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Archive: September 2014

Capitol Connector
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.

School Districts to Receive Funding for Mental Health First Aid Training

September 24, 2014 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Tuesday, 120 state and local educational agencies learned they will be part of a major national initiative to support teachers, schools, and communities in recognizing and responding to mental health concerns among youth.

The educational agencies–including school districts in 28 states and departments of education in 20 states–were awarded Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Senate Committee Approves Second Chance Reauthorization Act

September 24, 2014 | Justice | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act (S.1690) achieved a milestone last week when it was voted out of Senate Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan, 13 to 5 vote. This legislation extends important federal initiatives for prisoner reintegration, substance use treatment, and diversion efforts for an additional five years. Activities funded through the Second Chance Act include: demonstration grants, mentoring, substance abuse and family-based programming.

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Congresswoman Fudge Hosts Breaking Addiction Act Briefing

September 24, 2014 | Addictions | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

September 18, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) hosted a congressional briefing on the Breaking Addiction Act, her legislation to improve Medicaid coverage of residential substance use treatment services.

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Medicare to Survey CMHCs for Compliance with Conditions of Participation

September 23, 2014 | Medicare | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Mental health organizations registered with Medicare as Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) should have received a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirming their operational status as a CMHC. This is the first step in initiating a survey process to confirm compliance with Medicare’s Conditions of Participation for CMHCs.

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Portman, Whitehouse Introduce Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

September 18, 2014 | Addictions | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

New legislation introduced in Congress would provide a series of resources and incentives to help states and local governments expand drug treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts. Authored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014 would:

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House Passes Stopgap Funding Bill; Senate Expected to Vote Today

September 18, 2014 | Federal Budget | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Yesterday, the House passed H.J. Res. 124, a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through December 11, 2014. In a rare show of bipartisan support, the bill passed 319 to 108. The continuing resolution carries over agencies’ funding at the current-year rate of $1.012 trillion. The Senate today will consider and debate the House’s continuing resolution.

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DC Hosts 9th Annual National Health IT Week

September 17, 2014 | Health Information Technology | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

This week in Washington, DC the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) hosts the 9th Annual National Health IT (NHIT) Week . With more than 400 partners, including the National Council, NHIT Week is a collaborative forum and virtual awareness week, bringing health IT to the forefront of the legislative agenda. As a partner, the National Council identifies this as an important week to discuss the role and future of health IT and behavioral health providers, specifically the Behavioral Health IT Act.

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Appropriations Vote Delayed in Wake of Counterterrorism Announcement

September 11, 2014 | Federal Budget | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

A planned House vote to prevent a repeat of last year’s government shutdown has been derailed in the wake of President Obama’s request for funding to arm and train fighters against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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DEA Authorizes Pharmacies, Other Entities as Take-Back Sites for Unused Prescription Drugs

September 11, 2014 | Opioid and Heroin Epidemic | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Disposing of unwanted prescription painkillers may soon be easier for consumers under new rules issued this week by the Obama Administration. On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final rule allowing hospitals, pharmacies, medical clinics and other entities to serve as authorized drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs for the first time. The rule also authorizes long-term care facilities to collect unused prescription drugs from residents of those facilities, and prescription drug users everywhere will be allowed to directly mail-in their unused medication to authorized collectors.

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National Council, AFSP Release Consumer Parity Guides

September 11, 2014 | Parity | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

At a congressional briefing to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, the National Council and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention released a series of tools to help consumers navigate insurance coverage and understand their rights under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

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Creeping and Leaping from Payment for Volume to Payment for Value

September 4, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments

Dale Jarvis

Dale Jarvis and Associates

Believe it or not, we are finally beginning to make progress on health and behavioral health payment reform and now it’s time to pay attention, listen up, and get ready. Start by reading this post, and then head on over to the new paper on behavioral health payment reform just published by the National Council.

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Make Your Case, and Make it Quickly!

September 4, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments

Nina Marshall

Director of Public Policy

Six tracks, 26 topic areas, 5000 attendees. You’d think I was plugging the next National Council conference (April 20th! Be there!), but I’m actually describing the legislative summit I attended a few weeks ago in Minneapolis for the National Conference of State Legislatures. I learned a ton – how some policymakers are thinking about state-run exchanges, rental networks, and Long Term Support Services, to name a few issues – but my biggest takeaway was this: make your case, and make it quickly. These people are busy.

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U.S. Celebrates 25th Annual Recovery Month in September

September 4, 2014 | Addictions | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

For the last 25 years, communities and individuals across the country have joined together in September to observe National Recovery Month and celebrate the journey and achievements of the millions of Americans who are in recovery from a substance use or mental health condition.

Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for substance use and mental health disorders; celebrates people in recovery; recognizes the contributions of treatment and service providers; and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.

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President Taps Michael Botticelli to Lead ONDCP

September 3, 2014 | Addictions | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, President Obama nominated Michael Botticelli for the post of Director of the Office of National Drug Policy (ONDCP). The National Council has voiced strong support for his nomination, and we applaud President Obama’s decision to nominate Mr. Botticelli for this important post.

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State-by-State Worksheets Identify Medicaid Billing Opportunities for Integrated Care

September 3, 2014 | Integrated Care | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Financing is often perceived as one the biggest barriers to sustainable integration activities. By not billing at all, or billing incorrectly, providers risk denied or delayed claims payments, wasted time and resources, and missed reimbursement opportunities for services provided.

The SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS) has updated its state billing worksheets, a tool to help clinic managers, integrated care project directors, and billing/coding staff identify the available current procedural terminology (CPT) codes they can use in their state to bill for services related to integrated primary and behavioral health care.

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