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APRIL 15, 2015
HILL & LEGAL HAPPENINGS: POLICY AND POLITICS
Medicare Payment “Doc Fix” Vote Coming Soon | The Senate is expected to hold a series of long-awaited votes early this week
on the permanent Medicare payment reform bill that overwhelmingly passed in the House last month. A recent CMS analysis
warned that the $200 billion “doc fix” deal, which would repeal the program’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, will increase
Medicare spending by $150.5 billion in the coming decade. Senators will vote on at least four amendments to the bill.
Call for Legislation: Access to Mental Healthcare for Military| Following a recent Defense Department report indicating a rise in
the number of active-duty military personnel taking their own lives, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) has called for more work on
legislation to prevent military suicides. There were 268 confirmed suicides among active-duty troops in 2014, up from 254 in 2013.
AROUND THE AGENCIES: NEWS AND OPPORTUNITIES
CMS Proposes Mental Health Parity Rule for Medicaid and CHIP | Seven years after the Mental Health Parity and Addiction
Equity Act of 2008 was passed, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule to align mental
health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans with benefits required of private health plans and
insurance. The proposal applies certain provisions of the Act to Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), making
quality mental health care and substance use disorder services accessible to all Americans.
HHS Announces Initiative to Address Opioid Crisis | U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced
a targeted initiative to reduce prescription opioid and heroin related overdose, death and dependence. The President’s FY 2016
budget includes investments to enhance efforts to reduce opioid misuse and abuse, including $133 million in new funding to
address this critical issue. The Secretary’s efforts focus on three priority areas that tackle the current opioid crisis.
NIMH Releases Strategic Plan for Research | A new 5-year strategic plan from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
emphasizes research to provide a better understanding of what mental illness looks like inside the brain, before a patient exhibits
symptoms. It is hoped that such research will allow for earlier diagnoses in order to begin treatment in the early stages of disease.
ONC Announces Online Tools for SIM States | The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
announced a suite of online resources to help states participating in the State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative improve health
care quality and lower costs. The SIM initiative supports states in creating statewide transformation to improve health care,
focusing on Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries. The tools and resources leverage existing health IT infrastructure.
SAMHSA Releases Federal Guide for Opioid Treatment Programs | SAMHSA’s new resource provides updated guidelines for the
operation of opioid treatment programs (OTPs), including patient assessment, treatment planning, medication-assisted treatment
(methadone and buprenorphine), overdose and relapse prevention and recovery care. Download the guide (PDF).
SAMHSA Funding Opportunity: Substance Use Disorder Treatment Grants | SAMHSA is accepting applications for Targeted
Capacity Expansion: Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations at High-Risk for HIV/AIDS grants
(TCE-HIV) totaling up to $37.6 million over three years. The application deadline is May 14, 2015. View the RFA.
TA-lk Webinar: Introduction to Health Literacy Resources from CDC for Behavioral Health | Dr. Cynthia Baur, a leading national
expert in health literacy, will introduce a broad range of resources to assist individuals in making the transition toward consumer
self-management on Thursday, April 30, at 3:30pm EST. Register now.
Report: Doctors Not Overwhelmed by New Patients Under the ACA | According to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation and athenahealth, a health IT vendor, physician practices have not seen a surge in new patients since the Affordable
Care Act's individual mandate took effect in 2012. The report found that the share of new patient visits at primary care providers
increased by only 3% from 2013 to 2014, contrary to arguments made by critics of the ACA. Read the report.
John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dept. of Mental Health | Social Determinants and Promotion of Mental Health
Lecture and Panel Presentation with Dr. Ron Manderscheid | April 24, 3:30pm EST | Baltimore, MD.
Michigan Association of Community Health Boards (MACMHB) | Improving Outcomes, Finance and Quality through Integrated
Information Conference, May 28-29, Thompsonville, MI.
NACBHDD | Summer 2015 Board Meeting, July 13-14, 2015 | Charlotte, NC.