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Archive: May 2016

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.

National Council Hosts Mental Health First Aid Briefing On Capitol Hill

Dani Poole

Communications Specialist

On Tuesday, May 24, Mental Health First Aid instructors and champions addressed a packed room on Capitol Hill to share stories about how Mental Health First Aid has saved their life, or the lives of others in their communities. For the second year in a row, the National Council has hosted this briefing, bringing Mental Health First Aid to congressional staffers during May as Mental Health Month.

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House Committee Circulates Compromise Mental Health Draft Bill, Vote Likely in June

Charles Ingoglia

Senior VP, Public Policy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Monday, news broke that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) had begun circulating a revised draft of comprehensive mental health reform legislation. According to congressional staff familiar with the situation, the Chairman is pushing a modified bill including provisions from both Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) bill – Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) and Rep. Gene Greene’s (D-TX) bill – Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act (H.R. 4435).

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National Council Issues Template Comments on Medication-Assisted Treatment Rule

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

New proposed rules from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) aim to increase access to opioid use disorder treatment while reducing the opportunity for medication diversion. SAMHSA included within the proposed rule specific questions for stakeholders from the field to answer about the potential impact of certain regulatory changes like the prescriber limit for medication assisted treatment, practitioner training, and more.

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What’s next for CARA and other addiction bills?

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, the House, in a series of near-unanimous votes, approved a package of bills to address the nation’s opioid epidemic. The move came close on the heels of the Senate’s passage of a related bill—known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act or CARA—in March. Together, these actions set the stage for congressional passage of the first standalone addiction-focused bill in recent memory.

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Department of Labor Finalizes Overtime Rule

May 19, 2016 | Workforce | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Wednesday, the Department of Labor published its final rule changing the federal overtime payment limit, raising the salary threshold for overtime pay to $47,476. The final rule links this salary to inflation, meaning that the overtime exemption threshold will automatically rise every three years. The rule takes effect on December 1, 2016.

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Medicaid Managed Care Rule Pays for Residential SUD Treatment

May 19, 2016 | Medicaid | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized changes to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program managed care. Of particular importance, the final rule allows for federal Medicaid payments to be made to residential substance treatment facilities for short term stays (no more than 15 days) for patients enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care. This is a step, though small, in the right director for allowing full Medicaid reimbursement for residential treatment services.

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HHS Finalizes Wide-Ranging ACA Nondiscrimination Rule

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) issued its final rule on nondiscrimination in federal health care programs and activities. The final rule prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex in all health programs and activities, any part of which receives federal financial assistance administered by HHS. The rule takes effect on July 18, 2016.

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National Council Comments on Proposed Changes to Medicare Part B

May 12, 2016 | Medicare | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council this week submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services opposing the agency’s proposed change to drug pricing in the Part B program, noting the detrimental effect it could have on patients’ access to medications.

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House of Representatives Begins Voting on Opioid Bills

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The House of Representatives returned to session this week and began approving a number opioid-related measures. While the Senate passed a single bill in March – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) – the House has taken a piecemeal approach passing over a dozen bills, covering a spectrum of opioid use prevention, treatment and recovery.

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Congress, SAMHSA Kick Off May is Mental Health Month

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Since 1949, May has been observed as National Mental Health Awareness Month on Capitol Hill. This year, members of Congress, federal agencies and advocates across the country are once again teaming up to spread the word – and facts – about mental illness. Join the National Council for a full month of events, social media activities and more as we work to raise awareness of mental health in communities across the country.

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Mental Health America to Host DC-Based Conference June 8-10

May 5, 2016 | Hill Day | Take Action | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On June 8-10, just days after National Council Hill Day 2016, Mental Health America will be hosting its 2016 Annual Conference: Media, Messaging and Mental Health. This event will take an in-depth look at the impact and influence of media and the entertainment industry on the complex issues of mental health and mental illness.

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