National Council Submits Comments on Opioid Treatment Programs
In response to SAMHSA’s recently released draft Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment 2013, the National Council has submitted comments to the agency commending its focus on recovery-oriented systems of care and the role of telemedicine in expanding access to care. Our comments also urge SAMHSA to make the guidelines more inclusive of extended-release injectable naltrexone and to encourage staff in opioid treatment settings to be trained in Mental Health First Aid.
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White House Hosts First-Ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference
On July 11, the White House hosted the first-ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference. The event brought together Administration leaders, Veteran Service Organizations, military service organizations, mental health professionals, and leaders from the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs to discuss issues related to expanding access to mental healthcare for veterans and military families.
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MITECH Bill Extends Health IT Incentive Payments to Safety Net Clinics
Legislation introduced this month in the House and Senate would make federal incentive payments for the use of health IT widely available to a variety of healthcare safety net providers, including community behavioral health centers.
The legislation is known as MITECH, the Medicaid Information Technology to Enhance Community Health (MITECH) Act (S. 1286/H.R. 2676).
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On a personal note: Why I became a behavioral health advocate
As the National Council’s Hill Day approaches, we’ve been posting about our great speaker line-up and the important behavioral health legislation that you’ll be talking about with your Members of Congress.
But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on why advocacy is important – and in particular, to tell you about a moment that shaped me.
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National Council Launches Op-Ed Campaign to Build Support for Excellence in Mental Health Act
The National Council this week launched a new campaign to raise the profile of the Excellence in Mental Health Act and build congressional support for its passage. Please participate by using this template to submit an op-ed to your local newspapers!
Media coverage is essential to our success because it raises the bill’s profile and highlights the broad support for it in legislators’ home districts. This is especially true of local press and op-eds, which are influential with legislators and lay the groundwork for much of the advocacy we are doing on Capitol Hill.
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What do Medicaid payment rates, Congress, and a pep rally have in common?
You may be aware that community behavioral health organizations get paid, on average, only 70% of the cost of providing intensive community-based care.
But did you know that legislation before Congress would fix this inequity, raising Medicaid reimbursement rates for organizations that meet specified criteria? The Excellence in Mental Health Act would put behavioral health providers on equal footing with other safety net entities like community health centers and public hospitals, a long-overdue change.
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NASHP Releases Interactive Medical and Health Home Map
The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has launched a new interactive map tracking state efforts to advance medical and health homes for Medicaid and CHIP participants.
In recent years, the number of states implementing medical home programs has increased substantially. According to NASHP, as of April 2013, 43 states have adopted policies and programs to advance medical homes.
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