Mental Health America Releases 2016 Voter Guide
Election Day 2016 is just over two months away and voters are beginning to weigh their options up and down the ballot. This week, Mental Health America released its 2016 “Vote with Mental Health in Mind” Voter Guide to assist voters as they prepare themselves for these important decisions. This non-partisan, informational voter guide is intended to “help advocates ensure that people with mental health and substance use conditions feel empowered and able to vote and that candidates at the federal, state and local levels are considering the concerns of the mental health community.”
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In Case You Missed It: Webinars on MACRA and the Overtime Rule
Over the last month, the National Council has hosted a number of important and informative webinars on key topics that directly affect the work of our members: the Department of Labor’s raising of the overtime salary threshold and the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. If you were unable to participate in them live, don’t worry – we have recordings! Click here for more.
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SAMHSA Releases Parity Implementation Resource for States
As attention is gaining around parity and the implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act (MHPAEA), SAMHSA released a resource for states that provides guidance on best practices in parity enforcement. The guide utilized input from seven states and insurance commissioners who identified five primary components that they considered essential for implementation and monitoring of parity:
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SAMHSA Hires Chief Medical Officer, Anita Everett, M.D.
Last week SAMHSA announced the hiring of its new Chief Medical Officer, Anita Everett, M.D. Dr. Everett brings a wealth of behavioral health expertise and experience from the psychiatric field to this new role within SAMHSA. Currently, she works for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as the Division Director of Community and General Psychiatry, and focuses on researching the health behavior of individuals living with long-term mental illness.
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New Hampshire Study Finds Low Rates May Impede Access to Addiction Care
Two weeks ago the NH Insurance Department released a new analytical report showing that in 2014 and 2015, private health insurance companies paid health providers less than Medicare rates for the most common services associated with treatment of substance use disorders. The study is a part of the Insurance Department’s broader focus on the substance use crisis in New Hampshire.
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MACRA: Summer Webinar Series Continues
The National Council’s Summer Webinar Series on MACRA continued this week with a deep-dive into the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MACRA – the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 – made sweeping reforms to how physicians are paid under Medicare. The National Council is running a series of webinars to breakdown this payment structure and what it means for behavioral health providers moving forward.
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BHECON Hosts First Statewide Forum in Missouri
States and the federal government need to take action to address the behavioral health workforce shortage in America. That was the key take away attendees heard at the first Behavioral Health + Economics (BHECON) forum, held in St. Louis, Missouri August 4. The Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare, BHECON’s partner in Missouri, led a dynamic discussion about recruitment and retention problems for clinics and possible solutions such as the Excellence in Mental Health Act.
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VA Publishes Nation’s Largest Report on Veteran Suicide
After examining more than 55 million records covering 35 years of data, the Department of Veterans Affairs this week released its findings on Veteran suicide rates in the United States. The study is the nation’s largest comprehensive analysis of Veterans suicide to date. Among its many findings, this report estimates that 20 Veterans a day die by suicide. This is compared to a 2012 study which estimated the rate was higher, 22 Veterans per day.
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MACRA Webinar Series Kicks-Off, Two More Coming in August
On Thursday, the National Council held its first of three webinars related to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and the sweeping reforms it makes to payments under Medicare. The first webinar, “MACRA 101” focused on the proposed quality payment program, which completely overhauls how Medicare Part B clinicians will be paid starting in 2017.
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National Council Launches BHECON: A Behavioral Health and Economics Network
Despite growing demand, far too many Americans live without access to the mental health services they need. Between workforce shortages, dismally low reimbursement rates and financing methodologies that often fail to cover critical treatment services, health care providers struggle to build capacity to serve all individuals living with mental illnesses. This week, the National Council launched a new initiative – the Behavioral Health and Economics Network (BHECON) – to unite diverse stakeholders to identify, examine and advance policy reforms to strengthen states’ mental health delivery systems.
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