October 7, 2010
National Council, Partner Organizations Release Toolkit for Filing Appeals under Parity Law
The Parity Implementation Coalition, of which the National Council is a member, has released a new resource to assist consumers who believe their insurance plan may be in violation of the Wellstone-Domenici Parity Law. The Parity Toolkit
educates consumers about their rights and benefits under the law and is designed to simplify the appeals process by providing strategies for winning disputes with insurance plans. It includes an overview of the parity law, details on the appeals process, model appeals letters for consumers to use, and other helpful resources.
The National Council has posted on our website several other resources to help providers and consumers understand their rights under the parity law. These resources include:
- Frequently Asked Questions: This document takes specific examples of when an insurance company might deny or restrict coverage for mental health and addictions treatment services and analyzes whether each is permissible under the new law. Topics include refusal to pay for coverage, discrimination in reimbursement practices, application of parity to medications, and more.
- Executive Summary and Legal Analysis: These documents provide information on the Interim Final Rules, which outline in detail the requirements plans must meet to be in compliance with parity.
View these and other resources about the parity law on the Parity page
of the National Council website.
National Council Submits Comments to HHS on Establishment of State Health Insurance Exchanges
Under healthcare reform, each state will operate a market for health insurance, called a health insurance exchange. The exchanges will serve as a common marketplace where all residents of the state can find affordable, quality health plans that meet their coverage needs. The Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a request for comments to inform its rulemaking process as it determines how the exchanges must be structured. The National Council has submitted comments stating our support for the exchanges and offering suggestions for ensuring that individuals with mental illness and substance abuse disorders do not have undue difficulty navigating the enrollment process. Our comments urge HHS to include in its regulations provisions to ensure that low-income individuals have sufficient information about their rights, that barriers do not deter them from utilizing the exchange systems as they need, and that states have proper mechanisms in place to educate the public and facilitate enrollment. The full text
of the National Council’s comments is available online.
Guest Blogger Dale Jarvis Answers Readers’ Questions on Service Delivery and Financing under Healthcare Reform
Will you be ready for the financing and service delivery changes under healthcare reform? Does your organization have a plan for working with accountable care organizations or for becoming a person-centered healthcare home? This week, join guest blogger Dale Jarvis
at MentalHealthcareReform.org to learn how you can prepare for the changes ahead. Dale brings a diverse background as administrator, author and educator to healthcare organizations throughout the western United States. He has served as the financial director for healthcare organizations in Washington and Michigan and has taught Healthcare Financial Management at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Conversing with Dale on our blog is easy – just leave your question in the comments section, and check back later to view his response! Visit MentalHealthcareReform.org
from now through Oct. 8 to ask your questions and get Dale’s expert answers.
Action Needed: National Council Salary Survey Now Open
The National Council, in partnership with the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, is launching the 2010 Behavioral Healthcare Salary Survey, open to all providers of mental health and addictions related services across the country. Please take 30 minutes to share information about your organization and receive a free e-copy of the final survey report (a $140 value) - the behavioral healthcare industry's only salary survey.
to complete the 2010 Salary Survey online. If you want to download a "paper" copy as your worksheet, you can do so by using the Download Form tab at the top of the survey. Also, if you wish to save the survey and come back to it at a later time, be sure to remember your password. Once you have completed the survey, simply click the Send to NAATP button at the top of the screen.
The deadline for completing the survey is October 15, 2010.
Survey results should be available in January 2011. Contact Kara Sweeney, Director of Membership at firstname.lastname@example.org
202-684-3723 for more information or with questions.
Medicaid Enrollment Rose Sharply in 2009, According to New Data
According to new data
from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid enrollment in 2009 rose more sharply than in any other single year since the early years of the program’s inception. Nearly 3.7 million more people enrolled in Medicaid than in the previous year, an 8.2% increase. This increase is largely attributable to the growth in unemployment as a result of the economic recession. Total Medicaid enrollment has risen by 13.4% (6 million people) since the start of the recession in 2007; about 48.5 million people were enrolled in the program in Dec. 2009. The states with the largest Medicaid enrollment growth in 2009 were Nevada and Wisconsin, which each saw over 20% increases. Connecticut, Tennessee and South Carolina experienced the least Medicaid growth: under 3% each. Additional documents related to the new data are available on the Kaiser website
Oil Spill Distress Hotline Launched
A new toll-free helpline is available for individuals in need of counseling and support in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the helpline links callers to the nearest crisis response center in their region, where they can receive information, support, counseling, and referrals to services in their area. The hotline can be reached at (1-800-985-5990). Additional information about coping with the mental health effects of the oil spill is available on the Department of Health and Human Services website
Prepare for Expanded Compliance Requirements with Oct. 14 Webinar
On Thursday, October 14 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern time, the National Council will hold a webinar
to help providers prepare for new compliance requirements under healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that all providers implement corporate compliance programs as a condition of enrollment in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. This National Council LIVE webinar will provide an overview of the current healthcare compliance environment, with a particular focus on the new requirements imposed under Health Reform and the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) expanded authorities. The webinar will also equip participants with the information necessary to strengthen their community behavioral health provider organizations' corporate compliance activities. The webinar is presented by Adam Falk, a partner in the health law, non-profit and corporate law, and federal grants law practice groups of Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP. Mr. Falk counsels publicly-funded healthcare entities such as community health centers, Medicare and Medicaid HMOs, and PACE organizations on contracting, regulatory compliance, fraud and abuse, and reimbursement matters. Registration
is available online.