Latest COVID-19 Response Bill Supports Behavioral Health Providers
Early Thursday morning, the Senate unanimously passed Congress’s third COVID-19 response package aimed largely at providing economic relief for businesses and workers. The bill features multiple direct supports for behavioral health providers, including direct relief to cover lost provider revenue, small business loans, more money for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and funds to improve the delivery of telemedicine and an extension and two-state expansion of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program. As of this writing, the House is expected to vote on and pass the bill on Friday, and President Trump has signaled that he will sign it quickly into law. Stay tuned for further updates in Capitol Connector next week.
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National Council Represents Members’ COVID-19 Concerns on the Federal Level
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Council has listened to our members and amplified their voices on the federal level with Congress and leadership in the Trump administration. We have joined with coalitions of other national advocacy groups to pass on recommendations to the federal government, we have mobilized our grassroots advocates to reach out to their Members of Congress, and we have begun compiling countless resources on everything from caring for your personal mental health to guides for continuing to run your businesses through this ever-changing legislative landscape. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your needs or concerns, and read more to learn about our efforts to date.
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Federal Government Mobilizes Wide-Ranging Coronavirus Response Initiatives
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues impacting every corner of society, Congressional leadership and leaders in the Trump Administration are mobilizing wide-ranging supports that have direct impacts on the behavioral health field and the National Council’s members. Congress passed its second response bill this week and is now turning its attention to a third legislative package, as various federal agencies provide clarity and increased flexibility to health care and other industries. The National Council has been hearing from our members about their biggest challenges and we are working hard to educate lawmakers and the Administration about the behavioral health field’s needs.
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Advocates Head to Capitol Hill in Support of CCBHCs
On Wednesday, the National Council hosted nearly 90 advocates from 20 states to continue the legislative momentum to extend and expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program. The CCBHC Medicaid demonstration is currently operating in 8 states with clinics in 13 additional states receiving grant funding to implement the CCBHC model. The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/ H.R. 1767) would extend the demonstration in the original 8 states for two years, while expanding the program to the other 11 that applied but were not originally selected. The CCBHC program is currently set to expire on May 22, 2019 without Congressional action.
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Congressional Briefing Highlights Impact of CCBHC Model
On March 11th, 150 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) advocates, congressional staffers, and members of the press, as well as 3,500 people online, gathered in the Senate’s historic Kennedy Caucus Room to support the extension and expansion of the CCBHC demonstration. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) kicked off the event, highlighting the critical need for action as the demonstration’s funding expires on May 22, 2020. This event was part of a two day fly-in, where CCBHCs from around the country came to advocate for the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/H.R. 1767), which would extend the program for two years and expand it to eleven additional states.
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Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Affordable Care Act
The U.S. Supreme Court decided to review Texas v. United States, the court case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would invalidate the entire law, leaving an estimated 20 million people uninsured. It is unclear how the timing will align with the November elections.
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House Subcommittee Examines Slate of SUD Legislation
On Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on “Combating an Epidemic: Legislation to Help Patients with Substance Use Disorders.” The Subcommittee heard from a slate of panelists including officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as professionals from various health providers and national advocacy organizations. The hearing also included discussion of a slate of 14 bills covering a broad range of approaches to address the addiction crisis in America.
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