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:

Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021

S. 2069
H.R. 4323

  • Expands the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) State Medicaid Demonstration program from the current 10 states to an option for all 50 states to participate with Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funds
  • Authorizes $500 million in additional funds for SAMHSA CCBHC Expansion Grants. These grants have helped expand the CCBHC model of care and prepare providers for participation in the CCBHC state financing demonstration
  • The Excellence Act is included in the 9-8-8 Implementation Act, introduced in the House in March 2022. There is not yet a companion Senate version of the 9-8-8 Implementation Act.
  • Another potential future path for the Excellence Act is inclusion in a larger mental health legislative package, such as bipartisan mental health legislation being crafted by the Senate Finance Committee
  • As the technology partner for more than 100 CCBHCs in 37 states, Netsmart is providing ongoing advocacy for advancement of this legislation alongside the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and other associations

More Information
National Council for Mental Wellbeing CCBHC Impact Report – May 2021
Speak with a Netsmart CCBHC Specialist

Behavioral Health Information Technologies Now (BHIT Now) Act

H.R. 7427

  • Provides $250 million in funding for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to implement a behavioral health IT financing demonstration program authorized in the SUPPORT Act in 2018
  • This funding would help behavioral health providers with limited resources adopt certified EHRs and related technology needed to share clinical data for the effective integration of mental health and acute care
  • Netsmart and the BHIT Coalition led advocacy resulting in introduction of the BHIT Now Act in the House in early April 2022. Advocacy is now in progress to gain co-sponsors in the House and introduction of a companion bill in the Senate.
  • Thanks to the lead bipartisan House bill sponsors Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS-3), Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS-4), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA-6) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2)

More Information
BHIT Coalition letter of support for BHIT Now Act
Tackling America’s Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Through Primary Care Integration – Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force report recommending Congressional funding for the CMMI BHIT pilot (p. 80)

9-8-8 Implementation Act of 2022

H.R. 7116

  • Authorizes funding through a variety of sources to help states, counties and community providers facilitate 988 response and a related continuum of services beginning with planned launch of the national 988 crisis line in July 2022
  • Supports the full continuum of local crisis response efforts including call centers, mobile crisis teams and crisis centers, all of which would connect residents in crisis with trained first responders and mental health providers and evidence-based services
  • Includes the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021 (see above).
    • CCBHC requirements include providing 24/7 community-based crisis intervention for individuals with serious mental illnesses. They are also equipped to dispatch mobile response teams for crisis stabilization.

More Information
News Release – Cong. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), Lead Sponsor

Choose Home Care Act of 2021

S. 2562
H.R. 5514

  • Gives qualified Medicare patients the choice to receive a range of services in their home for up to 30 days after discharge from a hospital
  • Provides add-on payments for therapy, skilled nursing, primary care, personal care, continuous remote patient monitoring, meals, home adaptations and non-emergency transportation
  • Eligible patients would be referred to a Home-Based Extended Care-qualified Home Health Agency that offers the Choose Home benefit
  • Home health-specific services could continue beyond the initial 30 days as clinically indicated
  • Provides an opportunity for market expansion and further diversification of services by Netsmart post-acute clients

More Information
NAHC/PQHH Issue Brief

EVV in 21st Century Cures 2.0 Act

H.R. 6000

  • The CURES 2.0 Act includes a change to Medicaid electronic visit verification (EVV) requirements that would maintain the mandate (and associated penalties) for states to require an electronic visit verification for personal care and home health care services but would prohibit geolocation and biometrics as part of such systems.
    • An evaluation by ADvancing States indicates this would force states with GPS/geolocation or biometric components in their EVV systems to dismantle their existing systems and build new ones or, at a minimum, make significant changes to their current IT system
  • Netsmart’s position is to continue to advocate for the use of point-in-time data capture leveraging EVV

More Information
Joint letter about Cures 2.0 EVV provision – ADvancing States, NASDDS, NAMD

42 CFR Part 2 Reform – Next Step

  • Netsmart played an instrumental role in passage of the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (the Legacy Act) as part of the CARES Act
  • The Legacy Act made significant amendments to 42 CFR Part 2 substance use treatment privacy regulations to 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 that a patient consent to share his or her SUD information for TPO and will enable safer, more fully-informed care by a person’s healthcare providers
  • The statute will likely be actuated with a new SAMHSA Final Rule in 2022. Netsmart will work as a member of the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 to provide comments in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking phase to help assure the Final Rule closely aligns with the CARES Act statutory language.

More Information
Netsmart Summary: The Legacy Act
Recommendations for the Next Final Rule – Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2