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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.

House Votes to Block IRS from Enforcing Health Reform

August 6, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In its last action before a five-week summer recess, the House voted late last week to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from enforcing or carrying out any provision of the Affordable Care Act. Approved in a largely party-line 232-185 vote, the bill, dubbed “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act” (H.R. 2009) now goes to the Senate, where it has virtually no chance of approval.

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National Council Submits Comments on Opioid Treatment Programs

July 25, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In response to SAMHSA’s recently released draft Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment 2013, the National Council has submitted comments to the agency commending its focus on recovery-oriented systems of care and the role of telemedicine in expanding access to care. Our comments also urge SAMHSA to make the guidelines more inclusive of extended-release injectable naltrexone and to encourage staff in opioid treatment settings to be trained in Mental Health First Aid.

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On a personal note: Why I became a behavioral health advocate

July 17, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

As the National Council’s Hill Day approaches, we’ve been posting about our great speaker line-up and the important behavioral health legislation that you’ll be talking about with your Members of Congress.

But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on why advocacy is important – and in particular, to tell you about a moment that shaped me.

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NASHP Releases Interactive Medical and Health Home Map

July 9, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has launched a new interactive map tracking state efforts to advance medical and health homes for Medicaid and CHIP participants.

In recent years, the number of states implementing medical home programs has increased substantially. According to NASHP, as of April 2013, 43 states have adopted policies and programs to advance medical homes.

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Complete National Council/NAMI Access to Care Survey Today

June 25, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council has partnered with NAMI on a nationwide survey of practicing psychiatrists to assess the policy and regulatory barriers that hinder patients’ access to services. Will you please support our policy work by taking a few minutes to fill out the survey?

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Apply Today for National Council’s Advocacy Leadership Awards

June 24, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Have you or someone you know demonstrated leadership and success in behavioral health advocacy over the last year? If so, we encourage you to submit a nomination for the National Council’s Advocacy Leadership Awards! These prestigious awards will recognize and celebrate individuals and organizations who are leading the charge to expand access to services and supports for individuals living with mental illness and substance use conditions.

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Congressional Briefing Addresses Substance Use Disorders in Child Welfare

June 21, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On June 6, 2013, First Focus, along with the National Council for Behavioral Health and 13 other organizations, cosponsored a congressional briefing on “Substance Use Disorders in Child Welfare: What Works for Children and Families.” The briefing educated congressional staff and other attendees on the latest treatment and program advances for substance use disorders that […]

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Senate Finance Committee Urged to Protect Charitable Deduction

June 19, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

As part of its ongoing review of the U.S. tax system, the Senate Finance Committee this week held a meeting on tax-exempt organizations and charitable giving. At the meeting, Senators received a comprehensive list of all available tax reform options regarding the charitable deduction and other tax policies related to tax-exempt organizations. The document is one in a series spanning all aspects of the U.S. tax system that will help the Committee evaluate current tax policies

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Now Available: New National Council, CIHS Resources on Substance Use Disorders

June 18, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council and the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions have made available a number of new resources related to addiction and substance use disorders treatment. At a recent National Council board meeting, Mohini Venkatesh, Senior Director of Public Policy, shared an overview of these resources, events, and information. They include:

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Behavioral Health Bills Introduced in Congress

June 17, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In recent weeks, Members of Congress have introduced a number of bills related to mental health and addiction disorders. Of particular interest to National Council members, these include: Enhanced Access to Medicaid Services Act of 2013 (H.R. 1838/S. 755). Introduced by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) with bipartisan support, this legislation […]

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Susan Dentzer to Keynote Hill Day 2013; Will Discuss Future Healthcare Directions and Policies

June 14, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

When it comes to national healthcare policy, we live in a rapidly changing world. Health reform, parity, and new delivery and payment structures will have a profound and lasting impact on behavioral health providers. So what do we do to prepare?

As the author Isaac Asimov once said, “No sensible decision can be made without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

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NAMI Issues Report on Medicaid Expansion and Mental Health

June 12, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

NAMI has released a new report, Medicaid Expansion and Mental Health Care, which explains the importance of Medicaid as a financing mechanism for mental health services and makes the case that Medicaid expansion represents the best chance states have to strengthen mental health systems. The report can be used by advocates as they urge their state governments to participate in the Medicaid expansion.

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CMS Announces Options for States to Facilitate Enrollment in the Medicaid Expansion

June 11, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

States will now be able to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) data to facilitate enrollment in the Medicaid expansion, according to guidance released last month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Analyzing SNAP data to identify potential enrollees is just one of several strategies states can begin now to streamline the enrollment transition later this year. On May 17, CMS released a list of five options states can use to ensure that low-income people get and keep Medicaid coverage when the new enrollment system opens in October 2013.

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Rates of Electronic Health Record Use Rise, but Challenges Remain

June 10, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

A new study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that physicians’ adoption of basic electronic health records has risen over the past year, though more advanced use of EHRs for exchanging information among providers or managing the care provided to all of a practice’s patients remains relatively uncommon.

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CCIIO Releases Final Rule for Small Business Health Options Program

June 7, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) released a final rule on the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and, in tandem, finalized SHOP applications for small employers (3 pages) and their employees (2 pages) to use starting on October 1, 2013, in SHOP Marketplaces.

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New Guidance Clarifies Application of Olmstead to HUD Programs

June 7, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued a document outlining how the Supreme Court’s ruling in Olmstead v. LC applies to HUD’s programs and activities. The guidance clarifies that HUD and any entities receiving financial assistance from HUD must provide housing for people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

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In Case You Missed It: Watch National Council Webcast of Health System Expert Dan Mendelson

June 6, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

If you didn’t have a chance on Monday to tune in to the National Council’s live webcast featuring healthcare expert and strategic consultant Dan Mendelson of Avalere Health, it’s not too late! Presenting live at the National Council’s spring board meeting, Dan Mendelson discussed current and upcoming federal policy initiatives – including health reform, mental health parity, and more – that will affect the way behavioral health provider organizations do business.

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Primary Care Urged to Screen Adults for Alcohol Misuse – Again

May 30, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Heather Cobb

Sr. Director, Creative & Strategy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Primary Care Urged to Screen Adults for Alcohol Misuse – Again The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is reiterating its 2004 recommendation that primary care clinicians screen adults for alcohol misuse and provide individuals engaged in hazardous drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce alcohol use. Based on a review of 23 clinical […]

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Bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act Introduced in House

May 10, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Congressman Leonard Lance (D-NJ) this week introduced the Excellence in Mental Health Act (H.R. 1263). This legislation would support the nation’s community mental health and addictions system by establishing national standards and oversight for Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers. For the 1 in 5 Americans living with mental illnesses and […]

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Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduces Excellence in Mental Health Act

February 8, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and  Roy Blunt (R-MO) yesterday introduced the Excellence in Mental Health Act (S. 264). This legislation would support the nation’s community mental health and addictions system by establishing national standards and oversight for Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers. The Senators were joined by cosponsors Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Barbara […]

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