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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.

SAMHSA Holds Listening Session on CCBHC Certification Criteria

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Nina Marshall

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Yesterday, SAMHSA held a listening session on certification criteria for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). Passed by Congress in March of this year, CCBHCs will provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services while being paid under a prospective payment system that will assure clinics have the financial resources to provide high quality care. Over 1700 people registered to attend the listening session, either in person or virtually, and nearly 150 registered to comment publicly.

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SAMHSA Releases Registration, Comment Details for Excellence Act Listening Session

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Following up on last month’s announcement that it would hold a November 12 listening session on the Excellence in Mental Health Act, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released registration details and additional information for the event.

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SAMHSA to Host Listening Session on Excellence in Mental Health Act

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has announced it will hold a listening session on the Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program November 12, 2014. SAMHSA is tasked with writing the federal regulations that will specify how organizations can meet the law’s criteria to become Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs).

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#IceBucketCaucus

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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Two months ago, many Americans had never heard of an obscure neurodegenerative disease that affects 30,000 people in the U.S. Now, thanks to the #IceBucketChallenge, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a household word. With that rise in awareness has come a stunning increase in private donations to ALS research and patient support – as of today, donors have contributed $88.5 million, compared to $2.6 million during this period last year.

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Excellence Act Demonstration Program: The Details

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

With the enactment of the Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program this week, now the real work of implementation begins. So, what’s in the law? And how will it affect community mental health and substance use providers? Keep reading for the nitty-gritty details.

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President Obama Signs Excellence in Mental Health Act into Law

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law H.R. 4302, a bill to temporarily stave off Medicare physician payment cuts that also includes the historic Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program.

The legislation, which passed the House last Thursday and the Senate on Monday night, establishes a $900 million, two year demonstration program in eight unspecified states to offer a broad range of mental health and substance use treatment services, including 24-hour crisis psychiatric services, while setting new standards for provider organizations.

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House Passes Medicare Bill Including Excellence Act; Bill Goes to Senate

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Congressional negotiators released a final Medicare SGR Repeal bill on Tuesday that includes $900 million to fund the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act. The Excellence Act, sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) along with Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), would improve quality and expand access to mental health care and substance use treatment through community behavioral health clinics.

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Latest Maneuver in “Doc Fix” Debate Includes Excellence in Mental Health Act

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee, has introduced a bill to permanently repeal the unpopular Medicare physician payment formula, while enacting a Medicaid demonstration program that would bolster the nation’s community behavioral health system.

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Progress Report on the Excellence in Mental Health Act

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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

As I was sitting down to write this update I was searching for the right analogy to describe the legislative process in Washington. My first thought was to compare it to a roller coaster with all of the highs and lows, starts and stops. But the more I thought about it, I think the Tilt-A-Whirl is more apt – you know, that is the ride in which you sit in a little car, and it spins very fast in every direction, unpredictably. That is sure how it feels sometimes!

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Year in Review: Progress for Behavioral Health on the Hill

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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The beginning of a new year is always a time for reflection on our achievements over the last twelve months and setting goals for what we hope to accomplish in the coming twelve. 2014 is an especially exciting time to do this because of how far we’ve come with our legislative priorities, thanks to unprecedented support in Congress and the outstanding support from advocates like you.

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Budget Compromise Passes Congress; Includes Short-term Medicare Pay Fix

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Congress this week approved a bill setting top-line budget numbers for 2014 and 2015. The agreement alleviated fears of another government shutdown by paving the way for an omnibus spending package that will set programmatic spending levels for the remainder of the fiscal year. It also includes a three-month postponement of an imminent 20 percent cut to Medicare physician pay rates, giving House and Senate negotiators breathing room to finish their work on a comprehensive, permanent fix that could include the Excellence in Mental Health Act.

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Congressman Tim Murphy Introduces Mental Health Reform Bill

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Today, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced a bill to reform the nation’s mental health delivery system. The legislation is the culmination of a year-long series of hearings Murphy held as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Committee in the wake of the tragic 2012 Newtown shooting.

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National Council Launches Op-Ed Campaign to Build Support for Excellence in Mental Health Act

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council this week launched a new campaign to raise the profile of the Excellence in Mental Health Act and build congressional support for its passage. Please participate by using this template to submit an op-ed to your local newspapers!

Media coverage is essential to our success because it raises the bill’s profile and highlights the broad support for it in legislators’ home districts. This is especially true of local press and op-eds, which are influential with legislators and lay the groundwork for much of the advocacy we are doing on Capitol Hill.

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White House Conference on Mental Health: What Now?

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Heather Cobb

Sr. Director, Creative & Strategy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The June 3, 2013 White Houses Conference on Mental Health brought great attention to mental health and addictions. But what now? What are our next steps?

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