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.

Provider Relief Fund FAQs, Register for Hill Day at Home

September 10, 2021 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

BY THE NUMBERS 76% of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) participate in specialty courts, and 72% train law enforcement and corrections officers in mental health and substance use awareness, according to a new National Council report discussing how states and localities utilize the CCBHC model to partner with various divisions of the justice systems. […]

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Join Hill Day at Home, Budget Resolution Passed

September 3, 2021 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Share your experiences, hear from peers and learn how to elevate your advocacy during Hill Day at Home, our annual advocacy event uniting thousands of people online to advocate on important legislation. Last year, Hill Day at Home resulted in 5,273 advocacy actions and 416 members of Congress being reached. […]

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Act Now to Support CCBHCs, Register for Harm Reduction Webinar

August 8, 2021 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

QUOTABLE “We’re also reconceptualizing what’s now a suicide hotline to be a mental health or behavioral health crisis line… We anticipate that as 988 gets put into place, as people begin describing it as a crisis hotline, that there will be more calls and we’ll need to shore up that entire kind of infrastructure.” – […]

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National Council Calls for Permanent Extension of Telehealth in Medicare, and More

July 30, 2021 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the availability of $103 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to reduce burnout and support the mental health of the health workforce. Three funding opportunities are now accepting applications and will be open […]

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New CCBHC Grants, CARA 3.0

July 9, 2021 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT On Wednesday, July 14, from 2-3 p.m. ET,  the National Council is hosting “Our Nation’s Wellbeing: Where Do We Go from Here?”, the next event in our “Wellbeing Wednesday” virtual learning series. This month, we are featuring a timely and powerful discussion between U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MPH, […]

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House Votes on COVID Relief Today

February 26, 2021 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

IN THE NEWS A new report by the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health outlines the various ways states utilize Medicaid waivers to increase access to quality behavioral health services. Medicaid Financing for Behavioral Health Services: The Use of Flexibilities and Authorities seeks to determine the variation in behavioral health provider reimbursement rates under […]

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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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Department of State Issues Public Charge Rule

October 31, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Earlier this month, the Department of State (DOS) issued an interim final rule that mirrors changes to expand the definition of a “public charge,” promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security. Some immigrants are subject to a test when entering the U.S. to determine if they will become a “public charge,” or someone who is likely to become dependent on the government in the future, which weighs against their immigration eligibility. The DOS rule, which has not yet taken effect, would apply to non-U.S. citizens who go through consular processing in their home country before entering the U.S.

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Executive Order Seeks to Limit Agency Guidance

October 17, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order designed to limit the effect of federal agency guidance. Historically, agencies have issued guidance to the public on how to best comply with a law or regulation, and, for many agencies, guidance documents have taken the place of policymaking. Issuing guidance can often be a much faster process than the possible years of waiting for federal regulation to be approved. The executive order makes all current and future guidance documents nonbinding, “both in law and in practice.”

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Legal Challenges Halt Implementation of DHS Public Charge Rule

October 17, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Federal judges in New York, California, and Washington state have issued temporary injunctions against the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) public charge rule. The rule, which was set to take effect on October 15 but is now on hold, would greatly expand the definition of “public charge” when considering some immigrants’ applications to enter or become permanent residents of the United States. The National Council has long opposed the proposed updates to public charge determinations as they would result in significant harm to the health and welfare of migrant families.

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White House Bars Uninsured Immigrants from Entry to US

October 10, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

President Trump last week released a proclamation suspending entry for some immigrants who cannot prove that they will have health coverage or the means to pay for it without assistance within 30 days of their arrival. Under the proclamation, immigrants who “will financially burden the U.S. healthcare system” by remaining uninsured or relying on public health programs such as Medicaid or government-subsidized coverage will be denied a visa. The National Council remains strongly opposed to policies such as this that prevent individuals from receiving health care and assistance to which they are legally entitled.

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Presidential Candidates Offer Thoughts on Mental Health in America

August 29, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Katiri Zuluaga

Manager, State Initiatives

Mental Health for US, of which the National Council is a founding coalition member, released survey responses from top presidential candidates on how they would improve mental health and addiction care in America, if elected. Candidates polling at one percent or higher nationally were sent an 11-question survey covering topics including suicide prevention, criminal justice reform, access to care, and addiction. Responses were received from U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.

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House Passes Funding Extension for CCBHC Demonstration

June 20, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Wendolyn Ebbert

Intern, Policy & Practice Improvement

On Tuesday, the House voted to pass the “Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R. 3253),” which would extend funding for certain Medicaid programs. Under the provision, funding for the eight-state Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program would be extended for another two and a half years until December 21, 2021. There was overwhelming bipartisan support of H.R. 3253, passing with a vote of 371-46. The bill must now go to the Senate for a vote before the CCBHC demonstration program expires on June 30th, 2019.

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National Council Member Testifies in Support of Extending CCBHCs

June 6, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Wendolyn Ebbert

Intern, Policy & Practice Improvement

On Tuesday, Mary-Catherine Bohan of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), a National Council member and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in support of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/ H.R. 1767). The legislation would extend the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid demonstration program in its original eight states for two years and expand the program to 11 other states that applied but were not originally selected. The CCBHC program is set to expire on June 30th, 2019 if Congress does not act. 

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NatCon19 Showcases Behavioral Health Policy Landscape

March 28, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Katiri Zuluaga

Manager, State Initiatives

This past week, over 6,000 attendees gathered in Nashville, TN for NatCon19, behavioral health’s premier conference. From inspiring fireside chats and keynotes to line dancing, NatCon19 had it all and provided the latest insights into policy challenges, solutions and guidance for behavioral health advocates. The consensus among health care leaders, government officials and innovative experts is that Medicaid waivers, state plan amendments, parity, and telehealth policy will continue to dominate the 2019 policy landscape for mental health and addiction treatment. NatCon19 attendees can access all presentation slides here with their badge number.

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What to Watch in Health Care in 2019

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Stephanie Pellitt

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The 116th Congress began on Thursday amid a government funding lapse that has shut down roughly 25 percent of the federal government. Democrats are set to lead the House chamber for the first time since 2010, while Republicans remain in control in the Senate. While legislation may be move less quickly in the new divided Congress, lawmakers will still face a number of “must-pass” bills that include health care priorities. Additionally, the Trump Administration will continue to shape the health care landscape with Medicaid waivers and potential payment reforms. Here is a preview of what’s ahead in health policy in 2019.

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NatCon19: The Best in Behavioral Health

December 20, 2018 | Take Action | Uncategorized | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

, National Council for Behavioral Health

On March 25-27th, behavioral health’s premier conference, NatCon19, will kick off in Nashville, TN. NatCon19 is where the best in behavioral health gather to learn from industry experts, take in world-class entertainment, keep up on the most innovative products, and make new connections. Policy and advocacy are always a special focus at NatCon. This year, our NatCon19 Policy Track will help you gain understanding of the latest policy challenges and solutions and guidance on how you can influence policy to better support clinics and patients.

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National Council Survey Shows Providers’ Policy Priorities

December 13, 2018 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

, National Council for Behavioral Health

In a few short weeks, Members of the 116th Congress will begin work on Capitol Hill. A new Congress equals new opportunities to improve the lives of individuals and families impacted mental illness and substance use disorders. To help prepare for the new Congress, the National Council’s Policy and Advocacy team recently surveyed National Council members to gather input on federal policy priorities for 2019 and beyond. Read more a for a summary of the results

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House Panel Examines 21st Century Cures Mental Health Initiatives

July 26, 2018 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act’s mental health provisions was the topic of a Congressional hearing last week. Lawmakers sought updates on the Administration’s progress in strengthening the behavioral health workforce and mental health parity enforcement. Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), testified to her agency’s progress in addressing these initiatives as well as other pressing mental health and addiction issues.

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Trump Administration Proposes Consolidating Public Assistance Programs

June 28, 2018 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Shelley Starkey

Last week, the White House released a proposal to make sweeping changes to the Executive Branch of the government, reorganizing agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), among others. Among the more notable proposed changes is to consolidate certain public assistance programs under HHS and rebrand the agency as the Department of Health and Public Welfare. Congress’s approval will be needed to make most of the large-scale changes, which poses a significant challenge to the plan’s enactment.

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