July 22, 2014
Around the Agencies
- NASADAD attends HHS 50-State meeting on prescription drug abuse
- NASADAD participates on conference call hosted by HHS about Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program
- SAMHSA posts blog explaining health insurance coverage options
- SAMHSA names Tom Coderre as new Senior Advisor
- HHS announces $11 million to better integrate HIV services into community health centers
- Small Business Administration to kick off Spanish language webinar series
Capitol Hill News
- OH Representatives introduce legislation in response to heroin epidemic
- NASADAD attends briefing on the treatment of alcohol use disorders sponsored by Friends of NIAAA
- NASADAD attends briefing on women and addiction sponsored by Senators Portman and Whitehouse
- APHA hosts webinar on health indicators for substance abuse
- National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco and Cancer Control hosts webinar on nicotine addiction
- National Safety Council releases prescription drug employer kit
Around the Agencies
NASADAD attends HHS 50-State meeting on prescription drug abuse
Rob Morrison, Executive Director attended the meeting, Advancing Policy and Practice: A 50-State Working Meeting to Prevent Opioid-Related Overdose, hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and held in Washington, DC. Many NASADAD members also participated in the meeting on behalf of their individual States. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell offered remarks. The meeting brought together State and local substance abuse prevention and treatment experts with HHS leaders to discuss experiences with implementing prevention strategies and to discuss potential interventions targeted toward opioid prescribers. Governors were invited to select a three-person delegation to represent the State, though some States funded additional representatives to attend. The two-day meeting involved presentations from leading experts and ample time to work directly with State partners and regions to draft action plans for States to reduce the burden of prescription drug abuse in their State. Rob participated in the closing session with representatives from the National Governors Association (NGA), Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and the Safe States Alliance.
NASADAD participates on conference call hosted by HHS about Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program
Rob Morrison, Executive Director and Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate participated on the conference call hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on July 16th. The call provided information about the recently announced Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program and gave participants an opportunity to ask questions about the program. Cindy Mann and Patrick Conway, Deputy Administrators of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) both presented on the call. 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. The presenters gave a number of examples to use the program to improve substance use disorder treatment including developing tools to leverage new Medicaid data sources to identify high-risk/high-need populations, assess provider capacity, or build health information exchanges. During the call, Rob thanked CMS for this initiative, recognized the leadership of John O’Brien, and promoted the inclusion of State substance abuse agencies, and NASADAD during the next phase.
SAMHSA posts blog explaining health insurance coverage options
The blog, Your Health Insurance Coverage Options: The Basics, was posted on July 16th by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA has a released a series of blogs and webinars aimed to educate the public about coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The blog describes the health insurance marketplace and newly required insurance protections including providing preventive services without a co-pay, banning pre-existing condition exclusions, and covering services for mental health and substance use disorders. The blog also describes the public insurance options available: Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 2014 open enrollment for the marketplace is over, but enrollment for 2015 plans will begin this November.
SAMHSA names Tom Coderre as new Senior Advisor
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pam Hyde sent the announcement on July 17th. Mr. Coderre was the Chief of Staff to the President of the Rhode Island Senate and is well-known in the addiction and recovery community. He previously served as the Board Chair for Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts and the Field Director of Faces and Voices of Recovery. Administrator Hyde describes Mr. Coderre as “a passionate advocate and committed public servant who will be a tremendous asset as we continue our important work of crafting effective public policy to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities” (SAMHSA email).
HHS announces $11 million to better integrate HIV services into community health centers
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the availability of the funding though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund. The funds can be used to support the integration of HIV services into primary care through partnerships with health centers and State health departments in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York. The funding is part of a 3-year project called Partnerships for Care: Health Departments and Health Centers Collaborating for Improve HIV Health Outcomes. 22 health centers in those four States have been deemed eligible to apply for the funding. The funding will support health center workforce development, infrastructure development, HIV service delivery across the HIV care continuum, and the development of sustainable partnerships with State health departments.
Small Business Administration to kick off Spanish language webinar series
Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet kicked off the series by delivering the introductory remarks at the first webinar, held on July 22nd. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Small Business Majority were also present for the inaugural webinar. The bimonthly webinars will run through late September 2014 and cover a wide range of topics related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Administrator Contreras-Sweet said “The Affordable Care Act is already helping millions of small business owners and their employees access quality, affordable health insurance. Through these webinars, small business owners will learn the important facts about the health care law so they can make the best decisions possible for their company. These interactive dialogues are a great way for small businesses to get the information they need to take advantage of and comply with key provisions of the health care law” (press release).
Capitol Hill News
OH Representatives introduce legislation in response to heroin epidemic
OH Representatives Tim Ryan and Marcia Fudge introduced the legislation, “The Breaking Addiction Act of 2014” on July 18th. The legislation would expand community treatment options by creating a pilot program to eliminate the IMD Exclusion for substance abuse providers. The Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion is from a 1965 Medicaid rule that was originally created so that patients receiving long-term, residential mental health services at a State psychiatric hospital would not be eligible to receive Medicaid coverage for that treatment. Substance use disorder treatment was included into the rule, banning Medicaid reimbursement for residential treatment centers with more than 16 beds, encompassing many residential treatment providers for substance use disorders. This makes it difficult for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive residential substance use treatment services. When the pilot is completed, the bill directs the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prepare a report to evaluate the impact of the program on a range of health care issues including costs, access to care, re-admissions, and emergency care. Representative Fudge describes the effort saying, “By removing an outmoded barrier to funding for substance abuse treatment, we can go a long way toward reversing the heroin epidemic and saving lives. I am also confident that data collected from this demonstration project will show community treatment will lower the bill to taxpayers for overall health care and decrease law enforcement costs associated with opiate addiction.
NASADAD attends briefing on the treatment of alcohol use disorders sponsored by Friends of NIAAA
Rob Morrison, Executive Director and Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate attended the briefing, New Horizons in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders, hosted by the Friends of the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) coalition on July 21st. The briefing provided an overview on emerging research into alcohol use disorders and treatment best practices. The panelists included George Koob, PhD (Director, NIAAA), Betsy McCaul, PhD (Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), and a person in recovery. This event is one in a series of educational briefings hosted by the coalition to educate Congress about the value of alcohol use research. This particular briefing attracted a standing-room only crowd of more than 100 people.
NASADAD attends briefing on women and addiction hosted by Senators Portman and Whitehouse
Rob Morrison, Executive Director; Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate; and Shalini Wickramatilake, Research Analyst attended the July 22nd forum hosted by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and attended by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The forum included presentations by researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and Members of Congress. The three highlighted topics were Women and Addiction: Treatment and What Works; Women, Addiction, and Motherhood; and The Role of Trauma as a Factor Contributing to Addiction, Relapse, and Recidivism in Women. This is the second in a series of forums hosted by the two Senators to identify policy priorities for the next Congress related to prevention, treatment, and recovery for substance use disorders.
APHA hosts webinar on health indicators for substance abuse
The webinar, Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators: Substance Abuse, will be hosted by the American Public Health Association (APHA) on July 24th from 12-1 EST. The panelists (listed below) will address the following learning objectives: 1) describe the impact substance abuse has on the health of our nation, 2) review effective strategies to address substance abuse in multiple populations, 3) explain effective strategies to address substance abuse in youth through a collaborative effort, and 4) discuss existing resources for stakeholders to use as they address substance abuse in their communities. Work being done in a community in Wisconsin will be highlighted.
- Dr. Don Wright, Director, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS
- Rear Admiral Peter Delaney, PhD, Director, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Melissa Dotter, Marathon County Health Department, Wausau, WI
National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco and Cancer Control hosts webinar on nicotine addiction
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco and Cancer Control will host the webinar, A Journey to Recovery: What Does the Cigarette Represent, on July 29th. The panelists (listed below) will discuss how the substance abuse and mental health treatment environments can facilitate people in recovery going tobacco-free. They will also discuss some of the common myths that reinforce smoking among people working to recover from substance use disorders.
- Eric Arauz, President, Arauz Inspirational Enterprises LLC
- Chad Morris, PhD, Director, Behavioral Health and Wellness Program and Associate Professor, University of Colorado at Denver
- Steven Schroeder, MD, Director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, Distinguished Professor of Health and Health Care, University of California at San Francisco
National Safety Council releases prescription drug employer kit
The kit helps educate employers about the risks of prescription drug abuse and provides tools to help them communicate those risks to their employees. The kit is divided into two sections: executive action materials to help manage prescription opioid use and misuse in the work place and educational materials for employees on prescription drug abuse. The executive action materials contain a variety of resources on the issue itself, how to update drug-free workplace programs, structuring benefit programs to address opioid misuse, and others. The educational materials include fact sheets on opioid pain relievers and the risk of addiction and overdose, medication disposal, and alternative chronic pain treatments.