Addictions News Now, September 2010

by Stacey Larson on September 22, 2010

Click here to read the full online edition of Addictions News Now

Dear Readers:

I am not sure how Martha Wash and the Weather Girls would feel about the adaptation of their signature song, but here in Washington it sure feels like “it’s raining regs.”  Every time you turn around some agency of the Department of Health and Human Services is releasing a regulation, or seeking comment on some proposal or another. This edition of Addiction News Now provides information on many of the current opportunities. To the extent possible, the National Council will make draft comments available and we invite your participation in this process.

Two recent documents really caught our attention. The first is SAMHSA’s description of a “Modern Addictions & Mental Health System” and the second is a letter that Secretary Sebelius sent to all of the Governors in July to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Both of these documents suggest that in light of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), serious attention needs to be given to how the SAMHSA’s block grants are used in the states.

That is to say, that in a world characterized by universal coverage the vital federal resources contained in the block grants need to be carefully targeted so that they can provide services not available through Medicaid, or by the private insurance purchased through the state-exchanges.  One has to believe that Governors and State legislatures will be thinking about this question, especially in light of the ongoing revenue shortfalls that are projected for the coming years.

They also suggest some of the hard work ahead for states and providers in terms of understanding who will become eligible for coverage in 2014, what kind of services will be available to them, and how those services will be accessed.  We can start working on some of these issues now, especially the “who”, by mapping the clients currently in services with an eye toward their current funding source and income level to project sources of coverage come 2014.

For the “what” and “how” we will need to be vigilant regarding the release of regulations governing services in the exchange and the Medicaid expansion, as well as guidance regarding the creation of the exchanges.  The challenge before us is to ensure that the potential opportunity contained in healthcare reform materializes for persons with addiction disorders.

Thank you,
Chuck Ingoglia
Vice President, Public Policy

Resources and Reminders

  • National Council Provides Comments to SAMHSA on Description of a Modern Addictions & Mental Health System
  • Secretary Sebelius encourages Governors to Develop New Strategies regarding SAMHSA’s Block Grants
  • Providing Mental Health and Addiction Services to Veterans
  • Register for Upcoming National Council Webinars; Access Recordings Online
  • SAMHSA issues guides on alcohol pharmacotherapy
  • Toolkit for Evidence-based Practices on Integration Available from SAMHSA
  • National Council Launches Healthcare Reform Blog
  • Patient Centered Medical Homes: Caring for the Whole Person
  • Study Offers Evidence on Screening for Drug Use in Primary Care
  • SAMHSA Publication Finds Benefits of Substance Use Treatment Outweigh Costs
  • SAMHSA & ONC Release FAQs on Applying Substance Abuse Confidentiality Regulations to the Health Information Exchange

On the Hill
Due to the Congressional August Recess the next ‘On the Hill’ segment will be published in the October edition.

In The News

  • Obama Administration Issues Regulations on Streamlined Insurance Appeal Process Under Healthcare Reform; National Council to Submit Comments
  • HHS Releases Guidance on Implementing Healthcare Reform Law’s Prohibition on Annual Limits
  • September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month!
  • ONDCP awards $85.6 million to prevent youth drug abuse
  • Congress Passes Fair Sentencing Act
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