National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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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.

988 Report to Congress, Upcoming Senate Hearing on Youth Mental Health

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Mollie Laird

Associate, Federal Policy

BREAKING NEWS Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings on the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandates for the workforce. The Court upheld the rule from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that requires healthcare workers to be vaccinated if their employer receives Medicare or Medicaid funding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) Emergency Temporary […]

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Webinar on Vaccine Mandates, New Workforce Issue Brief

November 19, 2021 | COVID-19 | Medicaid | Comments
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Malka Berro

Manager, Federal Policy

BY THE NUMBERS The National Center for Health Statistics released annual overdose data this week. In the one-year period between April 2020 and April 2021, 100,000 Americans likely lost their lives due to drug overdose. This is the first time overdose deaths in one year exceeded 100,000, despite increasing steadily and soaring during the COVID-19 […]

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Vaccine Requirement Announcements, Advocate for 988

November 12, 2021 | COVID-19 | Workforce | Comments
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Malka Berro

Manager, Federal Policy

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 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. […]

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Phase 4 Provider Relief/American Rescue Plan Funding

October 1, 2021 | COVID-19 | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force recently published its 2021 Legislative Agenda for the 117th Congress. The agenda includes key National Council priorities, including several Hill Day at Home asks, such as the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021; the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act; the Medication […]

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New Grant Funding for Mental Health and Substance Use, 988 Briefing

May 21, 2021 | Addictions | COVID-19 | Telehealth | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “Behavioral health is a priority for the Department of Health and Human Services. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the need to invest resources in our nation’s mental health and address the inequities that still exist around behavioral health care.” – Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announcing the department’s new Behavioral Health […]

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PPP Deadline, New Emergency Broadband Program

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

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 […]

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Senate to Vote on COVID Relief

March 5, 2021 | COVID-19 | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS New “State of the Industry” data released by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing finds 40% of mental health and addiction treatment organizations surveyed will not be able to keep their doors open past the end of the year without additional federal relief. The data arrives amidst rising concerns about mental health, increases in overdoses, and a surge in overdose death rates in […]

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New CCBHCs Announced, Budget Resolution Passed

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

On Wednesday, February 3, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a list of 134 clinics that were awarded a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grant, expanding the program to now include 340 CCBHCs across 40 states, Guam, and Washington, D.C. These new CCBHCs will join the hundreds that have increased access to critical integrated, evidence-based behavioral health services to those in need. The National Council applauds this effort and thanks SAMHSA and Congress for recognizing the program’s importance and the need to expand access to high-quality mental health and substance use care.

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CMS Announces Medicare Part D Demonstration, Methamphetamine Use Disorder Breakthrough

January 22, 2021 | COVID-19 | Medicaid | Medicare | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “This hasty midnight regulation is a step against some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and the bipartisan lawmakers who have tirelessly defended the merits of Medicare’s protected classes policy. We look forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress to ensure we give people in our nation with the most […]

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CMS Guidance on End-of Pandemic Medicaid Changes, CCBHC Applications

January 8, 2021 | COVID-19 | Medicaid | Medicare | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz resigned yesterday as the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. The National Council sincerely thanks Dr. McCance-Katz for her service and contributions to the behavioral health community. Read her statement here.   CMS Guidance on End-of-Pandemic Medicaid Changes On December 22, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services […]

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Distribution of Provider Relief Funds, Crisis Stabilization Passes

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “Today, we move one step closer to improving how justice-involved people receive mental health and substance use disorder treatment… On behalf of the National Council, I thank Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and Blumenthal (D-CT), as well as Reps. Trone (D-MD), Rutherford (R-FL), Dean (D-PA), Reschenthaler (R-PA), Scanlon (D-PA), and Armstrong (R-ND) for continuing to prioritize […]

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House Passes Short-Term Federal Funding, Physician Fee Schedule Summary

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “COVID-19 has accelerated and expanded our country’s mental health and substance use disorder crisis. Access to treatment – when and where people need it – remains the biggest challenge we face. Unfortunately, insurers have consistently fought to illegally deny equitable coverage and states have lacked the tools to hold them accountable. No longer.” – […]

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FY2021 Appropriations, Finalized Physician Fee Schedule

December 4, 2020 | Addictions | COVID-19 | Medicare | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on their initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution recommendations. As written, it is unclear if behavioral health providers and organizations are included under the panel’s recommended Phase 1 vaccination distribution category. This also follows a new […]

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HHS Opens Phase 2 Portal

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Shelley Starkey

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “The addition of Kentucky and Michigan to the CCBHC Medicaid demonstration will lower barriers to access and allow more people in more communities to receive the treatment and services they need, like medication-assisted treatment, as they cope with the disruption caused by the pandemic. By extending the demonstration to Kentucky and Michigan, Congress has […]

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Senate Releases COVID-19 Relief Package

July 31, 2020 | COVID-19 | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

Director, Federal Policy & Advocacy

On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced a series of bills in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The series of proposals – collectively named the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act – were drafted by the chairs of various committees of jurisdiction including Senate HELP, Finance, Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Appropriations. The HEALS Act totals nearly $1 trillion in relief aid and is the starting point for bipartisan negotiations between the House and Senate as they look to finalize a deal as quickly as possible.

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2,000 Advocates Join National Council’s First Ever Virtual Hill Day at Home

June 26, 2020 | COVID-19 | Hill Day | Justice | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

This week, the National Council partnered with 29 national advocacy organizations to host our first ever Hill Day at Home. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill Day 2020 was hosted virtually, making advocating for individuals living with mental illness and addiction more accessible than ever. A record-breaking 2,000 advocates from across the nation joined Hill Day at Home, reaching 511 Members of Congress with our policy asks. If you weren’t able to join live, you can access presentations and exhibitors’ information until July 23, and there is still time to reach out to your legislators – encouraging their support for a number of legislative priorities that are important to the behavioral health community.

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House Unveils COVID-19 Response Proposal

May 15, 2020 | COVID-19 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

The House of Representatives this week proposed a $3 trillion COVID-19 response package, called the Health Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The bill includes a number of provisions that would support behavioral health providers, including $3 billion for various programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, $100 billion for the Health Care Provider Relief Fund, as well as a codified application process and formula for providers to access the funds, eligibility expansions for nonprofits in the Paycheck Protection Program, and more. Although these provisions are steps forward for the nation’s coronavirus response, the National Council continues to push for more direct supports for behavioral health providers, including our main ask of $38.5 billion in emergency funds.

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Congress Passes “Phase 3.5” COVID-19 Response Package

April 23, 2020 | COVID-19 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Congress has reached a $475 billion deal on a “Phase 3.5” legislative package to provide funding for pressing needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The deal provides an additional $310 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which recently ran out of funds, as well as another $10 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. It also provides $75 billion for health care providers via the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, supplementing the $100 billion provided in the CARES Act.  The bill now moves to President Trump’s desk for his signature, which is expected as early as today.

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Advocates Continue Speaking Up for Behavioral Health on Federal Level

April 23, 2020 | COVID-19 | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

As Congress and federal agencies continue their work to provide economic relief for businesses and nonprofits as well as to address the unique public health challenges the country faces through the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Council and countless other vocal advocates have been bringing our voices to the table to ensure that mental health and addiction treatment providers and their patients have their needs met during these challenging times. From requests for $38.5 billion in direct emergency funds for mental health and addiction treatment providers and organizations to highlighting long-held legislative priorities, the National Council has listened to our members’ needs and has made moves to meet them.

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Federal Advocacy Groups Urge Continued Support for Behavioral Health During Pandemic

April 10, 2020 | COVID-19 | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

The National Council continued its advocacy efforts this week with legislators and administration officials, urging the allocation of nearly $40 billion in emergency funds for providers of mental health and addiction treatment services. National Council President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia participated in a call with the White House on Thursday and spoke directly to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about the field’s needs for emergency appropriations to avert a large-scale public health calamity. We are also actively engaging with Congress, leadership in the Trump Administration, and state and local leaders to ensure fixes to the continued problems our members have made us aware of, including increasing access to telehealth services and equipment and expanding crisis stabilization services across the country.

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