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:

 

COVID-19 Legislation and Regulations

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other major COVID-19 legislation were recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. The bills and related regulatory changes are designed to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s health and economy.

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Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act

Legislation to extend the Medicaid Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) pilot program in its original 8 states for two years, and expand the program to additional states that applied but were not accepted for the initial pilot.

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Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act  

Legislation to more closely align 42 CFR Part 2 substance use treatment privacy regulations with HIPAA solely for the purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations (TPO), while retaining strong penalties for information breaches.

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COVID-19 Legislation and Regulations

Summary

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other major COVID-19 legislation were recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. The bills and related regulatory changes are designed to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s health and economy. Here is a summary of key sections and ways Netsmart can help you take advantage of additional funding opportunities or meet anticipated requirements.

More Information

Download: COVID-19: Legislative and Regulatory Impact and Opportunity
Read: Netsmart letter to HHS: Provider Relief Fund
Read: Netsmart statement: Inadequate Provider Relief Funding for Behavioral Health

 

Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act

Summary

News Release

Legislation to more closely align 42 CFR Part 2 substance use treatment privacy regulations with HIPAA solely for the purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations (TPO), while retaining strong penalties for information breaches.

Status

Passed: Included in the CARES Act. Lead sponsors were Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Special thanks to longtime supporters Rep. MarkWayne Mullin (OK) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (VT). The legislation requires a patient’s consent to share his or her SUD information for healthcare treatment, payment and operations (TPO), but removes the requirement for additional consent for redisclosure to covered entities and business associates as defined under HIPAA, and Part 2 programs within the context of TPO. For example, the treating provider who obtained initial consent could include substance use treatment and prescribing information in a referral to a specialist. This reduces safety risks to patients and remove a significant impediment to fully-informed care by our clients and other providers.

The Legacy Act also includes heightened privacy protections and an unprecedented set of anti-discrimination protections to prevent discrimination against SUD patients when accessing health care, employment, housing, courts, social services or any services provided under federal funding. The bill also transitions an antiquated and underutilized criminal enforcement process to civil penalties for violations or health data breaches, in accordance with HIPAA.

Netsmart Advocacy

Netsmart advocated for this legislation for a number of years on behalf of its human services and post-acute clients and other providers. Netsmart was an early and active member of the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2, a coalition of addiction treatment, patient advocacy and behavioral health provider organizations, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Centerstone. The Partnership’s focus is to assure that people with a substance use disorder can receive the same level of integrated care as a person with diabetes or other physical health issues.

More Information

Netsmart Summary: The Legacy Act

 

Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act

Summary

Legislation to extend the Medicaid Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) pilot program in its original 8 states (Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania) for two years, and expand the program to additional states that applied but were not accepted for the initial pilot.

Netsmart Advocacy

In a time of unprecedented demand for services, CCBHCs are a proven vehicle for expanding access to intensive community-based services for individuals with untreated severe mental illness or addiction.

Netsmart is the technology partner for CCBHCs across the country and was a strong advocate for this legislation in collaboration with the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Status

Passed: Included in the CARES Act. Funding for current 8-state pilot extended until November 30, 2020 and we fully expect further legislation to extend beyond that date. Also expands the program by two additional states to be identified by the Secretary of HHS from among states that applied but were not accepted for the first demonstration program.

 

Behavioral Health IT Financing Incentives

Summary

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) is structuring pilot programs tied to provisions of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. Sec. 6001 of the SUPPORT Act authorizes the testing of incentive payments for behavioral health and substance use treatment providers for adoption and use of certified EHR technology to improve the quality and coordination of care through the electronic documentation and exchange of health information.

Why Important?

Potential for incentive funding for Netsmart clients for EHR purchase or upgrade and related care coordination technology to ensure compliance with and optimization of SUPPORT Act provisions.

Netsmart Advocacy

Ongoing advocacy for inclusion of behavioral health IT incentives and potential related legislation.

Status

CMMI still fully defining the programs