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Archive: July 2015

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.

Bipartisan Mental Health, Substance Use Bill Introduced in Senate

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of nearly 20 Senators re-introduced a mental health and substance use awareness and treatment improvement bill. The legislation reauthorizes important programs in suicide prevention, mental illness awareness and de-escalation trainings, and opioid use disorder treatment services.

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Issue Brief Examines Medicaid Coverage for Medically Frail Individuals

July 30, 2015 | Medicaid | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

An obscure clause in the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion allows individuals with serious mental health or substance use needs to access the traditional state Medicaid plan benefit package, which often covers more services. A new issue brief from the National Council for Behavioral Health and Community Catalyst provides information and resources to help states identify and reach out to this population, ensuring they enroll in the plan that is most appropriate to meet their needs.

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CMS Issues Opportunity for Substance Use Delivery Transformation, Including Limited IMD Coverage

July 27, 2015 | Addictions | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a State Medicaid Director (SMD) letter outlining new service delivery opportunities for individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD). The letter highlights a new opportunity for states to use Section 1115 waivers to test Medicaid coverage of a full continuum of addiction treatment settings, including settings that would otherwise be prohibited under the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion.

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Impact of Medicaid Recognized on the 50th Anniversary of its Signing

July 23, 2015 | Medicaid | Comments

Jenni Muns

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

Next week, the National Council for Behavioral Health, other national organizations, and a bipartisan group of national and state leaders will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicaid and the impact the program has had on countless Americans. For the past half century, Medicaid has been an indispensable source of support for millions of people by filling in the gaps in health coverage that frequently occur, including gaps in mental health and substance use coverage.

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Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy to Speak at Hill Day 2015

July 23, 2015 | Take Action | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council for Behavioral Health is pleased to announce that former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy will speak to Hill Day 2015 attendees on the power of advocacy and bringing mental health and addiction out of the shadows. Kennedy is a tireless crusader for full parity in addiction and mental health care, ambitious investments in medical research that will revolutionize our understanding of the brain, and raising public awareness of the impact that additions and mental illness have on our families, our communities, and ourselves.

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Public Comments on Medicaid Managed Care Due Monday; National Council Releases Template

July 22, 2015 | Medicaid | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The public comment period for a new proposed rule on Medicaid managed care closes Monday, July 27. The National Council today is releasing a template comment letter for member organizations and other stakeholders to draw from in submitting their own comments. The proposed rule makes extensive updates to managed care plans operating under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is the first major update to applicable regulations since 2003, and it seeks to align the managed care regulations across Medicaid, Medicare and the private market.

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Mental Health Awareness Training Included in Major Education Reauthorization

July 16, 2015 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Bipartisan legislation to support mental health awareness programs for school personnel was approved by the U.S. Senate as an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177). The amendment is based on the Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 711), stand-alone legislation introduced by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that would expand Mental Health First Aid training and help members of the community identify, understand, and address crisis situations safely.

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President Obama Nominates Andrew Slavitt as Administrator of CMS

July 16, 2015 | Medicaid | Medicare | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, President Obama nominated Andrew Slavitt to serve as Administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a position he has held on an interim basis since Marilyn Tavenner stepped down in February. Before he can be appointed to the position on a permanent basis, Slavitt must be confirmed by the Senate.

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House Bill Aims to Reduce Deaths from Drug Overdoses

Jenni Muns

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the House would authorize millions of dollars in overdose prevention programming and research in an effort to curb the growing trend of opioid overdose deaths. The Stop Overdose Stat Act of 2015, introduced by Representative Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) with 26 cosponsors, would support prevention programs to reduce drug overdose deaths, create a task force to recommend a national public health campaign to Congress, and authorize funding to research and test new treatment and prevention methods.

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Comprehensive Criminal Justice, Substance Use Bill Introduced in the House

July 9, 2015 | Addictions | Justice | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Members of the House have introduced comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation that includes provisions specifically relevant to mental health and substance use treatment services. The Safe, Accountable, Fair and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act (H.R. 2944) authorizes the use of medication-assisted treatment, supports problem-solving courts including drug courts and veterans treatment courts, and funds the implementation of performance-based residential reentry centers.

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Department of Labor Proposes to Extend Overtime Pay to Currently Exempt Workers

Jenni Muns

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed extending its overtime pay exemption rules to include employees making up to $50,440 next year, a change that could affect up to 5 million workers. Under the new proposal, the salary threshold for overtime pay would rise to $970 per week ($50,440 per year) in 2016. The current level of $455 per week ($23,660) was established in 2004, and it is below the poverty line for a family of four.

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A HUG for Kids in Need: NAMI of Collier County

July 2, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments

Ali Siemianowski

Communication Specialist, National Council for Behavioral Health

Florida’s public mental health funding is among the lowest in the U.S., with a system demand for treatment that is often far greater than available resources. NAMI of Collier County sought to change the barriers and lack of resources that many parents face accessing much-needed services for their children.

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House Legislation Increases Awareness, Access to Opioid Addiction Treatments

Jenni Muns

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

A bill recently introduced in the House helps increase patient awareness and access to all treatment options for opioid addiction. The bill, the Opioid Addiction Treatment Modernization Act, was introduced by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and cosponsored by Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR).

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The CCBHC Monthly Rate Setting Math Problem

Dale Jarvis

Dale Jarvis and Associates

States that will be participating in the CCBHC program must select either a Daily PPS Rate or a Monthly PPS Rate method that will be used to pay clinics for CCBHC services provided to Medicaid enrollees. Once a state has selected the Daily or Monthly Rate, it needs to set up a Cost Reporting structure that supports calculating customized rates for each CCBHC. The Cost Report allows a clinic to determine their allowable costs.

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