Advocacy Alert: April 2021 Legislative News Round Up

May 1, 2021

For those of you who follow us on social media know, we post news stories on a daily basis that are connected to the behavioral health and addiction treatment industry.

Many of these are news stories regarding legislation, so once a month we send out a ‘news roundup’ of related news stories we’ve posted. Unless otherwise stated, BHAP has no official stance on any of these stories: the intention is to share so that we’re all better informed as to what’s happening in the legislative world.

A reminder that BHAP members get access to a monthly call with our advocate in Washington, DC, to find out what is going on and ask any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us for more information on that.


CT | Connecticut Program Aimed at Curbing Opioid Crisis set to be Expanded
Shared 4/1/2021
A program that aids medical providers in their efforts to prevent the misuse of prescription drugs is being expanded.

Calls Grow For April To Be Designated ‘Autism Acceptance Month’
Shared 4/2/2021
April has long been known as “Autism Awareness Month,” but advocates are pushing this time around for a federal designation of the month focused on acceptance instead.

GA | Lawmakers Brief: Georgia Behavioral Health Agencies Experiencing ‘A Watershed Moment’
Shared 4/3/2021
The combination of experiences of isolation and depression during the pandemic shutdown, the revelation of suicidal thoughts by public figures such as Meghan Markle, and state leaders prioritizing mental health in the budget, is helping to remove stigma from discussions about mental health.

VA | Southwest, Central Virginia Authorities Call on State to Improve Broken Mental Health System
Shared 4/4/2021
Agencies want to change the way mental health calls are handled.

NH | Citing Child Mental Health Crisis, N.H. Senators Push For Legislation
Shared 4/7/2021
New Hampshire Senate Democrats are pushing for bills they say would address the growing crisis of children awaiting psychiatric care in the state’s hospitals.

MS | Mississippi Receives $20.5M for Mental Health, Substance Use Services
Shared 4/9/2021
The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) announced Wednesday one-time federal funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.

Sen. Cortez Masto Urges Biden Response on COVID Student Mental Health, Suicide Crisis
Shared 4/10/2021
In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Cortez Masto highlights the severe stress and trauma experienced by students during a year of remote school and isolation and urges the agencies to launch an unprecedented collaboration to help kids recover.

IA | Gov. Kim Reynolds Addresses Racial Disparities in Health Care, Announces Targeted Outreach Group
Shared 4/10/2021
Broadlawns Healthcare Facility, United Way, and Corinthians Baptist Church, along with 30 nonprofit Iowa-based organizations, came together to provide resources for Iowa’s minority communities, Reynolds said.

WY | Wyoming Legislature Approves Proposal to Legalize Online Sports Wagering
Shared 4/11/2021
Opponents worried the move would only lead to higher rates of gambling addiction.

North Shore Dad Advocates for Policy Change After Losing Son to Opioid Crisis
Shared 4/12/2021
In 2020, there were 1,724 illicit drug toxicity deaths in British Columbia, according to BC Coroners Service figures, and the numbers are continuing to surge.

KS | HB 2208 Increases Access to Mental Health Care in Kansas
Shared 4/14/2021
Kansas legislation established the certified community behavioral health clinic model. Following this, places like the Crawford County Mental Health Center, will have access to funds to help expand its services.

CO | Q&A: Rep. Mary Young on Reforming Colorado’s Behavioral Health System
Shared 4/14/2021
Representative Mary Young is drawing on her experience as a former school psychologist to craft policy that will improve Colorado’s mental health support system.

NY | Tonko-Led Legislation Looking to Tackle the Opioid Crisis
Shared 4/16/2021
Congressman Paul D. Tonko is pushing to advance two bills he authored that would combat the opioid epidemic and expand addiction treatment.

Schumer Pushes for Quick Release of Mental Health Funds in COVID Relief Bill
Shared 4/17/2021
Schumer said that, on average, three times more people than last year at this time report struggling with mental health symptoms like depression, anxiety, drug use and more.

OR | Lawmakers Prep Tweaks to Oregon’s Voter-Approved Drug Decriminalization Effort
Shared 4/17/2021
A bill moving through the Legislature includes some meaningful changes to the treatment process envisioned in 2020’s Ballot Measure 110.

WA | Pierce County Passes Behavioral Health Tax: What To Know
Shared 4/17/2021
The ordinance adds a sales tax of one tenth of a percent. Here’s how that money will be spent.

NC | Triad Community Health Centers Receive Federal Funding Boost During Pandemic
Shared 4/18/2021
Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine has facilities in Greensboro and High Point and provides care for people regardless of their ability to pay for their visit.

OH | Ohio Medicaid Program to Expand Access to Behavioral Health Services for Children
Shared 4/20/2021
Gov. Mike DeWine announced a program called OhioRise through the Ohio Department of Medicaid. The nearly $1 billion dollar program would connect families with much-needed behavioral health services.

IL | Illinois House Passes Plan to Lower Penalties for Minor Drug Offenses
Shared 4/23/2021
State representatives passed a proposal Wednesday to help people struggling with drug addiction receive community drug treatment instead of putting them in jail.

WATCH: Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Behavioral Health and Policing
Shared 4/24/2021
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on behavioral health and policing as the number of Americans killed at the hands of police grows.

A Law Designed to Protect Health Consumers Has Ended Up Hurting Them
Shared 4/26/2021
Reports of directory inaccuracies prompted a 2015 state audit, which also identified significant issues.

CT | President Biden Nominates CT Commissioner as Assistant Secretary for Mental Health & Substance Use
Shared 4/26/2021
Delphin-Rittmon currently serves as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

ND | North Dakota Lawmakers Shoot Down Telehealth Payment Parity Study
Shared 4/26/2021
North Dakota’s House of Representatives has rejected a bill calling for a two-year study on payment parity for telehealth services, saying it would unfairly affect the market.

UT | 5 Things Utah: Department Merger, Mental Health, Rx Policy Discussion
Shared 4/27/2021
State of Reform’s 5 Things they think are worth tracking for senior health care executives and health policy leaders for the month of April 2021.

NE | Two New Bills cover Insurance on Telehealth Services in Nebraska
Shared 4/27/2021
Two bills recently passed in the legislature ensure that Nebraskans are covered, no matter if their appointment is in person or through a screen.

As Opioid Deaths Surge, Biden Team Moves To Make Buprenorphine Treatment Mainstream
Shared 4/28/2021
The Biden administration says new federal guidelines released Tuesday will allow far more medical practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug proven to reduce opioid relapses and overdose deaths.

CA | California Senate OKs Supervised Injection Sites for Drug Users
Shared 4/28/2021
Instead of putting opioid-users in jail, a proposal moving through the California Legislature would give them a place to inject drugs while trained staff watch them to make sure they don’t die from accidental overdoses.

HHS Loosens Rules for Prescribing Buprenorphine
Shared 4/29/2021
Allows for treating up to 30 opioid use disorder patients, includes non-physician practitioners.

Questions? Concerns?

As always, we want your input.

A reminder that BHAP members get regular access to our advocate in Washington, DC. If you have any questions about BHAP’s advocacy efforts, please contact us.

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