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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.

Malka Berro

Policy Associate

PPP Deadline, New Emergency Broadband Program

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QUOTABLE

“The MATE Act boldly proclaims that all prescribers have a role to play in preventing, treating, and managing substance use disorders. For our nation to be truly healthy, we must understand substance use and treat it like every other medical condition. Our nation’s overdose crisis is having a devastating impact on communities. This legislation will help ensure that every American has access to lifesaving services when and where they need them.” – Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO, National Council for Mental Wellbeing on the introduction of the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act.

 

House Looks to Extend PPP Application Deadline

The House this week passed a bill to extend the loan application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to May 31 and allow the Small Business Administration (SBA) to continue processing pending applications for up to 30 days after the new expiration date. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support and will now go to the Senate for a vote.

 

Behavioral Health Crisis Report

The National Council recently published a new report from the Committee on Psychiatry and the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, Roadmap to the Ideal Crisis System: Essential Elements, Measurable Standards, and Best Practice for Behavioral Health Crisis Response. The report provides a detailed guide for communities to create a vision and direction for their behavioral health crisis systems, to evaluate their current behavioral health crisis capacities, and operationalize a strategy for implementing structures, services, and processes that move toward an ideal crisis system.

 

FCC Launches Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical health care services, and virtual classrooms. Learn more and receive news of the program’s start date by visiting their website.

 

SAMHSA to Direct $2.5 Billion to Address Behavioral Health

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will direct $2.5 billion toward addressing the rising mental health and addiction crises as a result of the pandemic, according to Department of Health and Human Services officials. The funding will be aimed at increasing access to behavioral health services and will be allocated to states. The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant will be awarded $1.65 billion to improve existing treatment infrastructure and implement additional prevention and treatment programs, and $825 million will be allocated to the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant to assist states.

 

New NatCon21 Scholarships

We are excited to offer a limited number of scholarships to young professionals with lived mental health and addiction experience! These scholarships will allow recipients to attend NatCon21 – online from May 3-5 – for free, where they will be given resources and strategies for shaping the future of our field. Interested? Apply by Friday, March 26, at 5 p.m. ET. Questions? Contact us!

 

ADVOCACY CORNER

How Elections Affect Advocacy Strategies. Join the Congressional Management Foundation for a presentation on identifying key committee chairs and why some citizen advocates have more influence than others in specific parts of the legislative process. Power Shifts in Washington: How Elections Affect Advocacy Strategies is happening on Tuesday, March 30 from 3:00-4:00 pm ET – register today.

 

HAPPENING ON THE HILL

Xavier Becerra Confirmed to lead HHS. The Senate yesterday voted to confirm former congressman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The National Council looks forward to working with Secretary Becerra to ensure equitable access to quality mental health and substance use disorder services.

Parity Enforcement Act Introduced. Last week, Reps. Norcross (D-NJ), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kuster (D-NH), and Courtney (D-CT) introduced the Parity Enforcement Act (H.R. 1364). This legislation would provide the Department of Labor with the authority to investigate and take action against health insurers and plan sponsors that offer plans that violate the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.