National Council for Behavioral Health

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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.

Tell Your Story at Hill Day 2020

February 27, 2020 | Hill Day | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

Twenty-one million people in the U.S. currently struggle with substance use disorders. Mental illness touches the lives of one in five Americans, and suicide rates have been steadily rising for the past decade. Your advocacy can make a difference in the lives of the countless individuals who need support – use your voice this year with hundreds of your fellow advocates at Hill Day 2020  – June 23-24 in Washington, D.C.

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Experts Weigh in on Continued Efforts to Address Opioid Epidemic

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Shelley Starkey

On Wednesday, The Hill convened policymakers and medical experts to discuss steps to expand access to treatment and help those living with opioid addiction begin the journey toward long-term recovery. During a conversation with Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons praised the National Council for its work to bridge the gap between mental health and addiction treatment and highlighted the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/ H.R. 1767) as a legislative effort to address these issues.

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Circuit Court Upholds Decision to Strike Down Arkansas Medicaid Work Requirements

February 20, 2020 | Medicaid | Waivers/SPAs | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Last week, a federal appeals court unanimously upheld a lower court’s ruling that found work requirements for Medicaid enrollees in Arkansas do not advance the purpose of the health program, blocking the proposal in the state. Although the ruling applies only to Arkansas’s work requirements, it is likely to set a precedent for other legal challenges currently facing a slew of other states that have sought to implement similar proposals following guidance issued by the Trump Administration early last year. The National Council appreciates the work of fellow advocates standing against these harmful work requirements that make it harder for people with substance use disorders and mental illness to receive the care they need.

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White House Releases FY 2021 Budget Request

February 13, 2020 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Natalie Weiner

Manager, Policy & Advocacy

On Monday the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request which totals $4.8 trillion. The proposal includes significant nondefense discretionary cuts including a nine percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies. The proposed budget does, however, include $906 million to extend the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program as well as $225 million in CCBHC expansion grants. These funds would enable CCBHCs to continue offering the full range of required mental health and addiction treatment services. Despite the positive signal of support for CCBHCs, the budget also includes major cuts to Medicaid and other critical behavioral health programs that would significantly harm Americans living with mental illness and addiction.

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Bipartisan Criminal Justice, Mental Health Bill Introduce in House and Senate

February 13, 2020 | Justice | Mental Health | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

Director, Federal Policy & Advocacy

New bipartisan legislation would provide aid and resources to the intersection of our nation’s mental health providers and criminal justice system. The Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act would authorize $10 million in grants to communities to create collaborative programs involving justice agencies and community-based behavioral health providers, including Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). It would also create a national technical assistance center to serve communities around the country.

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Members of Congress Address Mental Health Crisis at Kennedy Forum Event

February 13, 2020 | Mental Health | Parity | Comments
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Natalie Weiner

Manager, Policy & Advocacy

The Kennedy Forum hosted “Agenda for Change: Unite. Connect. Act.” last week, an event on Capitol Hill featuring members of congress, advocates, consumers, and philanthropists who discussed the current mental health crisis and steps for action.

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Take Action: Support 9-8-8 as National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

February 7, 2020 | Mental Health | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

Director, Federal Policy & Advocacy

This week, the National Council submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission in support of the Commission’s unanimous vote to designate 9-8-8 as the three-digit dialing code for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. Advocates have an opportunity to submit their own support comments to the FCC before the February 14th deadline.

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ONDCP Releases 2020 National Drug Control Strategy and Rural Toolkit

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) recently released its annual report on the National Drug Control Strategy as well as a new toolkit to assist rural communities in responding to the addiction crisis. The 2020 National Strategy prioritizes increasing access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and supporting those in recovery with peer services, access to housing, training, education, and employment.

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