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Capitol Connector
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.

A HUG for Kids in Need: NAMI of Collier County

July 2, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Ali Siemianowski

Communication Specialist, National Council for Behavioral Health

Florida’s public mental health funding is among the lowest in the U.S., with a system demand for treatment that is often far greater than available resources. NAMI of Collier County sought to change the barriers and lack of resources that many parents face accessing much-needed services for their children.

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Rep. Matsui Introduces Legislation to Increase Clarity on HIPAA Privacy Rules

June 11, 2015 | Privacy & HIPAA | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced legislation this week aimed at clarifying often misunderstood guidance regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Specifically, the legislation aims to make clear HIPAA privacy rules as they apply to patients with mental illness by creating training programs to educate providers, patients and families about what health information can be shared and under what circumstances.

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National Council, NASMHPD Host Congressional Briefings on Early Intervention Psychosis

May 14, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Tuesday, the National Council for Behavioral Health and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) cohosted two congressional staff briefings to raise awareness of the need for investing in early intervention psychosis programs. Each year, 100,000 young people will develop psychosis, with only a small fraction receiving the comprehensive, coordinated care that could prevent a lifetime of disability.

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Apply today for a 2015 Connect for Mental Health Community Innovation Award

May 14, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Connect 4 Mental Health (C4MH) Community Innovation Awards recognize four community mental health organizations that prioritize making a difference in the lives of people with serious mental illness. In addition to the national recognition of the award, each winner receives $10,000 and access to a one-on-one mentorship program for the year following the award.

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National Council, Relias Learning Launch Certificates of Excellence

April 23, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

This week, the National Council, in partnership with Relias Learning, launched a new certification program to support behavioral health treatment providers. “Centers of Excellence” are the pinnacle of the new certification program that offers providers a guide to help advance their practices into the 21st century.

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The National Council Conference Heads to Orlando!

April 16, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council Conference is almost here! Starting Sunday, the nation’s premier specialty health care conference kicks off in Orlando, Florida. This year, the National Council is thrilled to be hosting thought leaders and innovators shaping the future of our field. Conference headliners include former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, health care reform expert Ezekiel Emanuel, and outspoken advocate Ashley Judd.

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CMS Releases Comprehensive Assessment of Quality Measures, Reporting Programs

March 4, 2015 | Medicaid | Medicare | Quality | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an assessment of quality measures intended to improve the delivery of health care services. The report – completed every three years – examines the effectiveness and impact of each measurement and outlines the performance these measures are having on patients. According to the report, these quality measures are improving care for patients, leading to smarter spending and healthier people.

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Congressional Leaders Introduce Legislation to Stem Medicare Fraud

February 26, 2015 | Medicare | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Legislation introduced in the House this week aims to reduce Medicare fraud and abuse and strengthen the integrity of the program. Among its many provisions, the bill would create a Part D plan drug management plan to prevent prescription drug abuse. In this program, beneficiaries deemed “at risk of prescription drug abuse” would only be eligible to receive and fill prescription from specific providers and in specific pharmacies.

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GOP Moves to Draft ACA Replacement

February 2, 2015 | Medicaid | Medicare | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last Friday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that a trio of Republican committee chairmen will immediately get to work on drafting the party’s Affordable Care Act replacement plan. McCarthy announced the formation of the working group one day after House leaders scheduled a vote this week to fully repeal the 2010 healthcare reform law, marking the first such effort of the Republican-controlled Congress. The group, which includes Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), is also tasked with developing a “contingency plan” to prepare for a looming Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell that could undo ACA subsidies in 34 states.

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HHS Outlines Goals for Tying Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement to Value-Driven Care

January 29, 2015 | Medicaid | Medicare | Quality | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Providers of the future will be paid based on quality and value. That was the message of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell this week, as she announced new measurable goals and a timeline intended to move the Medicare program further toward value-driven health care. The Secretary also announced the creation of a Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, which will involve working with state Medicaid programs, consumers, private payers, employers, providers, and others to expand alternative payment models into their programs. This is the first time in the history of the Medicare program that HHS has set explicit goals for alternative payment models [APMs] and value-based payments.

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GOP Senators Reintroduce Bill to Repeal Individual Mandate

January 29, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, a group of 22 Senators reintroduced the American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 203), legislation to repeal provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring individuals to have health insurance. Known as the “individual mandate,” the requirement went into effect in 2014, with this tax season being the first some will have to pay a fine for remaining uninsured.

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Deep Discussions on Hot Topics in Public Policy at the 2015 National Council Conference

January 29, 2015 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Looking to stay on top of the latest news out of Capitol Hill and want more than your weekly Capitol Connector? Join us in Orlando for the Policy Track at the annual National Council Conference!

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NIDA Invites Public Input on Strategic Plan, Drug Abuse Research Priorities

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is now accepting public comments on its Strategic Plan, which outlines a framework for the research it will support over the next five years.

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CCIIO Clarifies Non-Discrimination Requirements in Letter to Health Plan Issuers

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In its annual draft guidance outlining the criteria and requirements by which health insurance plans can be certified to provide coverage through Healthcare.gov, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has provided clarification on its standards for non-discrimination in plan design, network adequacy, and contracting with “essential community providers.”

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National Council Submits Comments on Supportive Housing Regulations

December 11, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, the National Council submitted comments to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) commending its efforts to fully implement two supportive housing statutes. The comments, written in conjunction with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, urged HUD to issue further clarification on multiple fronts, clarifying the scope and depth of the proposed rule. The comments also recommended changes throughout, ensuring affordable housing options for individuals with mental health conditions and addictions disorders.

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Refusing to Wait: Henderson Behavioral Health Counters First Episode Psychosis

November 26, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Susan Partain

Manager, Communication Projects, National Council for Behavioral Health

People don’t call community behavioral health providers and say they need an intervention for first episode psychosis. They call to ask questions – they are unsure about what is going on with their child, or are confused about their own experiences.

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Study Finds Medication Restrictions Significantly Affect Mental Health Outcomes

November 13, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

A new study administered by the National Council for Behavioral Health and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found many common insurance and state Medicaid policies may negatively impact patient health and impose a major workload on psychiatrists that takes time away from patient care and other important duties.

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Saving Millions, Improving Lives: San Antonio’s Center for Health Care Services

November 13, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Susan Partain

Manager, Communication Projects, National Council for Behavioral Health

With an incarceration rate of 1 in nearly 100 adults, it’s no surprise that America’s prisons and jails face serious overcrowding. And far too often, jails and prisons have become a place where people with mental illnesses are housed and treated—at a high rate of recidivism and great expense to state and local governments.

The Center for Health Care Services (CHCS) in San Antonio has a different approach to help its overflowing jails, provide critical mental health services to people in need, and save the city serious money—to the tune of $50 million over the past five years.

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Post-Election Update: What Does It Mean for Behavioral Health?

November 5, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Yesterday’s election provided a Republican wave that outpaced most pollsters’ predictions. As of this morning, Republicans picked up 7 seats, giving them a 52-43 advantage and control of the Senate. The most likely breakdown for the 114th Congress is a 54-46 Republican majority in the Senate and with 17 races yet to be called, the GOP holds an advantage of 243-175 in the lower chamber.

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Creeping and Leaping from Payment for Volume to Payment for Value

September 4, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Dale Jarvis

Dale Jarvis and Associates

Believe it or not, we are finally beginning to make progress on health and behavioral health payment reform and now it’s time to pay attention, listen up, and get ready. Start by reading this post, and then head on over to the new paper on behavioral health payment reform just published by the National Council.

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