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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.

Budget Resolution and Infrastructure Package Update, and More

August 20, 2021 | Federal Budget | Hill Day | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

TAKE ACTION Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021 (S. 2689). This bipartisan legislation would clarify existing law to ensure that the services provided for certain foster children in need of a higher level of care are covered by Medicaid. Please […]

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Presidential Budget Released, Block Grant Guidance

June 4, 2021 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 95% of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) are engaged in one or more innovative practices in collaboration with law enforcement and criminal justice agencies (e.g., police, jails, and courts). Read more about how CCBHCs are leading a bold shift in mental health and substance use care in the May […]

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Loan Repayment Applications Open, New CMHC Grant

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS This week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a new Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) Grant Program to help providers bridge the service delivery gap. Read more and apply by May 21, 2021.   CARA 3.0 Introduced Senators Portman (R-OH) Whitehouse (D-RI), Capito (R-WV), Klobuchar (D-MN), and Shaheen (D-NH) recently […]

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PPP Extension Act, Take Action

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it is extending access to the Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment Period until August 15, 2021.   PPP Extension Act Signed into Law Small businesses will have more time to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan thanks to swift action […]

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House Wraps Up Reconciliation, Working on COVID Package

February 19, 2021 | Addictions | Federal Budget | Medicaid | Take Action | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS In accordance with a recent executive order on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the Health Insurance Marketplace reopened this week and will remain open through Saturday, May 15.   House Wraps Up Reconciliation, Working on COVID Package Last week, House Committees finished work on budget […]

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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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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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Senate Passes Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act, Funding Deadline Looms

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “I want to thank Senator Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) for their leadership in introducing the bill, as well as Senators from both sides of the aisle for prioritizing increased access to mental health treatment for incarcerated individuals. This is especially important during a time when our nation’s most vulnerable people are at […]

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House Appropriations Committee Approves FY21 Health Spending

July 17, 2020 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

The House Appropriations Committee approved its Labor-HHS spending levels for Fiscal Year 2021 on Monday, funding key federal health, education and labor programs for the year ahead.

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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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White House Releases FY 2021 Budget Request

February 13, 2020 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Natalie Weiner

Manager, Policy & Advocacy

On Monday the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request which totals $4.8 trillion. The proposal includes significant nondefense discretionary cuts including a nine percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies. The proposed budget does, however, include $906 million to extend the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program as well as $225 million in CCBHC expansion grants. These funds would enable CCBHCs to continue offering the full range of required mental health and addiction treatment services. Despite the positive signal of support for CCBHCs, the budget also includes major cuts to Medicaid and other critical behavioral health programs that would significantly harm Americans living with mental illness and addiction.

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What to Expect for Behavioral Health in 2020

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Shelley Starkey

From funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to state Medicaid waivers, 2020 is sure to be a whirlwind for behavioral health and for the health care system at large. While Congress remains split down party lines with Democratic control of the House and Republican control of the Senate, time will tell if any large changes will happen during this election year. Here is a preview of what is likely ahead in health policy in the first year of the new decade.

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Congress Passes FY 2020 Funding

December 20, 2019 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

This week, Congress passed a set of bills that appropriate federal funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. These bills are now with President Trump, and he is expected to sign them into law before the deadline at midnight, Friday, December 20. FY 2020 behavioral health funding prioritizes efforts to address the opioid crisis and increases funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) and behavioral health research.

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CCBHC Demonstration Extended Through May

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Shelley Starkey

As part of the Fiscal Year 2020 funding package, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program currently operating in 8 states has been extended through May 22, 2020. The bill also provides a $50 million increase to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s CCBHC expansion grants, thanks in large part to Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) efforts. The National Council thanks Congress for its passage of the longest CCBHC funding extension to date and will continue our work advocating for further funding for this critical program.

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Continuing Resolution Passes Out of Senate, Onto President for Signature

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Shelley Starkey

Both chambers of Congress have agreed to a stopgap funding bill that will keep the federal government open through November 21, giving appropriators more time to finalize Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) funding levels. The continuing resolution (CR) includes a short-term extension for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid demonstration and level funding for the majority of ongoing federal programs. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

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Senate Health Appropriations Language Released

September 20, 2019 | Addictions | Federal Budget | Mental Health | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

With just over one week left until the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations work is due to avoid a government shutdown, the Senate is still working to finalize its funding bills. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee put a pause on their Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending discussions over partisan disputes about what should and should not be included in the bill. Although the Committee has yet to discuss or vote on the bill, its draft text and report were publicly posted on Tuesday, a move that is out of the norm until after a full Committee markup.

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Deal Reached on Budget Caps and Debt Ceiling, On to Senate for Approval

July 26, 2019 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Congressional leaders and White House officials reached a sweeping deal on Monday that would address pressing deadlines for the federal debt ceiling and budgetary spending caps. The Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 3877) represents the largest-ever increase in base funding above sequestration levels for both defense and nondefense spending. The deal also effectively ends the threat of sequestration – a mandatory automatic spending cuts put in place in 2011.   The House passed the bill on Thursday, and the Senate is expected to hold its vote next week.

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FY 2020 Health Spending Package Passes House

June 27, 2019 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Policy & Advocacy Coordinator

Last week, the House passed its fiscal year 2020, Defense-Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS) appropriations bills, which include funding for federal mental health and addiction programs. The $1 trillion package would prioritize funding to address the opioid crisis and increase medical research. The minibus passed largely along party lines and is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate as currently written. Importantly, Congressional leaders from both parties and President Trump will need to work out a larger deal to lift impending budget caps before September 30th, 2019 for any spending bill to become law.

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