Advocacy Alert: November 2019 Legislative News Round Up

December 2, 2019


For those of you who follow us on social media know, we post regularly news stories that are connected to the behavioral health and addiction treatment industry. Many of these are news stories regarding legislation, and 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.

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.

NH | New Hampshire Stops Treating Mental Health Patients like Criminals
Shared 11/1/19
The mental health community in New Hampshire is celebrating a new law that addresses the use of restraints for people who require involuntary hospitalization.

New Study: Opioid Crisis Cost US Economy $631B over 4 Years
Shared 11/2/19
The opioid crisis cost the U.S. economy $631 billion from 2015 through last year — and it may keep getting more expensive, according to a study released by the Society of Actuaries.

WY | WYDOH Analyzes Data for First State Health Improvement Plan
Shared 11/2/19
Preliminary results from public health priority meetings with communities across Wyoming indicate mental health, access to care and youth and young adult deaths were among the public’s top priorities, said Feliciana Turner, performance improvement manager with the Wyoming Department of Health Public Health Division.

SD | Panel Suggests Changes in South Dakota Mental-Health Laws to Help Keep Patients Closer to Home
Shared 11/3/19
The Legislature could be asked next year to allow more facilities in South Dakota to offer mental-health services for involuntary commitments. (VIDEO)

Annual Nationwide Survey Reports Increasing Telehealth Access Legislation, Bipartisan Support
Shared 11/5/19
The Epstein Becker Green report pinpointed the opioid epidemic as a major driving force behind new laws and programs, but coverage restrictions and non-robust parity laws are still hampering adoption within Medicare.

DAs Increasingly Treat Overdoses as Homicides. Will November Reel That In?
Shared 11/5/19
In New York and Pennsylvania, some district attorney elections could slow the surge of homicide prosecutions in the aftermath of an overdose.

Support for Mental Health Coverage Gains Momentum
Shared 11/13/19
More federal and state lawmakers are now increasingly supporting coverage for mental health services provided by telemedicine, according to the 2019 Telemental Health Laws survey conducted by Epstein Becker Green (EBG) law firm.

WY | Labor, Health and Social Services Forwards Behavioral Task Force Bill to Legislature
Shared 11/13/19
Lawmakers have approved the creation of a behavioral health task force.

KS | Opportunity to Shape the Future of Prevention in Kansas
Shared 11/15/19
The FY2020 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block Grant reports have been posted for Public Comment. Feedback can be submitted through close of business on 11/21/19 via

CADCA Shares Presidential and Congressional Election Guide
Shared 11/16/19
The upcoming presidential primaries and general election provide wonderful opportunities to get behavioral health issues on candidate’s radars. Download CADCA’s Election Guide to help you in this process.

NJ | State Lawmakers Want to Address Mental Health Issues Among New Jersey Youth
Shared 11/17/19
Members of the state Assembly and Senate sat down with mental health and education professionals at a Statehouse roundtable to talk solutions.

A New Bill Would Let More Doctors Prescribe Addiction Treatments Without Waiting for Insurers’ Permission
Shared 11/19/19
Fewer doctors would have to wait for permission to prescribe addiction treatment drugs under new, bipartisan legislation being unveiled this week by two lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

House Delays DSH Cuts until December
Shared 11/20/19
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a stopgap government funding bill that delays $4 billion in cuts to Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital payments until Dec. 20.

Funding for CCBHCs in 8 States Temporarily Extended Again
Shared 11/22/19
Congress’s last-minute passage of a temporary government-wide spending bill will extend funding for 66 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics in eight states through Dec. 20.

AK | 5 Things Alaska: Q&A with Rep. Josephson, Express Care, Gennifer Moreau
Shared 11/23/19
The governor’s budget will be out by December 15th, which will kick off the gnashing of teeth known as the legislative budget process.

PA | Why it’s so Hard to Force People to Get Mental-Health Treatment in Pennsylvania
Shared 11/23/19
Pennsylvania’s mental health laws, passed in 1976, are some of the most restrictive in the nation, requiring a person to be a “clear and present danger” to be involuntary committed to a hospital, which some critics say makes it difficult for people to receive help before tragedy strikes.

The Joint Commission Launches Educational Campaign on Patient Rights
Shared 11/27/19
Multimedia materials inform patients about taking an active role in their care.

ID | Idaho Health and Welfare Seeks Comment on Medicaid Waiver to Improve Behavioral Healthcare
Shared 11/28/19
Idaho Health and Welfare released plans for a Medicaid waiver that they say will help those with opioid addiction and mental health problems.



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