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Improving Access to Care through Medicaid 1115 Waivers

Millions of people in the U.S. each year are affected by mental illness, substance use disorders, and other chronic conditions, yet too many are unable to get both their mental and physical health needs met, leading to higher costs and worse outcomes.

The rate of co-occurring illness is high. People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions. With the demand for mental health and addiction services higher than ever before, coordinating care is important as we face a new health care landscape.

As the nation’s largest payer of mental health and substance use disorder services, Medicaid is uniquely situated to help states support the health of their communities. Through the use of federal waivers – called section 1115 waivers – states can improve access to care by testing new ideas like integrating mental health and substance use disorder services in primary care settings that help people receive the right care at the right time.

Join speakers from NAMI and CNS Healthcare on this webinar as they talk about the case for using Medicaid 1115 waivers to support integrated care, reduce costs, and improve outcomes from both the individual and provider perspective.


  • Jodi Kwarciany – Manager of Mental Health Policy at NAMI
  • Amy Stern, LMSW – Program Manager, CNS Healthcare
  • Michele Reid, MD – Chief Medical Officer, CNS Healthcare
  • Jenny Shumaker, LMSW – Clinical Program Director, CNS Healthcare

CoE Office Hours: COVID-19 Policy Implications and Opportunities

As COVID-19 continues to spread and drastically impact the way we deliver health care, it’s critical to stay on top of the latest policy implications and guidelines to provide the highest quality care to those that need it most through this pandemic. Join us this Tuesday, June 30th from 3:00-4:00pm ET to discuss recent policy changes, guidelines, and strategies for staying informed and engaged with members from National Council’s policy team. We will share themes and topics that were highlighted during the National Council’s Hill Day while also hearing from you on ways your organization is continuing to shift and respond to the needs of your organization.

CoE Office Hours: Addressing Racial Equity Within Your Organization

Naming, confronting, and addressing systemic racism within America’s health and behavioral health care system will require significant commitment and practice change across all provider type, organizations, and systems. To ensure everyone has access to high quality health care, we must first look within and build organizational climates and cultures that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion that can be further amplified to the clients we see. Join us this Thursday, June 25th from 3:00-4:00pm ET to discuss strategies and ideas for initiating or amplifying your organizations journey towards understanding how internal DEI processes impact your service delivery, create safety and achieve the quadruple aim of enhancing the patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs and enhancing the work life of their staff.

COVID-19 Office Hours: Conducting Groups via Telehealth

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly shifted the delivery of behavioral health services to virtual platforms – but how has this transition impacted group sessions? Moving group work from in-person to virtual raises questions around confidentiality and safety, establishing new group norms, client engagement, and more. Join us for a discussion around best practices, evidence-based recommendations, and practical tips to help foster effective group work engagement. Authors of a recent American Psychological Association article,

Utilizing Peer Support to Improve Health and Wellness of People with Mental Illness

Peer support specialists offer unique skills that can drastically enhance services using their lived experience to support those with mental health and substance use conditions. Their shared experiences can help to bridge interpersonal and instrumental barriers to accomplishing the health and wellness goals of those in recovery. Join us on June 17, 2:00-3:00pm ET with our partners from the International Association of Peer Supporters, in an upcoming webinar, Utilizing Peer Support to Improve Health and Wellness of People with Mental Illness, to learn more about the findings from recent research supported through a grant award by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

COVID-19 Office Hours: Promoting Organizational and Self-Care Strategies for African Americans

In addition to experiencing disproportionately higher mortality from COVID-19, African Americans continue to face daily injustices perpetuated by systemic racism impacting all aspect of their health and mental health. As we confront systemic racism during a global pandemic, conversations around allyship and supporting African American staff and colleagues is more important than ever before. Join us this Thursday, June 11th from 1:00-2:00pm ET to discuss the ways in which allies can create courageous spaces to support African American staff and colleagues, and how to build in organizational training and support mechanisms to establish responsive workplaces.

Implementing Best Practices and Improving Collaboration for Crisis Care and Suicide Prevention among High-Risk SMVF

With COVID-19 striking our crisis and public health systems, providers have been having increasing difficulty addressing the level of mental health needs caused by this life-changing virus. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) Technical Assistance (TA) Center welcomes you to join a webinar focused on the core elements of the SMVF Crisis Intercept Map. The process of intercept mapping helps community stakeholders to visualize gaps, recognize opportunities, and strengthen coordination across local agencies and organizations. Screening for SMVF status and suicide risk early can change the trajectory of overload on our emergency response systems by increasing access to upstream support and diverting hospital emergency department visits to alternate care.

The password to access the webinar recording is 4C@*z.A0

Please note that all webinar slides and documents are combined into one PDF file at the link below.

COVID-19 Office Hours: Health Equity and COVID-19; Addressing the Disproportionate Impact

Although no one is immune to this pandemic, why do we see such a disproportionate impact in many ethnically and racially diverse communities? Not only are we seeing these disparities in morbidity and mortality, we are also seeing these same communities experiencing an unequal share of the economic burden of COVID-19. Join us this Thursday, June 4th from 3:00-4:00pm ET to discuss this question and more with a panel of health equity experts. We want to hear from you about your ideas, strategies, and solutions to combating the disproportionate impact.

COVID-19 Health Care Staff Trauma and Resilience Oriented Healing

As a result of the current environment, discussions regarding health care staff well-being are more important than ever. This webinar was presented by The Joint Commission and the National Council for Behavioral Health. Experts discuss evidence-based and best practices which can be implemented immediately.

COVID-19 Office Hours: Reaching Rural & Frontier Communities

This pandemic has only amplified the already scarce health care access facing rural and frontier communities across our nation. The unique experiences of rural, agricultural, and tribal communities have drastically increased the need for expanded mental and behavioral health services, but how do we expand and scale already limited services to address this growing need? Join us next Thursday, May 28th from 3:00-4:00pm ET in a discussion around different strategies and ideas for reaching rural and frontier communities with our panelists representing tribal and rural health providers as well as our partners from the Mountain Plains MHTTC.

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