Your voice in Washington

Netsmart advocacy on key legislative and public policy issues

Lawmakers and regulators make decisions every day that impact healthcare and how providers deliver services. Netsmart is an advocate on key federal legislative and regulatory issues on behalf of our clients and those they serve. Scroll to learn more about our current areas of focus:

 

The Next COVID-19 Relief Bill

Congress has yet to agree on a compromise COVID-19 bill, but must pass a Continuing Resolution by September 30 to fund a number of government agencies beginning October 1. Netsmart is advocating with industry partners for inclusion of legislation critical to our clients and those they serve in either a new COVID-19 bill or the Continuing Resolution.

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42 CFR Part 2 Reform Legislation

Netsmart played an instrumental role in laying the foundation for passage of the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (the Legacy Act) as part of the CARES Act. These significant amendments to 42 CFR Part 2 substance use treatment privacy regulations align them more fully with HIPAA.

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42 CFR Part 2 Current Final Rule  

On July 15, 2020, SAMHSA published a Final Rule amending 42 CFR Part 2. This rule was a follow-up to the SAMHSA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued Aug. 26, 2019 and is NOT linked to the passage of the Legacy Act. This Final Rule will be in effect until SAMHSA issues a new Final Rule in 2021 related to the Legacy Act.

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The Next COVID-19 Relief Bill

Congress has yet to agree on a compromise COVID-19 bill, but must pass a Continuing Resolution by September 30 to fund a number of government agencies beginning October 1. Netsmart is advocating with industry partners for inclusion of legislation critical to our clients and those they serve in either a new COVID-19 bill or the Continuing Resolution.

Continuation of Telehealth Waivers

Telehealth waivers allow providers to deliver services via video or audio telehealth services during the pandemic. The most recent extension of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration extends the CMS Medicare telehealth waivers to October 25. Netsmart, along with our long-time client Centerstone, is advocating for legislation to extend telehealth waivers through December 31, 2021, including to:

  • Permit the use of interactive audio-only and video technology for diagnosis and treatment of a mental health disorder
  • Allow coverage of extended care services without requiring an inpatient hospital stay of at least 3 consecutive days
  • Extend the originating site requirement waiver to allow for a patient’s home to be considered an originating site for care
  • Continue waivers authorizing the prescribing of buprenorphine using telemedicine for patients with opioid use disorders (OUD)

More than 600 Netsmart clients are delivering telehealth services with our technology during the pandemic, with an average wait time of 2.7 minutes and average patient satisfaction rating of 4.9 on a scale of 5. Almost a third used mobile access...other sessions are done via the web or telemedicine carts.

Home Health/Telehealth

Netsmart is working with the leadership of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in its effort to introduce legislation to authorize and fund home health provider reimbursement for telehealth services during a Public Health Emergency.

CCBHCs and Behavioral Health/Substance Use Treatment Funding

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) are a proven, effective integrated care model that improve lives and saves costs. Netsmart is the technology partner for CCBHCs across the country.

Netsmart joins the National Council for Behavioral Health in advocacy for funding in the next COVID-19 bill to expand CCBHCs to include the 143 organizations that applied for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) CCBHC grants and did not receive CARES Act CCBHC funds.

We also urge Congress to include in the next COVID package provisions from the HEALS Act for $4.5 billion in funds for SAMHSA mental health and substance use treatment block grants, earmarking them for Community Mental Health Centers and allocating them directly to behavioral health and substance use treatment providers.

State and Local Government Funding

The recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is subjecting state and local governments, including health and human services, to the double hit of significantly reduced tax revenues and radically increased expenses. Projected budget shortfalls for the 2021 fiscal year (which began July 1 for most states) will have an impact much deeper than in the Great Recession of 2008 that continued for several years.

The HEROES Act includes an increased federal Medicaid match rate of 14% across-the-board as well as higher Medicaid matching funds specifically to help I/DD and home health providers address the many challenges posed by COVID-19. Netsmart is working closely with our state and local partners to secure these badly needed resources.

 

42 CFR Part 2 Reform Legislation

Netsmart played an instrumental role in laying the foundation for passage of the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (the Legacy Act) as part of the CARES Act. These significant amendments to 42 CFR Part 2 substance use treatment privacy regulations align them more fully with HIPAA for the purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations (TPO), while retaining strong penalties for information breaches.

The statutory changes still require a patient’s consent to share his or her SUD information for TPO and enable safer, more fully informed care by a person’s doctors and other care providers.

The changes will not be effective before March 27, 2021, and SAMHSA is required to issue a new Final Rule specific to the statute.

Read: Netsmart Summary: The Legacy Act

 

42 CFR Part 2 Current Final Rule

On July 15, 2020, SAMHSA published a Final Rule amending 42 CFR Part 2. This rule was a follow-up to the SAMHSA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued Aug. 26, 2019 and is NOT linked to the passage of the Legacy Act. This Final Rule will be in effect until SAMHSA issues a new Final Rule in 2021 related to the Legacy Act.

Netsmart has published a summary of the July 2020 Final Rule (which took effect August 14) to help providers evaluate/adjust their processes and workflows.

Read:
Netsmart Summary: SAMHSA July 2020 Final Rule Amending 42 CFR Part 2
Netsmart Comments: SAMHSA August 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking