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.

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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COVID-19 Telehealth Grants, Updated Buprenorphine Guidelines

April 30, 2021 | Addictions | Telehealth | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

In the week of April 26, the Census Bureau released the 2020 population counts for congressional apportionment over the next decade.

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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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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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COVID-19 Relief Signed Into Law

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BREAKING NEWS Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on Wednesday. This $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill includes billions in support for life-saving mental health and substance use services. President Biden signed the package into law yesterday. For a comprehensive breakdown of the mental health and substance use disorder-related provisions, click here. For […]

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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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Washington Post Live Event Highlights Veterans’ Mental Health

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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) spoke at a Washington Post Live event this week about veterans’ mental health and their new bill, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act (S. 785). On average, 20 veterans die by suicide every day, with only 6 of those having received treatment […]

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DEA Misses Deadline for Teleprescribing Special Registration

October 31, 2019 | Addictions | Telehealth | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially missed its deadline to submit its plans to Congress on how it will execute a special registration process that would allow providers to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine. The directive from Congress was passed in last year’s SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act and was aimed at combatting the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). DEA was given one year from the signing of that law to create and release its plan to initiate this special registration process. While the agency admits it missed the deadline, no plans have yet been announced to comply with the law and finalize the special registration process.

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New Bill Expands Access to Telehealth for Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorder

August 8, 2019 | Addictions | Telehealth | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

Director, Federal Policy and Advocacy

New legislation introduced in Congress this week would expand access to telemedicine for mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The Improving Access to Remote Behavioral Health Treatment Act of 2019 (S. 2244/H.R. 4131) would amend regulations for the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 and specifically name community mental health centers and addiction treatment centers as eligible sites to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine.

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National Council Continues Push for Behavioral Health Telehealth Solutions

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Stephanie Pellitt

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council has been a longtime advocate for changing federal regulations that restrict how behavioral health medications that are controlled substances can be prescribed via telemedicine. Recognizing the urgent need to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other behavioral health medications, the National Council worked closely with Members of Congress to secure a provision in the opioid legislative package (SUPPORT Act) that would address this problem. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) now has until October 1, 2019 to clarify when the agency can issue prescribers a special registration that would enable them to treat patients for the first time via telemedicine.

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Opioid Package Expands Telemedicine for Behavioral Health

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Shelley Starkey

New provisions that would expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) via telemedicine were included in the sweeping package of opioid legislation (H.R. 6) that has been passed by Congress and now awaits the President’s signature. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing applauds Congress for acting on this issue and taking up our recommendations, and remains committed to further expanding access to these evidence-based treatments through telemedicine.

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Latest DEA Guidance Offers Little “New” Information for Community Behavioral Health Providers

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) jointly released guidance on telemedicine and the prescribing of opioids for treatment of opioid use disorder. The National Council has long been advocating for changes to be made to DEA regulations restricting how behavioral health medications that are controlled substances can be prescribed via telemedicine. While the guidance is meant to promote the use of telemedicine during the opioid crisis, it offers little “new” information and instead reiterates what is and is not permitted under current law.

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