Tag Archives: mental health

CMS Summit on Potential Behavioral Health Innovative Payment Model (Sept. 8, 2017)

The CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is holding a public summit on September 8, 2017 to explore creating a behavioral health innovative payment model intended to improve health care quality and access, while lowering the cost of care for Medicare, Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries with behavioral health conditions. The … Continue Reading

Major Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorder Reforms, Opioid Abuse Treatment Funding Included in 21st Century Cures Act

Advocates have been pushing hard over the past couple of years for the reform and expansion of mental illness and substance use disorder (i.e., behavioral health) treatment in the U.S. The 21st Century Cures Act — which has cleared Congress and is awaiting the President’s signature — includes a number of important provisions that reflect … Continue Reading

Public Health Bills Advance

On September 30, 2016, President Obama signed into law S 1878, the Advancing Hope Act, which modifies the FDA’s priority review voucher program for rare pediatric diseases and extends the program through December 31, 2016. In addition, the House has approved a number of health policy bills, including the following: HR 954, the “CO-OP Consumer … Continue Reading

With Short-Term Government Funding Bill in Place, Congress Adjourns until after Elections

On September 29, 2016, President Obama signed into law HR 5325, which averts a government shutdown by continuing funding for the federal government through December 9, 2016.  The legislation also includes $1.1 billion in supplemental funding to combat the Zika virus (including vaccine and diagnostic test development, public health, and other functions), along with $37 … Continue Reading

Energy and Commerce Committee Clears Public Health Bills

On September 21, 2016, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved the following public health bills: H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act – to amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to enable paramedics and other emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to continue to administer controlled substances to patients under standing orders … Continue Reading

Congressional Health Policy Hearings, Markups Resume After Summer Break

Congress has returned from recess, and health care policy continues to be on the agenda. The following health-related hearings and markups were held this week: The House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 5942, a bill to establish a demonstration program to provide integrated care for Medicare beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease, and H.R. 954, … Continue Reading

House of Representatives Approves Mental Health System Reform Bill

The House of Representative has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill (H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act) to reform the nation’s mental health care system. Key provisions of the legislation would: provide grants to increase access to treatment for children with mental disorders and individuals with serious mental illness and fund various … Continue Reading

Energy & Commerce Committee Approves Mental Health System Reform Bill

The House Energy & Commerce Committee has unanimously approved an amended version of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which is intended to reform the nation’s mental health care system. Among other things, the bill would: provide grants to increase access to treatment for children with mental disorders and individuals with … Continue Reading

Recent Congressional Health Policy Hearings

A number of recent Congressional hearings have focused on health policy topics, including the following: A House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing on “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015: Examining Physician Efforts to Prepare for Medicare Payment Reforms.” A House Judiciary Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the False … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes MHPAEA Mental Health/Substance Abuse Disorder Parity Rules for Medicaid Managed Care and Alternative Benefit Plans, CHIP Coverage

CMS has released its final rule to apply provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) to Medicaid beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations or alternative benefit plans and to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  In general, the rule provides that financial requirements (e.g., copayments, coinsurance) and … Continue Reading

SAMHSA Proposes Revisions to Substance Abuse Records Privacy Protections to Support Delivery Reform

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a proposed rule on February 9, 2016 that is intended to modernize regulations governing the confidentiality of substance abuse records to ensure that patients with substance use disorders have the ability to participate in new integrated health care models that emphasize coordinated care while addressing … Continue Reading

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

The Senate HELP Committee is holding a January 28, 2016 hearing on “Generic Drug User Fee Amendments: Accelerating Patient Access to Generic Drugs.”  Separately, on February 4, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has scheduled a hearing on “Developments in the Prescription Drug Market: Oversight.”  Other recent Congressional health policy hearings have included … Continue Reading

HHS Finalizes HIPAA Amendments to Allow Reporting of Certain Mental Health Information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

On January 6, 2016, HHS published a final rule to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule to expressly permit certain HIPAA covered entities to disclose to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) the identities of individuals who are subject to a federal “mental health prohibitor” that disqualifies them from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving … Continue Reading

Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act Signed into Law

On December 11, 2015, President Obama signed into law S. 599, the Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act. The law extends the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration Project for those state selected to participate as of March 13, 2012 if it would not increase net Medicaid spending. The law also permits the … Continue Reading

Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Advances Mental Health, Medicaid, Synthetic Drug Legislation

On November 4, 2015, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved the following health policy bills: HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act – includes a series of reforms intended to improve federal mental health research, screening, and treatment programs, some of which have met with strong opposition from House Democrats. … Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee Approves Mental Health, Opioid Abuse, Drug Scheduling Legislation

On September 30, 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the following bipartisan legislation:  S. 799, the Protecting Our Infants Act (to combat the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome): S. 1893, the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act (to reauthorize and improve programs related to mental health … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Mental Health Parity Rules for Medicaid Managed Care/Alternative Benefit Plans, CHIP Coverage

CMS has published a proposed rule that would apply provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) to Medicaid beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations or alternative benefit plans and to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In general, such programs will be required to meet the mental health … Continue Reading

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

The following Congressional panels have held hearings recently on various health policy issues: The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing entitled, “Can Americans Trust the Privacy and Security of their Information on HealthCare.gov?”; The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the reemergence of vaccine-preventable diseases; and The Energy … Continue Reading

CMS Posts First Medicare Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Quality Data

On April 17, 2014, CMS announced that it making inpatient psychiatric facility quality data available as part of the Hospital Compare website. Specifically, CMS is now posting data for the period of October 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013 regarding the following measures: Hours of Physical Restraint Use; Hours of Seclusion Use; Post-Discharge Continuing Care … Continue Reading

HHS OIG Identifies “Top 25” Priorities

The OIG has released its “Compendium of Priority Recommendations,” which lists 25 priority issues for which the OIG has open recommendation and that, if implemented, would best protect the integrity of HHS programs. The 25 top priorities are as follows: Medicare Policies and Payments: address wasteful Medicare policies and payment rates for clinical laboratories, hospitals, and … Continue Reading

April Congressional Hearings

Recent Congressional hearings on health policy issues include the following: House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act”; the FDA’s proposed changes to generic drug labeling; and legislation intended to improve predictability and transparency in Drug Enforcement Agency and FDA regulation (H.R. 4299, H.R. 4069, and H.R. 4250). A House … Continue Reading

President Signs Medicare Physician Fee Schedule/SGR Patch with Numerous Health Policy Provisions

On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4302, the "Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014" ("the Act"). The Act includes a one-year Medicare physician fee schedule fix that averts a nearly 24 percent payment cut set for April 1, 2014, but which falls far short of earlier hopes for full repeal of the current sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The Act also includes numerous other Medicare payment and policy changes, including skilled nursing facility value-based purchasing provisions, reforms to the physician fee schedule relative valuation process, a new framework for clinical laboratory payments, a variety of changes impacting imaging services, changes in the exceptions for long term care hospitals, and extension of certain expiring provisions. In other areas, the bill includes a one-year delay in the transition to ICD-10, changes to the timetable for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts, and "front-loading" of the 2024 Medicare sequestration reduction.… Continue Reading
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