Efforts to Treat Addictions Disorders Continue to Grow on Capitol Hill
Attention to addiction treatment and recovery continues to grow on Capitol Hill. Last week, members of the Senate introduced three new bills and sent two bipartisan letters to the Obama Administration calling for increased efforts to curb the addiction and opioid epidemic sweeping our nation. These efforts are an encouraging sign of the progress being made on Capitol Hill and bring hope to advocates on what can be accomplished during the 114th Congress.
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CMS Releases Medicaid Managed Care Regulation: Addresses Provider Networks, Beneficiary Access, and More
On Tuesday, May 26, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an extensive proposed rule on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) managed care. This is the first major update to applicable regulations since 2003, and seeks to align the managed care regulations across Medicaid, Medicare and the private market.
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It’s a Big Day for Behavioral Health: Excellence Act Implementation Begins
For decades, behavioral health and the health care system as a whole have been grappling with the difficult questions of how best to provide care to complex populations living with mental illness or addictions, how to ensure every American in need can access this care, and how to pay for it. For too long, we have failed to provide the federal infrastructure and support needed to sustain a strong behavioral health safety net. With the Excellence Act, that all changes.
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National Council Hosts Mental Health First Aid Briefing
On Tuesday, the National Council hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill for Congressional staff, educating them on the benefits of Mental Health First Aid. The briefing, sponsored by Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KY) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), provided staff with an overview of the Mental Health First Aid course and details on the recently reintroduced Mental Health First Aid Act (S.711/H.R.1877).
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21st Century Cures Bill Unanimously Passes Committee, Now Heads to House Floor
Today, the 21st Century Cures bill took an important step forward in the House when it was unanimously passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The wide-ranging legislative agenda now heads to the House floor where it will await a vote by the full chamber. Committee Chairman Fred Upton said recently that he hopes to have a bill to the President by the end of the year.
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National Council, NASMHPD Host Congressional Briefings on Early Intervention Psychosis
On Tuesday, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) cohosted two congressional staff briefings to raise awareness of the need for investing in early intervention psychosis programs. Each year, 100,000 young people will develop psychosis, with only a small fraction receiving the comprehensive, coordinated care that could prevent a lifetime of disability.
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Apply today for a 2015 Connect for Mental Health Community Innovation Award
The Connect 4 Mental Health (C4MH) Community Innovation Awards recognize four community mental health organizations that prioritize making a difference in the lives of people with serious mental illness. In addition to the national recognition of the award, each winner receives $10,000 and access to a one-on-one mentorship program for the year following the award.
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President Declares May as National Mental Health Month
Last week, President Barack Obama signed a presidential declaration proclaiming May as Mental Health Month. Throughout the month, there will be important events and opportunities to expand awareness and increase knowledge about mental health care and supporting those in need. Even though one in five Americans experience a mental health condition every year, the public remains largely ignorant about the impact of mental illness on our society – and what we as family members, friends, consumers, and concerned citizens can do to help.
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Congress Passes Budget Resolution; First Since 2009
The House and Senate have each passed a compromise budget resolution setting forth top-line spending and policy priorities for fiscal year 2016. This marks the first time since 2009 that both chambers have agreed to the same budget framework. Though the resolution does not have the force of law, it will guide Congress’ decisions on all elements of the budget, from health spending to entitlement program reforms.
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Rep. Tim Murphy Introduces Veterans Mental Health Bill in the House
Last week, Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced legislation that protects veterans currently in mental health treatment from having their recovery interrupted while transitioning from one government health plan to another. The Enhancing Veterans Access to Treatment (EVAT) Act (H.R. 2123) mandates that the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have matching mental health drug plans for veterans to protect veterans from being removed from successful treatment.
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The Council of State Governments Governments and NACo Launch Stepping up Initiative
This week, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing joined leading criminal justice and behavioral health organizations in supporting the Stepping Up Initiative, an unprecedented national collaboration designed to generate action in communities across the country for a common goal: to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in U.S. jails.
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