The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it is extending access to the Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment Period until August 15, 2021.
PPP Extension Act Signed into Law
Small businesses will have more time to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan thanks to swift action from Congress and the Biden administration ahead of the application deadline. President Biden signed the PPP Extension Act into law this week, providing an additional two-month window for loan applications. The new deadline is now May 31, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) will have until June 30 to process pending applications. The expanded eligibility is another key victory as we continue advocating to expand PPP loan eligibility to meet the needs of all mental health and addiction treatment organizations, no matter their size. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity if you are newly eligible or have not done so already.
ONDCP Releases Policy Priorities
Yesterday, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released The Biden-Harris Administration’s Statement of Drug Policy Priorities for Year One. Their priorities include expanding access to equitable care, enhancing harm reduction efforts, supporting prevention for youth substance use, expanding the addiction workforce, and increasing access to recovery support services. The statement specifically highlights the need for behavioral health parity, advancing racial equity, and supporting clinicians providing community-based services.
Senate Clears Medicare Sequester Bill Ahead of Spring Recess
The Senate recently passed legislation that would extend a delay on spending cuts to Medicare. The bipartisan amendment to the House-passed “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) waiver would extend a moratorium on a 2% cut to Medicare over the next nine months, moving the deadline to December 31. House lawmakers will need to vote on the legislation again before it goes into effect, however, and they are expected to do so when the chamber reconvenes this month. While the two percent cuts were scheduled to go into effect on March 31, CMS announced it has instructed Medicare Administrative Contractors to hold claims for a short period in a manner that will not impact providers.
NatCon Session: Telehealth – Future or Fad
The largest conference in mental health and addiction treatment is happening in less than five weeks – have you reserved your NatCon21 seat? Register now to join our federal, state, and local policy sessions, including Telehealth – Future or Fad, where leading experts in the field will discuss telehealth post-COVID-19, quality of care, and the future of telehealth reimbursement. Register by April 19 and save $100!
Take Action: Increase Access for Medicare Beneficiaries. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) recently reintroduced the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828). This legislation would allow marriage and family therapists and licensed mental health counselors to participate in the Medicare program, dramatically expanding access to care for older adults and individuals with disabilities. Take two minutes today to urge your Senators to cosponsor this important legislation.
HAPPENING ON THE HILL
Congress Out Until April 12. Congress is currently adjourned for the spring district work period and will reconvene for votes the week of April 12. Looking ahead to the April session, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) outlined the upper chamber’s agenda when senators return in two weeks.