House Passes Mental Health First Aid Act
On Monday, the House chamber unanimously approved the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s version of H.R. 1877, the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015. This legislation authorizes grants for mental health and substance use awareness training to law enforcement, first responders, teachers, and other individuals that work with youth. The National Council issued the following statement on this important action.
Read More on House Passes Mental Health First Aid Act
Congress Passes Short-term Budget, Includes CARA Funding
On Wednesday, both chambers of Congress approved a short-term continuing budget resolution (CR), level-funding the federal government through the November elections. While political observers widely expected the passage of a CR, this resolution pleasantly surprised many advocates by containing $37 million dollars in additional money to begin funding implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The bill will provide $7 million of that allotment on October 1, which is the prorated amount of total funding over the life of the short-term resolution.
Read More on Congress Passes Short-term Budget, Includes CARA Funding
National Council Hosts Briefing on Early Intervention, Mental Health First Aid
On Monday, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing joined the Eating Disorders Coalition to host a congressional staff briefing on Capitol Hill. The briefing focused on the importance of early identification of mental health and substance use disorders and the need for evidence-based trainings that help Americans understand how to reach out to someone experiencing a crisis. Mental Health First Aid was highlighted as one of these trainings.
Read More on National Council Hosts Briefing on Early Intervention, Mental Health First Aid
BHECON Panelists Call for Expanding Young People’s Access to Behavioral Health Care in Connecticut
Expanding patient access to behavioral health care and increased coordination among clinics, physicians, law enforcement and policymakers could dramatically improve the lives of individuals living with mental illness in Connecticut. That was the key takeaway at the BHECON forum that took place in Bridgeport, Connecticut, last week.
Read More on BHECON Panelists Call for Expanding Young People’s Access to Behavioral Health Care in Connecticut
Key House Committee Approves Mental Health First Aid Act
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved its version of the Mental Health First Aid Act (H.R. 1877). This legislation authorizes grants for mental health and substance use awareness training to law enforcement, first responders, teachers, and other individuals that work with youth.
Read More on Key House Committee Approves Mental Health First Aid Act
New House Bill Aims to Curb Youth Opioid Use
Earlier this month, Congresswomen Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN) introduced legislation to help youth with opioid use disorders connect to addiction treatment services. The Youth Opioid Use Treatment Help Act (H.R. 5956) or YOUTH Act authorizes $5 million in grants for medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs that serve children, adolescents, and young adults, and includes “young adults” as eligible recipients of youth substance use services under the Public Health Service Act.
Read More on New House Bill Aims to Curb Youth Opioid Use
CMS Announces New Accountable Health Communities Funding Opportunity
Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new funding opportunity as a part of the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) innovation model. The AHC model aims to address a critical gap between clinical care and the health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, like housing insecurity, hunger and interpersonal violence. Community-based organizations are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Read More on CMS Announces New Accountable Health Communities Funding Opportunity
House Committee Approves Federal Juvenile Justice Law
Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously approved the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act (H.R. 5963), which would expand behavioral health services to justice-involved youth as a part of a larger plan to prevent juvenile delinquency.
Read More on House Committee Approves Federal Juvenile Justice Law
Mental Health First Aid Act Passes House Subcommittee
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health amended and approved the Mental Health First Aid Act (H.R. 1877) on Monday afternoon. The amended bill would authorize $15 million in funding to provide mental health awareness training to teachers and school personnel, first responders, law enforcement officers, and veterans. This vote, a landmark achievement for this legislation, is the first of a multi-step bill approval process.
Read More on Mental Health First Aid Act Passes House Subcommittee
House Committee Convenes Hearing on Mental Health Parity
Last Friday, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held an informational hearing examining the implementation and enforcement of federal mental health and addiction parity laws and regulations. This hearing is the culmination of conversations that took place during the debate of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act back in June. The Subcommittee engaged providers, behavioral health organizations, and consumers on the implementation of parity requirements, federal and state enforcement efforts, and consumer awareness and access to insurer coverage documents.
Read More on House Committee Convenes Hearing on Mental Health Parity
Physicians Paid Under Medicare Get More Time to Adjust to Reporting Requirements
Providers will now have a year to adjust to the quality measures tied to their reimbursement rates under Medicaid. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to announce new guidelines ahead of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization ACT (MACRA) final rule expected by November 1st. In this latest announcement, CMS announced a more flexible approach to the roll out of MACRA, allowing clinicians to essentially “pick their pace of participation” in the upcoming year.
Read More on Physicians Paid Under Medicare Get More Time to Adjust to Reporting Requirements
CMS Releases Draft List of Essential Community Providers for 2018 Plan Year
Health care providers have until October 15th to be added to the Essential Community Provider list for the 2018 benefit year. The list is used by Qualified Health Plans in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces to meet ACA contracting requirements. QHPs operating in the health care marketplace must contract with at least 30 percent of the available “essential community providers” in their service area to ensure network adequacy for consumers.
Read More on CMS Releases Draft List of Essential Community Providers for 2018 Plan Year
CMS Releases Federal Disaster Preparedness Requirements
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule this week to prevent breakdowns in patient care following natural disasters and other emergencies. These new requirements will directly impact certain mental health providers, including organizations registered with Medicare as Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), as well as organizations that may offer mental health services like Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Centers, and Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs). The rule requires detailed and coordinated emergency plans for federal, state, and local emergency systems. Affected providers have until November 15, 2017 to implement the new requirements.
Read More on CMS Releases Federal Disaster Preparedness Requirements
New Report Highlights Policy Considerations for Implementing Medicaid Per-Capita Spending
Last week, the US Government Accountability Office released a report examining key policy considerations for the implementation of a per-capita cap in Medicaid spending. Per-capita spending would implement a set rate at which states could be reimbursed per enrollee. A perennial goal of the fiscal conservatives in Congress, per-capita spending aims to rein in spending by exerting greater control of federal dollars spent in Medicaid costs, allowing for better budget predictability.
Read More on New Report Highlights Policy Considerations for Implementing Medicaid Per-Capita Spending
Congress is Back, Funding Debate Takes Center Stage
With a potential government shutdown looming on October 1, legislators from both sides of the aisle returned to DC this week ready for a fight on funding for Fiscal Year 2017. As Capitol Connector has reported in the past, both chambers of Congress have made slow progress on finalizing appropriations for FY2017, making a short-term, omnibus spending package the most likely path forward. With just over three weeks until the Oct. 1 deadline, party leaders are stuck on not only the funding levels of any spending package, but the length of that spending package as well.
Read More on Congress is Back, Funding Debate Takes Center Stage
Medicaid Transformation Discussed at Illinois BHECON Forum
There is hope for a stronger and more comprehensive behavioral health care system in Illinois. That was the message heard by a packed room of attendees at the August 30 BHECON forum in Normal, Illinois. Created as a means to unite diverse stakeholders around discussions of behavioral health policy, BHECON’s first event in Illinois focused on the state’s recently released Medicaid Transformation Waiver and opportunities to strengthen its proposals.
Read More on Medicaid Transformation Discussed at Illinois BHECON Forum
Obama Administration Awards Money to Fight Opioids, Fund PDMPs
On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced the allocation of new grant funding to fight the nation’s growing opioid use and abuse epidemic. $53 million will be shared across 44 states and the District of Columbia to expand access to treatment, enhance data collection and curb abuse of opioid across the country. These grants will fund prescriber training and education, increase access to medication-assisted treatment and increase the prevalence of opioid overdose medications like Naloxone.
Read More on Obama Administration Awards Money to Fight Opioids, Fund PDMPs