Advocacy Alert: October 2020 Legislative News Round Up

November 2, 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.


AK | Alaska Legislative Democrats and Republicans lay out Health Policy Priorities
Shared 10/5/2020
Seven state lawmakers gathered to discuss the health care and fiscal policy teed up for Alaska’s 2021 legislative session. The conversations took place between two separate panels – one featuring Democrats and the other featuring Republicans – during the 2020 Alaska State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference.

Bill to Expand Support for Community Addiction Treatment passes House
Shared 10/6/2020
A bill that would establish a $25 million fund to support organizations specializing in addiction treatment and support for family members of those suffering from addiction is heading to the Senate after passing the House last week.

MS | Federal Judge Questions Tardy Mental Healthcare Appointment
Shared 10/7/2020
A federal judge overseeing the compliance of Mississippi’s mental health care system with federal disability laws has questioned why a state agency has yet to fill a key position designed to help evaluate the state’s mental health services.

Elizabeth Warren, Katherine Clark Urge DEA in Letter to Finalize ‘Partial Fill’ Regulation to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Shared 10/8/2020
The Massachusetts Democrats joined other members of Congress in condemning the agency’s “foot-dragging” on the issue.

Zgierska, Colleagues Work to Reduce Stigma in Addiction Terminology
Shared 10/9/2020
Patty McCarthy partnered with Dr. Aleksandra Zgierska, vice chair for research and Dr. David Rabago, vice chair of faculty development in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine, and other authors to offer commentary on an editorial published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

HHS Announces $20 Billion in New Relief Funding
Shared 10/10/2020
The Trump Administration has announced $20 billion in new funding for providers fighting COVID-19, but the president has ended negotiations with Democratic leaders over a new relief package until after the November 3 election.

OR | Support, Opposition Builds for Oregon Drug Decriminalization Ballot Measure
Shared 10/11/2020
The long, arduous “war on drugs” is facing a big ballot battle in Oregon as voters will decide whether to decriminalize some drug possession and expand treatment in the state.

VA | Mental Health Teams Would Respond with Police Officers if Virginia House Bill Passes
Shared 10/16/2020
The bill that requires counselors to go in place of or with police officers to mental health-related 911 calls was passed in the Virginia Senate in September.

PA | Wolf Administration Launches Nation’s First Innovative, Evidence-Based Substance Use Disorder Stigma Reduction Campaign
Shared 10/17/2020
Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith, in partnership with Penn State University’s Douglas W. Pollock Center for Addiction Outreach and Research, public health nonprofit The Public Good Projects, and national nonprofit Shatterproof, announced the launch of Life Unites Us, an evidence-based approach to stigma reduction of substance use disorders (SUD), specifically opioid use disorder (OUD).

New Law Creates 988 Hotline For Mental Health Emergencies
Shared 10/22/2020
President Trump has signed into law a bipartisan bill to create a three-digit number for mental health emergencies.

Justice Department to File Long-Awaited Antitrust Suit Against Google
Shared 10/26/2020
According to the WSJ, Google owns or controls search distribution channels accounting for about 80% of search queries in the U.S., the officials said.

End Nears for Purdue’s Opioid Woes With Justice Department Deal
Shared 10/26/2020
Purdue’s settlement with the DOJ was the critical domino that needed to fall before roughly 3,000 cities and counties that are claimants in the bankruptcy could get their slice of the pie, said Harry Nelson, co-founder of Nelson Hardiman, a Los Angeles-based health-care law firm.

OH | Oxford Seniors Advocates for Elderly Services Levy Renewal
Shared 10/26/2020
Butler County voters will consider whether to renew the $1.3 million elderly services levy on the Nov. 3 ballot, which includes behavioral health help.

DEA Pressured to Create a Telehealth Registration for Drug Abuse Treatment
Shared 10/28/2020
More than 80 organizations have signed a new letter asking federal officials to create a special registration so that qualifying providers can use telehealth to prescribe medications for substance abuse treatment.

Rep. McKinley: Congress Must Continue to Combat Opioid Crisis
Shared 10/29/2020
On the second anniversary of the passage of the SUPPORT for Patients and Community Act, U.S. Representative David B. McKinley (R-WV) urged fellow legislators not to overlook the opioid crisis facing the country during the Covid-19 epidemic.

OK | Oklahoma Gets $2 Million Federal Grant for Mental Health, Safety in Schools
Shared 10/29/2020
Oklahoma has the highest rate of childhood trauma in the nation, with nearly 30% of public school students having experienced two or more Adverse Childhood Experiences such as living in poverty or violence.

DE | Governor Carney Announces Health Care Relief Fund
Shared 10/30/2020
The $100 million fund will support providers throughout the health care industry that have been on the front lines fighting COVID-19 in Delaware. This includes home health care agencies, intellectual and developmental disability providers, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, behavioral health service providers, and Delaware’s hospital systems.

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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