The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force recently published its 2021 Legislative Agenda for the 117th Congress. The agenda includes key National Council priorities, including several Hill Day at Home asks, such as the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021; the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act; the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act; the Medicaid Reentry Act; and the Mental Health Access Improvement Act.
CMS Administrator to Join Virtual Policy Institute
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is joining us for our Virtual Policy Institute during Hill Day at Home 2021. This is an opportunity to learn about the Biden-Harris Administration’s mental health and substance use treatment agenda and the important role you play in it. Register now! At CMS, Brooks-LaSure oversees programs including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the HealthCare.gov health insurance marketplace.
Now Open: Phase 4 Provider Relief/American Rescue Plan Funding
The application portal for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) new Phase 4 Provider Relief/American Rescue Plan funding is now open. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at 11:59 pm ET. The Administration has allocated $25.5 billion in additional available funding, including $8.5 billion of American Rescue Plan (ARP) payments for providers/organizations who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and/or Medicare beneficiaries. We urge you to apply as soon as possible. To apply, you need to: determine eligibility, enter your Tax ID Number (TIN), and provide required financial information and submit. You will need to submit a new application, even if you previously submitted revenue details for a prior PRF distribution. Please see HHS Provider Relief Fund FAQs here.
Congress Averts Government Shutdown
Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) yesterday, temporarily postponing a government shutdown until December 3, 2021. The stopgap funding measure included extensions of key programs that were set to expire, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
GAO Publishes Report on CCBHCs
This week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published its report on Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstrations. Four states assessed cost savings resulting from the CCBHC program. Missouri officials identified a 70% decrease in emergency room visits and hospitalizations after six months for beneficiaries who engaged in their CCBHC Emergency Room Enhancement program. In New York, CCBHCs reported that hospitalization and emergency room costs decreased by over 25% in the first year, aggregating savings of over $1 million in decreased hospitalizations and $100,000 in decreased emergency room visits per month. Oklahoma saw similar trends, reporting annual savings of over $2 million compared to Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs). Beginning in October of 2021 and 2022, Michigan and Kentucky will join the CCBHC demonstration program.
Agencies Announce Telehealth and CMHC Funding
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that it will distribute $825 million in grant funding to 231 Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) across the country. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it will distribute $51 million in funding to 72 health care providers across the country as part of its Coronavirus Disease 2019 Telehealth Program.
Advocate for the Medicaid Reentry Act. Reps. Tonko (D-NY) and Turner (R-OH) were joined by Senators Baldwin (D-WI) and Braun (R-IN) in reintroducing the Medicaid Reentry Act (H.R. 955/S. 285). This bill would allow for Medicaid coverage for eligible incarcerated individuals up to 30 days before their release from jail or prison. H.R. 955/S. 285 is an important step toward improving access to much-needed mental health and substance use services for one of the most vulnerable populations in the country. Will you take two minutes today to urge your legislators to cosponsor the Medicaid Reentry Act?
HAPPENING ON THE HILL
Senate Finance Committee Issues RFI on Mental Health and Substance Use Legislation. Chair Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Mike Crapo recently announced a new bipartisan legislative effort to address barriers to mental health and substance use care, requesting information from stakeholders on potential policy solutions. Specifically, the letter requests “evidence-based solutions and ideas to enhance behavioral health care.”
Malka Berro Policy Associate
The National Council