Advocacy Alert: July 2020 Legislative News Round Up

August 3, 2020


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.

NE | DHHS Encourages Recommendations to Update Behavioral Health Service Definitions
Shared 7/1/2020
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) seek updated state’s behavioral health service definitions recommendations from the public.

Legislation Aims to Establish Federal Assistance System for Mental Health, Substance Abuse Nonprofits
Shared 7/2/2020
Federal legislation would create an assistance system for mental health and substance abuse non-profit organizations during emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.

AZ | Senate Passes Sinema Bill to Improve Access to Support Services for Veterans
Shared 7/2/2020
Inspired by one Arizona veteran’s difficulty accessing health care after suffering traumatic injuries in Iraq, the Senate unanimously passed a bill intended to improve access to support services for veterans.

Latta Leads Legislation Working to Improve Mental Health Care Services
Shared 7/3/2020
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) waived onto the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing focusing on legislation working to improve mental health services.

KY | ‘Casey’s Law’ Making a Difference in Addiction Fight, AG Argues
Shared 7/3/2020
The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention, commonly known as Casey’s Law, has made a difference in Kentucky for more than a decade and should continue, the state’s top lawyer argues.

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Pear, Shatterproof Join Forces on New Addiction Focused DTx Coalition
Shared 7/4/2020
One of the organization’s main goals is to encourage Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for prescription digital therapeutics.

TX | State Rep. John Raney Addresses Mental Health Funding and COVID-19 Response
Shared 7/4/2020
As COVID-19 cases rise across the state of Texas and continued action is taken by Governor Greg Abbott and local leaders across the Brazos Valley, State Rep. John Raney, (R) – District 14, says it’s important for us to be a good neighbor and that includes doing things like practicing social distancing and wearing face masks.

Activists See Purdue Bankruptcy Case as Last Chance to Call Sacklers to Account
Shared 7/8/2020
Lawyers and campaigners are battling in the $10bn case in a New York bankruptcy court of Purdue Pharma, the US manufacturer of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, which is accused of fueling the opioids crisis that has killed more than 450,000 Americans in the last 20 years.

LA | Senate Appropriations Committee to Give Louisiana $57 Million in Health Funding
Shared 7/13/2020
Includes $700,000 from HHS to help support the Louisiana Zero Suicide Initiative through the Louisiana State Office of Behavioral Health.

AK | Anchorage Assembly to Weigh Using Federal Relief to Bolster Mental Health
Shared 7/14/2020
The Anchorage Assembly will vote on whether to add mental health professionals to 10 to 12 additional schools in Anchorage in an effort to bolster mental health services for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAMHSA Revises Privacy Rule 42 CFR Part 2 for Substance Use Patients
Shared 7/15/2020
A year after asking for industry comment, HHS SAMHSA has adopted revisions to the Health Privacy Rule Part 42 CFR designed to fuel care coordination and maintain patient privacy.

IA | Siouxland Facilities Speak about Mental Health Funding in Iowa
Shared 7/15/2020
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced Iowa mental health agencies would soon be able to participate in more than $50 million in CARES Act funding.

IL | Pritzker Targeting Mental Health Parity Violations Applauded
Shared 7/17/2020
A top Illinois behavioral health advocate group is praising Gov. JB Pritzker’s Administration for imposing fines on insurance companies.

KS | Lawsuit: Kansas Agrees to Ambitious Foster Care Reforms
Shared 7/18/2020
Kansas has agreed to a slate of dramatic changes to its child welfare system aimed at ending housing and mental health failures that destabilize youth in foster care.

DE | Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services Releases Draft Strategic Plan for Public Comment
Shared 7/19/2020
After 14 months of analysis, employees and stakeholder online surveys, internal and external focus group interviews, and a focus on strengths and weaknesses of current operations by a strategic planning steering committee, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) released a draft strategic plan to achieve a goal of focusing on person-centered planning and social determinants of health to better integrate and connect the health of the Delaware residents it serves with other behavioral, environmental, social and policy influences.

Despite the Need, Funding for Mental Health in Jeopardy During Pandemic
Shared 7/24/2020
The Senate resumed this week and will be in session from July 20 to August 7, overlapping with the House session until July 31. Congress has until then to agree on a stimulus bill to have that relief signed into law by President Trump before September.

PA | Wolf Administration Announces Latest PacMAT Grant Recipients to Help Fight the Opioid Addiction Epidemic
Shared 7/24/2020
Over the last few months, recent Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication Assisted Treatment grants were awarded to Lehigh Valley Health Network; Penn Medicine – Lancaster General Health; and Reading Hospital – Tower Health. Lehigh Valley Health Network was part of a previous RFA, but had not been publicly announced.

MA | House Bill Aims to Commit State to Telehealth
Shared 7/24/2020
New House telehealth legislation aims to incorporate lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic into the state’s health care system, according to Majority Leader Ron Mariano, who said he expects representatives to vote on the bill this week.

NJ | Sweeney Bill to Protect Mental Health Patients from Interrupted Service, Introduced
Shared 7/25/2020
In an effort to protect New Jersey residents receiving publicly financed mental health, behavioral health and addiction services, Senate President Steve Sweeney introduced legislation that would ensure and improve the delivery of these services, without disruption, in all future state contracts.

WY | Mental Health Funding Among ‘Difficult’ State Cuts Being Considered
Shared 7/26/2020
Governor Mark Gordon discussed the state’s budget difficulties during a live briefing from the State Capitol.

MO | Governor Parson Authorizes $37 Million of CARES Act Funding to Mental Health
Shared 7/27/2020
To combat rising cost, Governor Parson made available more than $37 million in CARES act funding to help behavioral health and developmental disabilities services in five areas.

CO | Colorado Trims Mental Health Programs Amid Health Crisis
Shared 7/27/2020
Recession has cut state revenues at the same time the pandemic has increased costs.

Recovery Advocacy for a Country in Crisis
Shared 7/31/2020
The remaining days of 2020 will be difficult and contentious: a raging pandemic, economic aftershocks, social justice protests, and yet unseen global crises—all hyper-illuminated by the inflammatory rhetoric of political campaigns. What is the call to service for recovery advocates in such turbulent times?

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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