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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

Manager, Federal Policy

Vaccine Requirement Announcements, Advocate for 988

November 12, 2021 | COVID-19 | Workforce | Comments
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This week, in observance of Veterans Day, we honor the brave people who have answered the call to military service, and we acknowledge the fight may not end after returning home. Research shows that veteran suicide rates – 6,000 per year – are at the highest level in recorded history. Here are some learning opportunities to help: Get trained in Mental Health First Aid for Veterans, which teaches you how to notice and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges, with a special focus on the unique experiences and needs of military members, veterans, and their families. Also, join us for “Supporting Our Military and Veteran Caregivers,” a webinar on November 16 (1:30-3 pm ET).


Agencies Release Vaccine Requirement Announcements

The Biden administration recently announced a pair of new vaccine requirement announcements for private sector businesses, health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid facilities, and federal contractors. Read analyses of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OHSA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) interim final rule.


CMS Issues Interim Final Rule for CY 2022 Opioid Treatment Programs

CMS issued an interim final rule with comment period, which maintains the CY 2021 payment rate for Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) for methadone for the 2022 calendar year. The rule notes that “it would not be appropriate to implement a decrease to the rate when substance use and overdoses have been exacerbated by the [COVID-19] pandemic.” While the agency is soliciting public comments on this IFC until January 3, 2022, these regulations are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022.


Join the Office Hour: Short-Term Policy Relief to Enhance the Workforce

The demand for mental health and substance use treatment services is still growing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to overburden the health care workforce. In response, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, in collaboration with Health Management Associates (HMA), is releasing a series of three issue briefs to offer immediate policy actions to expand the current capacity and build a more stable workforce. Join us on Tuesday, November 16, from 1 – 2 p.m. ET for “CoE-IHS Office Hour: Short-term Policy Relief for Enhancing the Workforce,” to hear from a panel of experts as they discuss policy relief solutions and outcomes to enhance the workforce.


DEA Holds National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently held its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an annual event to provide the public with a safe way to dispose of unneeded medications, helping to prevent prescription drug misuse. This year, almost 745,000 pounds of prescriptions were removed, adding to the over 15.2 million pounds of medication removed from circulation since the day’s inception.



Urge Your Legislators to Transform our Nation’s Crisis Care Continuum. With a July 2022 launch date for 9-8-8 implementation fast approaching, significant investments are needed to improve and secure the suicide prevention, mental health, and substance use crisis care continuum. The Ask: Urge House and Senate leadership to include a set of recommendations in a legislative vehicle to transform and coordinate our nation’s crisis care continuum.



President to Sign Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. President Joe Biden plans to sign the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at a ceremony early next week. Click here to read a comprehensive analysis of the legislation.