Advocacy Alert: Federal Synthetic Drug and Medicaid Institutes for Mental Disease

October 11, 2018

HB 449: Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2018

On January 11, 2017, Representative Hakeem Jeffries along with 47 other representatives, introduced HB 499, known as the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2018.

The bill, if passed, would require the Surgeon General to report to Congress on the health effects of psychoactive substances (including synthetic drugs) used since January 2010 by individuals between the ages of 12 and 18. These drugs are not typically controlled pharmaceutical substances intended for legitimate medical use and contain slightly modified molecular structures of illegal or controlled substances in order to circumvent existing drug laws. The goal would to further educate parents and the medical community on the health effects of synthetics.

The bill passed the House on June 12, 2018, and is currently in the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

BHAP supports this bill. Research into the effects of synthetic drugs is needed, and this bill will help find funding for said research.

We encourage you to reach out to your representative and express your support of HB 499.

HB 5800: Medicaid Institutes for Mental Disease Additional Info Act

On May 31, 2018, Representative Fred Upton and three other Republicans introduced HB 5800. The full title is "Medicaid Institutes for Mental Disease Are Decisive in Delivering Inpatient Treatment for Individuals but Opportunities for Needed Access are Limited without Information Needed about Facility Obligations Act".

The bill, if passed, would require the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Payment and Access Commission to report on information relating to services for Medicaid enrollees who are patients in institutions for mental diseases. These reports would include:

  1. the number and type of IMDs in each sampled state and associated coverage limitations,
  2. services and processes provided at such IMDs,
  3. applicable federal waivers and other Medicaid funding sources for such IMDs,
  4. state requirements for such IMDs to receive funding, and
  5. recommendations to improve standards and data collection for IMDs.

The bill passed the House on June 12, 2018, and is currently in the Senate's Committee on Finance.

BHAP supports this bill. This bill will help the federal government assess the efficacy of the Medicaid funding and how it impacts the treatment of mental diseases on a state level. It will also develop recommendations for improvement in the Medicaid funding system.

We encourage you to reach out to your representative and express your support of HB 5800.

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