Around the Agencies
- CMS announces mental health and addiction parity rules for Medicaid and CHIP
In the News
- American Lung Association releases report on new health care options for quitting tobacco
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality releases resources to improve mental health, substance use disorder, and primary care integration
- New report in American Journal of Public Health suggests increased health risks associated with underage drinkers and “alcopops”
Around the Agencies
CMS announces mental health and addiction parity rules for Medicaid and CHIP
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the parity rules for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) this past week. The rules will align mental health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans with those already required of private health plans from the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Under the newly proposed rule, “all beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations or under alternative benefit plans have access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits regardless of whether services are provided through the managed care organization or another service deliver system” (CMS press release). The rule also requires that States inform enrollees the reason associated with any denial of reimbursement for mental health or substance use disorder services.
In the News
American Lung Association releases report on new health care options for quitting tobacco
The American Lung Association released the new report, State Health Insurance Marketplace Plans: New Opportunities to Help Smokers Quit this past week. The report discusses new options smokers have for quitting under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report suggests that State health insurance marketplaces are not providing the coverage required under the ACA to quit smoking, including access to FDA-approved medications used to help individuals quit using tobacco. The FDA currently recommends nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, inhalers, and bupropion and varenicline for quitting tobacco.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality releases resources to improve mental health, substance use disorder care, and primary care integration
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released resources discussing suggestions for improving the integration of mental health, substance use disorder care, and primary care this past week. The first resource, “A Guidebook of Professional Practices for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration,” establishes several best professional practices that integrated primary care organizations have used to improve integration. The second resource, “Provider and Practice-Level Competencies for Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care: A Literature Review,” lists different approaches practices, providers, and staff can take to promote integration efforts.
New report in American Journal of Public Health suggests increased health risks associated with underage drinkers and “alcopops”
A new report in the American Journal of Public Health suggests increased health risks for underage drinkers of “alcopops.” Alcopops are carbonated, sweet pre-mixed/ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages such as Four Loko, Joose, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Alcopops contain higher concentrations of alcohol than traditional beer, and sometimes contain the equivalent of 4-5 standard drinks per container. The study suggests that underage drinkers that exclusively drink alcopops are more likely to engage in heavy episodic drinking and suffer from alcohol-related injuries.
Should you have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Morrison, Executive Director, (202) 293-0090 or Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate, at (202) 293-0090.