National Council for Behavioral Health

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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.

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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Make Your Case, and Make it Quickly!

September 4, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Nina Marshall

Director of Public Policy

Six tracks, 26 topic areas, 5000 attendees. You’d think I was plugging the next National Council conference (April 20th! Be there!), but I’m actually describing the legislative summit I attended a few weeks ago in Minneapolis for the National Conference of State Legislatures. I learned a ton – how some policymakers are thinking about state-run exchanges, rental networks, and Long Term Support Services, to name a few issues – but my biggest takeaway was this: make your case, and make it quickly. These people are busy.

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Report Highlights Challenges, Opportunities for Healthcare Delivery System Reform

August 28, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Payment reform is here to stay – but Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services must take steps to improve Accountable Care Organizations and other innovative delivery models. That was the message in a new report issued by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) earlier this month. Transitioning from Volume to Value: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Care Delivery System Reform outlines key challenges and opportunities for providers and policymakers in transitioning from a volume-driven fee-for-service (FFS) system to one based on the quality and value of health care received. Of particular interest to behavioral health organizations, BPC’s recommendations include:

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SAMHSA Seeks Comments on Strategic Plan

July 30, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released its draft strategic plan for the next three years. “Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015-2018” outlines SAMHSA’s proposed work across six Strategic Initiatives:

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GAO Finds Gaps in CMS’ Oversight of Medicaid Managed Care

June 23, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Mohini Venkatesh

, National Council for Behavioral Health

A GAO report finds shortcomings of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) existing oversight of Medicaid managed care, noting among other things, for example, that CMS “has largely delegated managed care program integrity oversight activities to the states, but has not updated its program integrity guidance since 2000.”

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May 18-24 is National Prevention Week

May 22, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

National Prevention Week is a SAMHSA-supported annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. The theme of National Prevention Week 2014 is “Our Lives. Our Health. Our Future.”

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Annual Growth in Prescription Drug Spending Slows

May 22, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

According to a new report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, the growth of prescription drug spending has declined from 14.7% in 2001 to 2.9% in 2011. The annual report also offers a review of other health trends, including mental health and tobacco use. The CDC’s examination of prescription drug use and spending trends found that the rate of U.S. residents who regularly took prescription drugs increased from 39% between 1988 and 1994 to 48% between 2007 and 2010.

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Congress Approves 1-Year Delay to ICD-10

April 3, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

A little-noticed provision in the Medicare physician pay fix passed by Congress this week will delay for one year the implementation of ICD-10. Under the new rules, providers will not be required to adopt ICD-10 until October 1, 2015.

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33 Senators Sign Letter in Support of Charitable Tax Deduction

January 30, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Nearly three dozen lawmakers have signed a letter calling on Congress to preserve the “full value and scope” of the charitable tax deduction. Charitable donations are an important source of funding for many addiction and mental health treatment organizations, but rumors have surfaced that the charitable tax deduction may be at risk in proposed legislation for a comprehensive overhaul of the US tax code.

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Proposed Rules Clarify NICS Background Check Reporting

January 3, 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Today, the Obama Administration announced two new proposed regulations related to the long-established National Instant Criminal Background Check System, clarifying who is prohibited from possessing a firearm for reasons of involuntary commitment to emergency mental health treatment.

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Online Training Courses Help Behavioral Health Providers Learn Critical Business Skills

November 7, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Adam Swanson

Senior Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

As healthcare insurance options are set to expand in every state in 2014 – making an additional 30 million people eligible for coverage – behavioral health service providers need the business operation skills to expand capacity while remaining profitable. In order to help providers gain and enhance their abilities, SAMHSA has developed a national, online […]

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Congratulations, Sue Abderholden! Advocacy Leadership Award Winner

October 31, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Congratulations to Sue Abderholden, Executive Director of NAMI-Minnesota, for winning a 2013 Advocacy Leadership Award! Sue and her team achieved outstanding successes in children’s mental health policy this year, expanding access to services and supports for vulnerable youth across the state.

Head over to the Hall of Honor blog to read more about Sue’s accomplishments. Want to learn more and get advice for similar efforts in your state? Contact us to be connected to Sue.

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New Report on Workforce Recruitment for People with Disabilities

October 16, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Adam Swanson

Senior Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

Senator Tom Harkin released a report outlining his recommendations to improve the employment of young Americans with disabilities.

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Patient Protection Act: Bill Would Prevent Dumping Patients Upon Discharge

October 10, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Adam Swanson

Senior Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

Rep Matsui introduced a bill to protect people with behavioral health disorders from being shipped across state lines upon discharge.

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Advocates Get “Social” during Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 8, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Americans are spreading the message on social media that #MentalHealthMatters, as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week (#MIAW).

Mental Illness Awareness Week takes place October 6-13, 2013. Mental health advocates across the country have joined with others in their communities to sponsor activities for public education about mental illness – and spread the word about their efforts online.

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Perspective on the 2014 Budget and Government Shutdown Debate

September 30, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

I know that it is sometimes difficult to make sense of all of the news coming out of Washington – particularly this week with the back-and-forth over the 2014 budget, health reform funding, and the likely government shutdown. Here, I will try to provide a straightforward summary of what is going on and what it means. Let’s start with some basics: The federal fiscal year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Each year, Congress has the responsibility for approving a budget for the federal government, which is usually done through the passage of 12 appropriation bills.

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Recidivism Reduction Act Aims to Speed Reinstatement of Medicaid/SSI upon Release from Incarceration

September 29, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Recidivism Reduction Act (H.R. 3123), introduced by Rep. Andre Carson (D-IL) with 8 cosponsors, would quickly restore federal disability and health benefits to eligible individuals after they are released from incarceration. The National Council supports this legislation.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are an estimated 350,000 mentally ill individuals in State and Federal prisons. On average, inmates with mental illnesses serve about 103 months in state prison until their release, compared to 88 months for other inmates.

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National Council Submits Recommendations in Response to Senate Finance Committee Letter

September 29, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council has developed a letter in response to the recent Senate Finance Committee request for recommendations on how to improve the behavioral healthcare system.
In August, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) published an open call to the behavioral healthcare community requesting input on how to improve the mental health system in the U.S. The Committee asked for input on three key questions:

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GAO: Differences in Medicare Contractor Requirements Exacerbate Provider Burden, Inefficiencies

August 30, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new report highlighting the numerous and varied requirements of Medicare’s contractors for post-payment review, including Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs); Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs); Recovery Auditors (RA); and Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) contractors.

The report, entitled “Medicare Program Integrity: Increasing Consistency of Contractor Requirements May Improve Administrative Efficiency,” found that the extent of CMS’ requirements for the four types of Medicare contractors vary widely,

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CMS Addresses Overpayments for Services Provided to Incarcerated Beneficiaries

August 27, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a document providing an update on Medicare demand letters and Medicare claim cancellations associated with an item or service provided to incarcerated beneficiaries.

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