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Archive: November 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.

Congress Considers Lame Duck Action on Mental Health

November 23, 2016 | Uncategorized | Comments

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Rumors inside the Beltway suggest that Congress could vote on a mental health and health research and innovation package after Thanksgiving. While details have yet to emerge, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) – Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and author of the 21st Century Cures Act – told House Republicans at a meeting last week that negotiations on the legislative package are nearing completion.

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Surgeon General’s Report on Addiction: What does it mean?

November 17, 2016 | Addictions | Comments

Linda Rosenberg

President and CEO

Addiction is one of the nation’s most pressing health concerns. One in seven Americans experience an addiction in their lifetime, and even more will misuse substances. Addiction is a chronic disease that puts a person at risk for other illnesses including HIV, cancer and heart disease. And, addiction costs our nation $442 billion annually in […]

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Future Uncertain for ACA, Medicaid Under New Administration and Congress

November 17, 2016 | Federal Budget | Medicaid | Comments

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

The Republican sweep of the White House and both chambers of Congress in last week’s election means big changes could be coming to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. President-Elect Donald Trump and GOP Congressional leaders ran on a platform to “repeal and replace” the ACA and plans to rein in spending for Medicaid. Both proposals could have a potentially devastating effects for both consumers and providers.

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HHS Releases Details on New Medication Assisted Treatment Prescribers

November 17, 2016 | Addictions | Comments

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

The Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that starting in February 2017 nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be able to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid addiction. This policy change, authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), will create greater access to medication-assisted treatment by increasing the number of available prescribers across the country.

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Advocacy in 2017: Bring a Friend and Let’s Go to Work

November 17, 2016 | Uncategorized | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In any post-election autopsy or forecast for the future, there is inevitably a ranking of the most powerful people in the room. As the political world prepares itself for a new presidential administration and Congress, the National Council wanted to share its list of the most powerful person in politics in 2017: YOU!

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White House Task Force Releases Parity Recommendations

November 3, 2016 | Parity | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, the White House Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force released its recommendations for improving the implementation of the federal parity law. The Task Force report details the Obama Administration’s parity implementation activities undertaken throughout the last eight years, outlines new resources available as of today, and offers a number of recommendations for future action.

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National Council Submits Comments on Changing the Language of Addiction

November 3, 2016 | Addictions | Comments

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

On Thursday, the National Council submitted comments to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) on its draft guidance, Changing the Language of Addiction. The draft document is intended to advise federal agencies on terminology to use when discussing substance use and substance use disorders. Inappropriate terminology perpetuates negative stereotypes about people living with addictions, creating a disincentive for individuals to seek treatment for their disease. The National Council commends the ONDCP for their attention to this issue and offered the following comments and recommendations.

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Resources on New Emergency Preparedness Rule Now Available

November 3, 2016 | Uncategorized | Comments

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a set of requirements to prevent breakdowns in patient care following natural disasters and other emergencies. These new requirements will directly impact a limited number of mental health providers, including those registered with Medicare as Community Mental Health Centers. This week, CMS released a number of resources for providers to review and utilize as they strive to meet compliance by the November, 2017 deadline.

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Senate Finance Bill Would Expand Telehealth in Medicare

November 3, 2016 | Medicare | Comments

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

A draft bill out of the Senate Finance Committee would expand payments from Medicare for telehealth and telemedicine services. The CHRONIC Care Act draft, long in the works by the Committee, improves chronic disease care for Medicare beneficiaries and would include provisions to expand access to telehealth services for Medicare Advantage enrollees

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Medicare Part D Prescriber Enrollment Requirement Delayed

November 3, 2016 | Medicare | Comments

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced this week that it is delaying the February 1, 2017 deadline for Medicare Part D prescribers to enroll in the Medicare program. CMS now expects full enforcement of enrollment to take effect on January 1, 2019. CMS aims to begin targeted enrollment of prescribers in the spring of 2017.

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