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

  • Extends funding for the successful CCBHC Medicaid state financing demonstration program for 2 additional years (from 2023 to 2025).
  • Authorizes additional funds for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) CCBHC Expansion Grants. The grants have helped Netsmart clients and other providers expand the CCBHC model of care.
  • This legislation was included with funding of $1.7 billion in the Build Back Better Act (budget reconciliation bill) passed by the House on Nov. 19 and referred to the Senate.
  • Netsmart is the technology partner for more than 100 CCBHCs in 37 states.

 

More Information

National Council for Mental Wellbeing CCBHC Impact Report – May 2021

For Providers: Speak with a Netsmart CCBHC Specialist

 


 

Amendment to Sec. 6001 of the SUPPORT Act to Finance Behavioral Health IT

(not yet introduced)

  • Would amend Sec. 6001 of the Support for Patients and Communities Act to provide funds for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to implement a behavioral health IT financing demonstration program authorized in the SUPPORT Act.
  • Would help behavioral health providers adopt EHRs and related technology needed to share clinical data for the effective integration of mental health and acute care.
  • Advocacy in progress to include in a planned bipartisan mental health bill advanced from the Senate Finance Committee in early 2022

 

More Information

Netsmart submission to request for input on the upcoming bipartisan mental health legislation from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID)
BHIT Coalition news release about the Bipartisan Policy Center integrated care report recommending that Congress fund the EHR financing program

 

 


 

 

Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021

S. 2689

  • Corrects a provision in the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (FFPSA) that would cause serious unintended consequences for children from foster care participating in Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs).
    • QRTPs were created in the FFPSA to address the symptoms of trauma and accompanying behavioral and emotional challenges for children with assessed needs.
  • Based on the current CMS definition of a QRTP and how a QRTP is defined in the FFPSA, CMS may consider QRTPs with more than 16 beds to be Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMDs).
    • This categorization jeopardize the sustainability of QRTPs by prohibiting states from drawing down federal Medicaid coverage for children in foster care when placed in a QRTP. QRTPs are now one of the few residential or congregate settings eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement.

 

More Information

Sen. Feinstein/Sen. Burr news release

Netsmart Letter of Support

 

 


 

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.

More Information

NAHC/PQHH Issue Brief

 

 


 

Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act

S. 1309

H.R. 3371

  • Allows CMS to issue a waiver providing for reimbursement of telehealth services in Medicare home health during a Public Health Emergency (PHE).
  • Provides CMS the discretion to determine equivalency between an in-person visit and telehealth visit for purposes of reimbursement.
  • Provides patient protections, including consent to telehealth services, limitation that no more than 50% of visits can be done virtually, and requirement of a pre-existing relationship with the attending physician ordering services.

More Information

HomeCare article: HEAT Act Reintroduced in Senate

 

 


 

CURES 2.0 Act

House bill introduced Nov. 16, 2021 by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO).

  • Wide ranging, and builds upon the first 21st Century Cures legislation, including research as well as policies to increase access to telehealth in Medicaid, expand caregiver training, and change coverage policies around innovative devices and pharmaceuticals.
  • 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 any sort of 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 the current IT system
    • Netsmart’s position is to continue to advocate for the use of point-in-time data capture leveraging EVV

More Information

Cures 2.0 Section-by-Section Summary

 

 


 

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. 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 that a patient consent to share his or her SUD information for TPO and enable safer, more fully-informed care by a person’s healthcare providers.

The statute will be actuated with a new SAMHSA Final Rule in 2021. 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.

Read: Netsmart Summary: The Legacy Act