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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.

Health Panel Advises Depression Screenings During and After Pregnancy

January 28, 2016 | Children and Youth | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Tuesday, a US medical panel recommended that all adults, including pregnant and postpartum women, get screened for depression. This is the first time the US Preventive Services Task Force – an independent panel of scientists – specifically advised mental health screenings for women during and after pregnancy. Insurers will now be required to cover depression screenings without cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act’s list of preventive services.

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Dept. of Education, HHS Work to Better Connect Health and Educational Services

January 21, 2016 | Children and Youth | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

This week, the Education Department and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a collection of resources to help states better connect health and education services. According to the release, the two agencies came together to increase access to health insurance, improve mental and physical support for students and families and strengthen coordination between health and education systems in states and school districts.

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New Resources Page for First Episode Psychosis

January 7, 2016 | Children and Youth | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

This week, the National Council launched a new resources page on first episode psychosis. The website includes information about the clinical, workforce, training and financing elements for successful adoption of early intervention models of care for psychosis. Similar to other chronic health conditions, the sooner symptoms are identified and a treatment program is put into action, the more likely it is for a patient’s overall condition and health status to improve.

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CMCS Updates New Core Quality Measures for Medicaid, CHIP

December 30, 2015 | Children and Youth | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Earlier this month, the Center for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Services (CMCS) published an update to core quality measures for adults and children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. The core measures are tools states can use to monitor and improve the quality of services provided to the Medicaid and CHIP population. The new measures will take effect no later than December, 2016.

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Mental Health Awareness Trainings Included in House-Approved Education Bill

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Wednesday, the House of Representative approved a long-debated education reauthorization bill that includes language based on the Mental Health First Aid Act. The House and Senate earlier this year approved differing versions of the education bill, but only the Senate version include mental health awareness training programs. After a period of deliberation and debate, House and Senate negotiators released a conference committee report that irons out differences between the two bills—and importantly, preserves the Senate-passed provisions authorizing mental health awareness training. The House approved package now heads to the Senate for a final vote before being sent to President Obama’s desk.

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CMS Finds Qualified Health Plans, CHIP too Different to Certify as Comparable

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

A new analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finds that coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is more comprehensive and more favorable for kids and families than marketplace exchange plans. The comparison, mandated by the Affordable Care Act, concluded that CHIP plans are more likely to meet the needs of kids and families and therefore could not certify the plans as comparable.

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CMS Announces Funding for Outreach Activities to Enroll Children in Medicaid and CHIP

November 19, 2015 | Children and Youth | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week announced $32 million in grant funding to support outreach efforts to families with children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The program, known as Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grant funds, aims to educate the public and enroll children and families in health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP.

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CMS, SAMHSA Announce Medicaid Coverage Options for Early Intervention in Psychosis

October 23, 2015 | Children and Youth | Medicaid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an informational bulletin intended to assist states in designing a benefit package to guide early treatment intervention options that will meet the needs of youth and young adults experiencing first-episode psychosis. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created the bulletin through their ongoing partnership to support early intervention services for young adults that experience first episode psychosis.

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Democrats, Republicans Take Different Approach to CHIP Reauthorization

February 26, 2015 | Children and Youth | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire in October and members from both parties have offered solutions as to how to extend it beyond 2015. These solutions offer differing timeframes of reauthorization; maintain or eliminate different pieces of the program; and propose different requirements of states for whom to offer health coverage. While House and Senate Democrats have officially introduced legislation, House and Senate Republicans have released a draft bill, welcoming comments from stakeholders.

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CMS Clarifies Reimbursement Policy on “Free Care” in Schools

January 8, 2015 | Children and Youth | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently sent a letter to State Medicaid Directors withdrawing its prior guidance on the “free care” policy as expressed in the School-Based Administrative Claiming Guide and other guidances. This withdrawal will benefit children and children’s providers by clarifying complex Medicaid reimbursement policy related to “free care” provided at schools.

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Study: ACA Boosts Mental Health Access for Young Adults

August 27, 2014 | Children and Youth | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

A new study published in Health Affairs suggests that an Affordable Care Act provision is partly responsible for a 2 percent increase in the number of young adults that receive mental health care. Under the health law, young adults are allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26.

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Senators Baldwin and Portman Introduce Therapeutic Foster Care Bill

February 13, 2014 | Children and Youth | Medicaid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On February 4, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation to provide for a standard Medicaid definition for therapeutic foster care.

Therapeutic foster care (often referred to as “Treatment Foster Care” or TFC) is the evidence-informed, trauma-informed, and highly effective placement of children and youth with serious medical, psychological, emotional and social needs.

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