Last week was an eventful one, with the House of Representatives advancing HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This bill represents the most significant effort at national mental health reform in a generation. It will now go to the Senate, where it is likely to be reconciled with mental health legislation that has been brought forth in that body.
As it stands, the bill has a number of noteworthy provisions:
- Expands Medicaid funding for stays in private or state mental health and for addiction treatment facilities by relaxing the IMD exclusion. Medicaid managed care programs will be able to pay for inpatient treatment up to 15 days.
- Makes no changes to HIPAA. The bill includes funding for education about flexibility in the existing law, and asks Health and Human Services and the Office of Civil Rights to consider new rules surrounding HIPAA.
- Allocates funding for compulsory outpatient treatment (aka AOT). The bill includes increase funding for AOT pilot programs, but does not penalize states for lacking AOT programs as earlier versions of the bill did.
- Makes no changes to the role of Protection and Advocacy Agencies P&A agencies.
- Creates the position of Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders within SAMHSA to oversee federal behavioral health policy and set priorities. This position is intended to be filled by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
- Re-authorizes SAMHSA Block Grants.
- Calls for a GAO study on parity compliance.
We have gathered some summaries and reactions to the passage of this bill below. CAFÉ TAC will continue to share information on the progress of federal mental health reform legislation as the discussion moves to the Senate.
In addition to legislative developments, peers around the country are getting ready for the iNAPS Conference, which will be held in Philadelphia this August. Please find info about that event below. We have also included information about Alternatives, including a call for award nominations.
Recent events have also brought issues of race to the forefront of the nation’s attention. This edition of our News and Notes email includes some items that highlight the inextricable connections between race and mental health.
House Passes Mental Health Bill
A summary from The Hill: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/286705-house-passes-mental-health-bill
An account from the hometown paper of the bill’s author: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2016/07/07/Pennsylvania-House-passes-Murphy-s-mental-health-reform-bill/stories/201607070099
Reaction from the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery: http://www.madinamerica.com/2016/07/hr-2636-coming-to-a-vote/
Reaction from the National Council for Behavioral Health: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/287014-the-helping-families-in-mental-health-crisis-act-a-good-start
Reaction from Mental Health America: http://www.cmhnetwork.org/media-center/morning-zen/an-open-letter-to-advocates-about-the-murphyjohnson-bill
Full text of the bill is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2646
Webinar: Back to the Basics: Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration
Monday, July 11
2:00 pm Eastern / 11:00 am Pacific
Integration is a hot topic and buzzword in health care. And, integrated primary and behavioral health care is the best approach to care for people with complex health care needs. But do you have an elevator speech when someone asks you about integrated care? What do you tell new staff during orientation and how do you communicate the value to potential partners and your board of directors? Join this webinar to go back to the basics of primary and behavioral health care integration and learn how to effectively communicate the importance of integrated care and the benefit to the people you serve.
This webinar is for any service provider in mental health, substance abuse or primary care interested in implementing integration.
Register for free at: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1108262
Webinar: Working Together to Support the Caregivers of Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families
Tue., July 12
2:00-3:30 p.m. ET
Over 1.1 million spouses, parents, and friends are caring for injured and disabled veterans who have served since 09/11/01. Caregivers of service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF) have been described as crucial partners in providing a supportive environment for SMVF. The responsibilities of supporting the needs of returning service members and transitioning veterans can prove challenging, and without a strong support system, caregiving can take a toll on one’s health and wellbeing over time.
Understanding those who serve as caregivers—and the array of challenges they face when accessing help—is the first step in supporting their resiliency and behavioral health.
In this webinar, Ms. Tanielian from RAND Corporation will present information on their sweeping study of military caregivers. Ms. Kabat, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will discuss the VA’s services that specifically support caregivers. Ms. Bauer of Operation Family Caregiver, a program of the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving, will discuss examples of possible partnerships to support caregivers. Several other key federal and community resources will also be shared. Through public-private partnerships, some of our best solutions and supports for military families can be offered.
iNAPS: A story of resilience and sustainability
The 2016 iNAPS (International Association of Peer Supporters) Conference will take place August 26-28 in Philadelphia. This event presents a great opportunity to connect with peers from across the nation and the world.
To view the agenda, find travel information, or register, visit the event website at https://inaops.org/2016-annual-conference/.
With the 10th Annual iNAPS Conference set for next month, here’s an article that describes its purpose, growth and history.