philadelphia, PA: Jean Bennett; currently Senior Advisor to the HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration and previous Disaster Coordinator in an HHS Regional Office.
- Region 4 – Atlanta, GA: Stephanie McCladdie; currently Director of Prevention Services for the Alabama Department of Mental Health.
- Region 5 – Chicago, IL: Jeffrey Coady; currently National Behavioral Health Consultant for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid Integrity Group.
- Region 6 – Dallas, TX: Michael Duffy; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office for Addictive Disorders for the State of Louisiana.
- Region 7 – Kansas City, MO: Laura Howard; former Deputy Secretary with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
- Region 8 – Denver, CO: Charles Smith; currently Director of the Division of Behavioral Health, Colorado Department of Human Services and Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for the State of Colorado.
- Region 9 – San Francisco: Jon Perez; currently National Behavioral Health Consultant for the Indian Health Service.
- Region 10 – Seattle, WA: David Dickinson; currently Director of the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery in the Department of Social and Health Services for the State of Washington.
These 10 Regional Administrators as a group bring significant experience in substance abuse; mental health; prevention; health care financing; disaster preparedness, response and recovery; federal, state and local government; as well as the behavioral health needs of particular populations such as Native Americans, youth, those in forensic settings, persons with serious mental illness, and persons in recovery from addiction. Their biographies can be found at the SAMHSA website.
The Regional Administrators will be moving into their positions in each of the HHS regional offices between November and January. They will report to Anne Herron, Director of the Division of Regional and National Policy Liaison (DRNPL) in the Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation (OPPI) at SAMHSA.
The Regional Administrators will help SAMHSA reach out to and provide information for States, Territories, Tribes, providers, communities and other stakeholders, whether about funding opportunities, federal policies affecting them, or disaster preparedness and response. They will also make it easier for SAMHSA to collaborate with other HHS colleagues in the regional offices and be better informed about behavioral health needs throughout the country.
Medicare Shared Savings Program National Provider Call to be Held Nov. 15
On Tuesday, November 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold a national provider call on the application process and overview of the advance payment model application for the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The call will take place from 1:30-3:00 p.m. eastern time. The target audience for this call is Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) providers.
The Medicare Shared Savings Program final rule was issued on October 20, along with a notice for the Advance Payment Model that will provide additional support to physician-owned and rural providers. These two initiatives will help providers participate in Medicare Accountable Care Organizations to improve quality of care for Medicare patients. During this National Provider Call, CMS subject matter experts will discuss the application process for the Shared Savings Program and the Advance Payment Model. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.
A Notice of Intent to Apply (NOI) memo is currently available on the Shared Savings Program Application page
in the “Downloads” section. A copy of the Shared Savings Program application will be posted to this website prior to the National Provider Call. CMS will send out an announcement when the application is available on the website. Call participants are encouraged to review the application prior to the call.
To receive the call-in information, you must register for the call. Registration will close at 12:00 pm on Tuesday, November 15 or when available space has been filled. For more details, including instructions on registering for this National Provider Call, please visit http://www.eventsvc.com/blhtechnologies
November Health Affairs Features Resources on Linking Community Development & Health
The November 2011 issue of Health Affairs features articles on the theme of “Linking Community Development & Health.” The issue explores the connection between improving the health of populations and undertaking efforts to raise incomes, employment and overall economic activity in low-income communities.
The issue builds on the work of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the US Federal Reserve to forge partnerships among the public health and health care sectors and community development professionals – for example, by having financial institutions focused on low-income communities invest in construction or expansion of community health centers. Health Affairs received support for the issue from RWJF.
Featured topics within the theme of community development and health include housing, health homes, employment, payment reform, and more. Click to view the table of contents
. Access to Health Affairs articles is by subscription only.
Addictions News Now Features Grant Opportunities, Research, Addictions Issues in the News
An article in a recent issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors reviewed the current use of medication-assisted treatment in U.S. substance use treatment programs and found low rates of adoption. What are the barriers to increased adoption, and what can you do about it? Check out the latest issue of Addictions News Now, which was delivered to your inbox on Nov. 8, to find out.
Addictions News Now is helping you stay up to date on the latest recovery news and resources. This month’s issue features reminders about upcoming grant opportunities, addictions issues in the news, research findings, a government affairs update, and more. Addictions News Now is published as a partnership between the National Council and Hazelden. The National Council is committed to advocating for individuals with substance use and mental health problems and the providers that serve them. Hazelden, long recognized as a leader in the addiction treatment field, is engaged in an array of research and publishing endeavors to help people recognize, understand, and overcome addiction and closely related problems. Click here
to view past issues and sign up for Addictions News Now!
National Council Selects 10 Groups for New Co-Occurring Disorder Learning Community
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, in partnership with MTM Services and Hazelden, has selected 10 community behavioral health organizations to participate in its new Co-Occurring Disorder Learning Community. This initiative will enable participating organizations to enhance their ability to provide effective integrated and comprehensive care to individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Up to 75% of people struggling with addictions also have a mental illness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Likewise, up to 50% of those with mental illnesses have a substance use problem.
The Co-Occurring Disorder Learning Community members are:
ADAPT, Inc. (Oregon)
Area Mental Health Center (Kansas)
Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health (Florida)
Pathways Community Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. (Missouri)
Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources (Mississippi)
Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (Michigan)
Tropical Texas Behavioral Health (Texas)
Upper Bay Counseling and Support Services (Maryland)
United Community Services, Inc. (Iowa)
Through February 2013, the 10 selected organizations will receive technical assistance from national experts, helping participants develop clinical processes to support the following Learning Community goals:
- Improve the ability of participating organizations to treat individuals with both mental health and substance use disorders by providing effective, integrated co-occurring disorder assessment and treatment. After going through a readiness assessment, each organization receives a customized plan for change, with goals and action objectives to address co-occurring disorder service delivery capacity needs.
- Implement change plans, including clinical process flows, that support a fully integrated co-occurring disorder service delivery model.
- Provide a unique opportunity for mental health and substance use organizations to participate in a shared, mutually beneficial learning experience, where participating organizations engage in open discussions to learn from each other.