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 fee-for-service (FFS) and managed care organizations (MCOs), as well as behavioral health provider numbers in Medicaid FFS and MCO programs in non-waiver states. Read the full report here.
House Votes on COVID Relief Today
House lawmakers will vote on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief “American Rescue Plan” (text; summary) today, following the budget reconciliation process set in motion weeks ago. If the legislation passes the House, it will move to the Senate for consideration. House and Senate leadership have maintained a goal of March 14, the day unemployment assistance expires, for passing a final version of the relief package.
States Consider CCBHC Legislation
Illinois and Kansas recently introduced legislation to establish certification and funding processes for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). The Kansas bill (S.B. 138/H.B. 2160) would add CCBHCs as a new provider organization type under its state Medicaid plan, with state agencies outlining the rate structure and certification process by May 1, 2022. The Illinois legislation (H.B. 3276) requires the state to develop a CCBHC pilot program modeled after the current federal criteria and payment system methodology. Both bills lay the foundation for sustainable CCBHC efforts in their states.
New Guide for the Use of Opioid Litigation Funds
A coalition of 31 organizations, of which the National Council is member, recently released Principles for the Use of Funds from the Opioid Litigation. These principles are aimed at providing guidance to state and local officials regarding spending their opioid settlement funds. This document outlines five guiding principles: spend money to save lives, use evidence to guide spending, invest in youth prevention, focus on racial equity, and develop a fair and transparent process for deciding where to spend the funding.
Advocacy Tip of the Week. When hosting a virtual meeting with a legislator or their staff: 1. Double-check your microphone beforehand; 2. Turn off any notifications on your computer; and 3. Silence your cell phone. For more tips, see our Advocacy Handbook.
HAPPENING ON THE HILLMainstreaming Addiction Treatment Reintroduced. This week, Reps. Delgado (D-NY), Gonzalez (R-OH), Tonko (D-NY), and Turner (R-OH) and Sens. Hassan (D-NH) and Murkowski (R-AK) reintroduced the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. This bipartisan legislation would expand access to MAT for millions of Americans by removing the waiver requirement for health care providers to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder. The MAT Act was a key aspect of our Hill Day 2019 advocacy, and we look forward to seeing this legislation through to passage this Congress.
Updates to the PPP. The Biden administration recently announced several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These changes include a 14-day period during which businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief, a revision of the loan calculation formula to help sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals, and more.