National Council for Behavioral Health

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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Loan Repayment Applications Open, New CMHC Grant

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS This week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a new Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) Grant Program to help providers bridge the service delivery gap. Read more and apply by May 21, 2021.   CARA 3.0 Introduced Senators Portman (R-OH) Whitehouse (D-RI), Capito (R-WV), Klobuchar (D-MN), and Shaheen (D-NH) recently […]

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PPP Extension Act, Take Action

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it is extending access to the Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment Period until August 15, 2021.   PPP Extension Act Signed into Law Small businesses will have more time to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan thanks to swift action […]

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PPP Deadline, New Emergency Broadband Program

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “The MATE Act boldly proclaims that all prescribers have a role to play in preventing, treating, and managing substance use disorders. For our nation to be truly healthy, we must understand substance use and treat it like every other medical condition. Our nation’s overdose crisis is having a devastating impact on communities. This legislation […]

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COVID-19 Relief Signed Into Law

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on Wednesday. This $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill includes billions in support for life-saving mental health and substance use services. President Biden signed the package into law yesterday. For a comprehensive breakdown of the mental health and substance use disorder-related provisions, click here. For […]

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Senate to Vote on COVID Relief

March 5, 2021 | COVID-19 | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS New “State of the Industry” data released by the National Council for Behavioral Health finds 40% of mental health and addiction treatment organizations surveyed will not be able to keep their doors open past the end of the year without additional federal relief. The data arrives amidst rising concerns about mental health, increases in overdoses, and a surge in overdose death rates in […]

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House Votes on COVID Relief Today

February 26, 2021 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN THE NEWS A new report by the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health outlines the various ways states utilize Medicaid waivers to increase access to quality behavioral health services. Medicaid Financing for Behavioral Health Services: The Use of Flexibilities and Authorities seeks to determine the variation in behavioral health provider reimbursement rates under […]

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House Wraps Up Reconciliation, Working on COVID Package

February 19, 2021 | Addictions | Federal Budget | Medicaid | Take Action | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS In accordance with a recent executive order on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the Health Insurance Marketplace reopened this week and will remain open through Saturday, May 15.   House Wraps Up Reconciliation, Working on COVID Package Last week, House Committees finished work on budget […]

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New CCBHCs Announced, Budget Resolution Passed

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

On Wednesday, February 3, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a list of 134 clinics that were awarded a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grant, expanding the program to now include 340 CCBHCs across 40 states, Guam, and Washington, D.C. These new CCBHCs will join the hundreds that have increased access to critical integrated, evidence-based behavioral health services to those in need. The National Council applauds this effort and thanks SAMHSA and Congress for recognizing the program’s importance and the need to expand access to high-quality mental health and substance use care.

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CMS Announces Medicare Part D Demonstration, Methamphetamine Use Disorder Breakthrough

January 22, 2021 | COVID-19 | Medicaid | Medicare | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “This hasty midnight regulation is a step against some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and the bipartisan lawmakers who have tirelessly defended the merits of Medicare’s protected classes policy. We look forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress to ensure we give people in our nation with the most […]

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CMS Guidance on End-of Pandemic Medicaid Changes, CCBHC Applications

January 8, 2021 | COVID-19 | Medicaid | Medicare | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz resigned yesterday as the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. The National Council sincerely thanks Dr. McCance-Katz for her service and contributions to the behavioral health community. Read her statement here.   CMS Guidance on End-of-Pandemic Medicaid Changes On December 22, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services […]

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Distribution of Provider Relief Funds, Crisis Stabilization Passes

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “Today, we move one step closer to improving how justice-involved people receive mental health and substance use disorder treatment… On behalf of the National Council, I thank Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and Blumenthal (D-CT), as well as Reps. Trone (D-MD), Rutherford (R-FL), Dean (D-PA), Reschenthaler (R-PA), Scanlon (D-PA), and Armstrong (R-ND) for continuing to prioritize […]

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House Passes Short-Term Federal Funding, Physician Fee Schedule Summary

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “COVID-19 has accelerated and expanded our country’s mental health and substance use disorder crisis. Access to treatment – when and where people need it – remains the biggest challenge we face. Unfortunately, insurers have consistently fought to illegally deny equitable coverage and states have lacked the tools to hold them accountable. No longer.” – […]

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FY2021 Appropriations, Finalized Physician Fee Schedule

December 4, 2020 | Addictions | COVID-19 | Medicare | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on their initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution recommendations. As written, it is unclear if behavioral health providers and organizations are included under the panel’s recommended Phase 1 vaccination distribution category. This also follows a new […]

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Senate Passes Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act, Funding Deadline Looms

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “I want to thank Senator Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) for their leadership in introducing the bill, as well as Senators from both sides of the aisle for prioritizing increased access to mental health treatment for incarcerated individuals. This is especially important during a time when our nation’s most vulnerable people are at […]

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HHS Opens Phase 2 Portal

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Shelley Starkey

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “The addition of Kentucky and Michigan to the CCBHC Medicaid demonstration will lower barriers to access and allow more people in more communities to receive the treatment and services they need, like medication-assisted treatment, as they cope with the disruption caused by the pandemic. By extending the demonstration to Kentucky and Michigan, Congress has […]

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Senate Releases COVID-19 Relief Package

July 31, 2020 | COVID-19 | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

Director, Federal Policy & Advocacy

On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced a series of bills in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The series of proposals – collectively named the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act – were drafted by the chairs of various committees of jurisdiction including Senate HELP, Finance, Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Appropriations. The HEALS Act totals nearly $1 trillion in relief aid and is the starting point for bipartisan negotiations between the House and Senate as they look to finalize a deal as quickly as possible.

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House Appropriations Committee Approves FY21 Health Spending

July 17, 2020 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

The House Appropriations Committee approved its Labor-HHS spending levels for Fiscal Year 2021 on Monday, funding key federal health, education and labor programs for the year ahead.

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2,000 Advocates Join National Council’s First Ever Virtual Hill Day at Home

June 26, 2020 | COVID-19 | Hill Day | Justice | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

This week, the National Council partnered with 29 national advocacy organizations to host our first ever Hill Day at Home. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill Day 2020 was hosted virtually, making advocating for individuals living with mental illness and addiction more accessible than ever. A record-breaking 2,000 advocates from across the nation joined Hill Day at Home, reaching 511 Members of Congress with our policy asks. If you weren’t able to join live, you can access presentations and exhibitors’ information until July 23, and there is still time to reach out to your legislators – encouraging their support for a number of legislative priorities that are important to the behavioral health community.

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National Council Announces 2020 Legislators of the Year

June 19, 2020 | Hill Day | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

The National Council for Behavioral Health is pleased to announce this year’s legislative honorees for Hill Day at Home 2020. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representative David Trone (D-MD) are each receiving the National Council’s Legislator of the Year Award in recognition of their hard work and dedicated commitment to the mental health and addiction community. The National Council and its partners will honor both legislators at our Virtual Policy Institute on Tuesday June 23rd. Register today to join us in honoring these two Congressional leaders and thank them for their continued support.

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House Unveils COVID-19 Response Proposal

May 15, 2020 | COVID-19 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

The House of Representatives this week proposed a $3 trillion COVID-19 response package, called the Health Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The bill includes a number of provisions that would support behavioral health providers, including $3 billion for various programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, $100 billion for the Health Care Provider Relief Fund, as well as a codified application process and formula for providers to access the funds, eligibility expansions for nonprofits in the Paycheck Protection Program, and more. Although these provisions are steps forward for the nation’s coronavirus response, the National Council continues to push for more direct supports for behavioral health providers, including our main ask of $38.5 billion in emergency funds.

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