September 2, 2014
News from NASADAD
- NASADAD joins American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to encourage State-level collaboration
- NASADAD Public Policy Staff visits treatment program in Maryland
News from the States
- Utah receives $1 million grant to reduce opioid overdoses
From the White House
- President Obama announces Executive action on veterans’ mental health
Capitol Hill News
- Sen. Reed (D-RI) introduces legislation to reduce fatal overdose
Around the Agencies
- CMS hosts in-person conversations with States on Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program
- CMS requests information from stakeholders on how to increase beneficiary engagement
- CMS issues guidance on training, certification, and recertification for Marketplace consumer assistance programs
- CMS releases fact sheet on SBIRT for Medicaid and Medicare programs
- SAMHSA sponsors event on how best to provide ACA-covered preventive services to pregnant women
In the News
- Washington Post features profile on ONDCP Acting Director Botticelli
News from NASADAD
NASADAD joins American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to encourage State-level collaboration
The CEOs of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) – Penny Mills – and the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) – Robert Morrison – sent the letter to their respective memberships in an effort to encourage or maintain strong relationships at the State level. The letter stems from a presentation by Penny Mills, CEO of ASAM, to the NASADAD Board of Directors last December. At this meeting, participants acknowledged how the ASAM-NASADAD partnership in Washington, D.C. helped secure tangible advancements at the federal policy level. The dialogue acknowledged the need to continue this important work. In addition, both Associations recognized the many challenges at the State level as well. The joint letter was designed to help promote a strong relationship between the ASAM State Chapter and the State substance abuse agency. The letter includes contact information for State directors and ASAM State Chapter leaders. We appreciate feedback on this partnership and remain eager to hear your recommendations to further this work.
NASADAD Public Policy Staff visits treatment program in Maryland
Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate visited Institutes for Behavior Resources, Inc.’s (IBR’s) REACH (Recovery Enhanced by Access to Comprehensive Healthcare) Health Services program on August 20th. Maryland State Director, Kathleen Rebbert-Franklin arranged the visit to the program located in downtown Baltimore. REACH offers outpatient medication-assisted treatment services, primarily with methadone, to patients with opioid use disorders. In addition, REACH also offers an intensive outpatient program for clients who require additional counseling services for an opioid use disorder and other related substance use disorders. REACH Health Services has also integrated a behavioral health home, supported through Maryland Medicaid’s Chronic Health Home Initiative which was made possible under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Health home services at REACH include health education and monitoring of chronic medical conditions, wellness promotion, and care coordination with outside primary care providers. IBR also houses a number of researchers conducting behavioral studies on a variety of topics. IBR staff provided Ms. Haller with a tour of the program, as well as a comprehensive overview of their services and program philosophy. As the health home service offerings continue to grow, REACH hopes to establish itself as a patient-centered medical home with full primary care and outpatient mental health services. In the meantime, their program offers a variety of services in addition to individualized and group counseling services. This includes educational classes, trauma-informed yoga, acupuncture, stress management, and other health and wellness services.
News from the States
Utah receives $1 million grant to reduce opioid overdoses
The three-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be used to help reduce prescription opioid misuse and abuse. Some of the funds will be used to improve the State’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), perhaps enabling it to provide real-time data. In addition, the funds will be used to evaluate two recently passed laws: a 911 Good Samaritan law and naloxone access law. The naloxone law allows doctors to prescribe naloxone to third parties (e.g., friends, family members of someone at risk for an overdose) – naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. The 911 Good Samaritan law provides limited immunity from prosecution to bystanders who report that someone is experiencing an overdose. In Utah, prescription opioid pain relievers cause more deaths than all other drugs.
From the White House
President Obama announces Executive action on veterans’ mental health
Addressing members of the American Legion, President Obama announced 19 new Executive actions to support the mental health needs of members of the armed services and veterans. One of the initiatives announced would automatically enroll departing service members who are receiving mental health treatment through the Department of Defense (DOD) into a program to transition them to mental health services through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The President also highlighted progress the Administration has made toward reducing the number of homeless veterans. The Executive actions include efforts to improve access to care (reducing waitlists and increasing resources), establishing an independent review board to review potential employee misconduct, recruiting a skilled workforce, improving electronic medical records, strengthening protections for whistleblowers, and many more. In terms of substance abuse and mental health services, the new actions will pilot an expansion of mental health peer support services in primary care settings; launch new research initiatives to study PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and suicidality; raise awareness about mental health issues and the resources available; host medication take-back days and other activities to reduce the risk of overdose; move DOD-provided health care or TRICARE toward the intent of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA does not apply to TRICARE); make substance abuse and mental health services available where active duty service members work; and many more.
Capitol Hill News
Sen. Reed (D-RI) introduces legislation to reduce fatal overdose
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the Overdose Prevention Act at the end of July. The legislation would expand access to naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and overdose prevention programs. The bill would empower the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enter into cooperative agreements with overdose prevention organizations, including those that distribute naloxone. The bill would also help define and disseminate best practices regarding overdose prevention, improve monitoring and surveillance efforts, and help establish a federal plan of action to address overdose. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Edward Markey (D-MA). A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD).
Around the Agencies
CMS hosts in-person conversations with States on Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program in July. The program is primarily a technical assistance program to help States improve the patient experience for Medicaid beneficiaries. CMS has identified substance use disorders as an important focus area for the Medicaid population. CMS is hosting a series of free, in-person meetings to educate attendees about the program’s priority areas and to receive feedback from stakeholders on the initiative. The meetings will be hosted in Denver, Colorado; Baltimore, Maryland; and Chicago, Illinois (dates and times listed below)
- Denver: September 10, 9-5 pm MST
- Register by September 3
- Baltimore: September 15, 9-5 pm EST
- Register by September 8
- Chicago: September 25, 9-5 pm CST
- Register by September 18
CMS requests information from stakeholders on how to increase beneficiary engagement
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a Request for Information (RFI) on August 15. The RFI seeks comments from stakeholders regarding the possibility that the Innovation Center will be testing innovative models to increase the engagement of beneficiaries with their health and health care in Medicare, Medicaid, and/or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Comments are due by midnight on September 15th.
CMS issues guidance on training, certification, and recertification for Marketplace consumer assistance programs
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance related to Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplace consumer assistance programs. The guidance defines the training, certification, and recertification requirements applicable to Navigators, non-Navigator assistance personnel, and certified application counselors. CMS issues the guidance in preparation for the next open enrollment period that begins on November 15th.
CMS releases fact sheet on SBIRT for Medicaid and Medicare programs
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the fact sheet on Screening, Briefing, Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services on August 27. SBIRT is an evidence-based tool used to identify problem drinking and substance abuse and refer those clients to a brief intervention and/or treatment services. The fact sheet offers health care professionals an overview of Medicare and Medicaid coverage for SBIRT services, including who can perform services, what documentation is required, guidance on billing and coding, information on payment, and other resources (CMS press release). The educational fact sheet provides very specific information on which providers can perform SBIRT, as well as links to all of the relevant federal regulations and guidance.
SAMHSA sponsors event on how best to provide ACA-covered preventive services to pregnant women
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will host the event on September 23rd from 9-10:30 am EST at Ohio State University. The event will also be available as a webcast for participants who will not be able to attend in person. The presentation will provide information on how preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for tobacco or alcohol use, depression, intimate partner violence, obesity, breastfeeding, and others can employ trauma-informed principles. The educational event is intended for health care providers; system leaders; integrated care teams; behavioral health centers; community-based and social service organizations; case managers; and Women, Infants and Children program providers. Participants can register online.
In the News
Washington Post features profile on ONDCP Acting Director Botticelli
The front-page profile appeared in the Post on August 27th. The profile features an in-depth interview with Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Michael Botticelli where he discusses his personal and professional history and his public health-anchored philosophy on U.S. drug policy. Mr. Botticelli was named Acting Director when the previous Director, Mr. Gil Kerlikowske, was confirmed by the Senate as the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mr. Botticelli first began his tenure at ONDCP in November 2012 as Deputy Director. Immediately before ONDCP, he served as the State substance abuse agency Director in Massachusetts and was very involved as a member of NASADAD. NASADAD sent a letter to the White House on June 20 of this year urging President Obama to nominate Mr. Botticelli as the permanent Director. President Obama announced Mr. Botticelli’s nomination to serve as Director on August 28th. The nomination will be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member.