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Archive: December 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.

CMCS Updates New Core Quality Measures for Medicaid, CHIP

December 30, 2015 | Children and Youth | Medicaid | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Earlier this month, the Center for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Services (CMCS) published an update to core quality measures for adults and children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. The core measures are tools states can use to monitor and improve the quality of services provided to the Medicaid and CHIP population. The new measures will take effect no later than December, 2016.

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Addiction and Mental Health Funding Increases Included in Omnibus Budget Deal

December 17, 2015 | Federal Budget | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Late Tuesday night, House and Senate negotiators released the text of a compromise bill to keep the government funded through fiscal year 2016. The omnibus appropriations bill includes increases to key programs funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Among the highlights of the 2016 funding bill are: $1.779 billion for the […]

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Senate Approves Bipartisan Criminal Justice, Mental Health Bill

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Friday, the Senate quietly approved bipartisan criminal justice and mental health related legislation. The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act (S. 993/H.R.1854) – introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) – primarily reauthorizes and improves the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) of 2004. The bill aims to make communities safer across the country by improving access to mental health services for people in the criminal justice system who need treatment.

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CMS Issues Guidance on Little-known State-ACA Waivers

December 17, 2015 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Medicaid | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Beginning in 2017, states will have an avenue by which to fundamentally alter their methods for offering and regulating public health insurance. Section 1332 “State Innovation Waivers” were included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to allow states the opportunity to pursue innovative methods of providing access to affordable, high quality health care while still maintaining the key elements of the ACA. However, there is growing concern over the potential scope of these waivers and their ability to significantly modify how states offer affordable insurance coverage through the marketplace.

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COCHS, National Council Host Excellence Act, Criminal Justice Summit

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS) and the National Council for Behavioral Health hosted a summit this week examining the potential of the Excellence in Mental Health Act to fundamentally transform mass incarceration in the US criminal justice system. The summit focused on the potential of the Excellence Act and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) to reduce health care silos, ensure continuity of care and avoid unnecessary incarcerations for the behavioral health needs of justice involved individuals.

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Senate Approves ACA Reconciliation Bill, Repealing Medicaid Expansion

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, the Senate approved a highly partisan budget reconciliation bill that repealed a significant portion of the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion. The bill also repealed the authority of the federal government to run health care exchanges and eliminated subsidies to help people afford plans purchased through those exchanges. Passed on party lines, the bill now must pass the House before heading to the President’s desk. The White House has made clear the President intends to veto the legislation, protecting his signature legislative achievement.

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CCBHC’s Are Coming to NatCon16

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Excellence in Mental Health Act and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC’s) are hot topics heading into 2016 and National Council Conference has all you need to know and more. Join us for NatCon16 in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 7-9 for hours of expert training and intensive workshops, helping to prepare you for success as a CCBHC. Register for NatCon16 today!

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The Call to Congress Continues: Expand the Excellence Act

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In the weeks following a national op-ed calling for an expansion of the Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration, two more statewide op-eds have been published asking Congress to #Fundthe24. The two states – New Jersey and Oklahoma – are among the 24 states across the country currently engaged in the one-year demonstration planning process.

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Mental Health Awareness Trainings Included in House-Approved Education Bill

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Wednesday, the House of Representative approved a long-debated education reauthorization bill that includes language based on the Mental Health First Aid Act. The House and Senate earlier this year approved differing versions of the education bill, but only the Senate version include mental health awareness training programs. After a period of deliberation and debate, House and Senate negotiators released a conference committee report that irons out differences between the two bills—and importantly, preserves the Senate-passed provisions authorizing mental health awareness training. The House approved package now heads to the Senate for a final vote before being sent to President Obama’s desk.

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CMS Finds Qualified Health Plans, CHIP too Different to Certify as Comparable

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

A new analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finds that coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is more comprehensive and more favorable for kids and families than marketplace exchange plans. The comparison, mandated by the Affordable Care Act, concluded that CHIP plans are more likely to meet the needs of kids and families and therefore could not certify the plans as comparable.

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