Advocacy Alert: September 2021 Legislative News Round Up

September 30, 2021

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.


Biden Administration Invests Nearly $11M Toward Pediatric Telehealth
Shared 9/1/2021
The funding is aimed at broadening access to behavioral healthcare for children.

988 Suicide Lifeline Expected in July 2022 Thanks to SAMHSA Grant
Shared 9/5/2021
A pair of the agency's grants, totaling $48 million and including $32 million in Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 funding, will fund the effort to better harness technology to help Americans in mental health crisis and save more lives.

CA | Call 988: California Finds $20 Million to Help Pay for New Crisis Hotline
Shared 9/9/2021
After a push from advocates, California officials agreed to help fund a 988 network — a "robust statewide call center" for mental health.

WY | Wyoming Department Of Health Suggests Changes To Redesign The State Funded Behavioral Health System
Shared 9/9/2021
This past legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill to change who community health care providers can serve. Presenting the draft plan with stakeholders is part of that process.

KS | Incomplete Data Renders Audit of Kansas Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs Inconclusive
Shared 9/10/2021
State legislative auditors say data gaps and broad definitions limited the conclusions and recommendations they could provide in a recent review of Kansas’ most common mental health and substance abuse programs.

NM | New Mexico Lawmakers Welcome Over $5 Million For Youth Mental Health Resources
Shared 9/13/2021
This project helps build or expand state and local governments' coordination to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth.

DC | Senator Wyden Urges Improved Access to Mental Health Care
Shared 9/14/2021
On World Suicide Prevention Day and the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Sen. Ron Wyden put out a call to fellow lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to bolster access to mental health services.

SAMHSA Awards $123 Million in Grants for Multifront Approach to Combat the Nation’s Overdose Epidemic
Shared 9/16/2021
These SAMHSA grant programs reflect the agency's and Biden-Harris administration's ongoing mission to connect people who have substance use disorders (SUD) to culturally appropriate, evidence-based treatments and supports.

OR | Recovery Groups Urge Gov. Brown To Act On Workforce Crisis
Shared 9/16/2021
A coalition of addiction recovery organizations in Oregon that represents 100 providers has called on Gov. Kate Brown to take swift action to stem a growing workforce crisis among providers.

WV | U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Local Solutions Being Found to Opioid Crisis
Shared 9/18/2021
Capito, R-W.Va., talked about the issues as she toured the Berkeley County Day Report Center next to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department on South Raleigh Street.

RI | Funding for Addiction Programs has been Secured after Last Week's Walkout
Shared 9/19/2021
The Governor's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force has announced funding to continue certain addiction harm reduction and treatment programs. Feared loss of the funds prompted a walkout by some members of the panel last week.

Use of OxyContin Profits to Fight Opioids Formally Approved
Shared 9/20/2021
A judge formally approved a plan Friday to turn OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma into a new company no longer owned by members of the Sackler family and with its profits going to fight the opioid epidemic.

Biden Administration Seeks to Expand Telehealth in Rural America
Shared 9/20/2021
New funding will allow more medical appointments to take place via video in rural communities, where some of the nation’s oldest and sickest patients live.

MA | Industry Leader Sounds Alarm On 'Mental Health Crisis' In Massachusetts, Pitches Legislation To Increase Access
Shared 9/22/2021
David Matteodo pitched the Health Care Financing Committee on bills (S 776, H 1291) from Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Liz Malia that he said would require MassHealth, the state's massive health insurance program, to ensure all of its contracted third-party firms and managed care organizations "provide comparable access to behavioral health services and medications."

The AMA's 7 Recommendations for Reducing the Opioid Crisis
Shared 9/23/2021
The American Medical Association is urging policymakers to act now to prevent further opioid overdose deaths.

IL | Illinois to Require Insurance Coverage for Mental Health, Substance Use Disorders
Shared 9/23/2021
A new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker will require health insurers to cover medically necessary services and treatments for mental, emotional, nervous, or substance use disorders and conditions.

GA | GUIDE Inc. Receives Grant to Fight Youth Substance Abuse with Prevention Action Collaborative of Gwinnett
Shared 9/24/2021
The U.S. Office of National Drug Policy announced its selection of the five-year Drug-Free Communities Support Program new and competing continuation grant recipients, including GUIDE, who will split $13.2 million to spend on efforts to deter kids from using illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco or from abusing prescription medications.

Scotland Proposes Warnings for Some Class A Drug Users
Shared 9/25/2021
Police can issue warnings in policy change unveiled by Scottish lord advocate in response to high death toll.

TN | Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Chief: COVID-19 is Spurring Mental Health Crises in Kids
Shared 9/25/2021
COVID-19 is driving both physical and mental health crises among kids, according to the leader of Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

OH | New Ohio Initiatives to Address Farm Stress
Shared 9/26/2021
A new federal grant awarded to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will support and enhance several initiatives that address farm stress in Ohio.

FL | Health Care Bills to Watch Ahead of Florida Legislative Session
Shared 9/26/2021
Here is a roundup of health care bills in Florida to watch on COVID-19 restrictions, abortion, behavioral health, and more.

TX | New UTEP Partnership Aims to Improve Mental Health Access in Rural Texas Counties
Shared 9/28/2021
With support from a $1.9 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Services Resources Administration, UTEP, and Sul Ross will train students to provide culturally competent mental health care to residents of Presidio, Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, and Jeff Davis counties.

HHS Watchdog: State Oversight Needed for Behavioral Telehealth
Shared 9/29/2021
The Office of Inspector General found that many states do not conduct monitoring specific to telemedicine – despite reporting concern about fraud, waste and abuse.

NE | Gov. Ricketts and DHHS Promote Mental Health, Announce Suicide Prevention Campaign
Shared 9/29/2021
Governor Pete Ricketts recognized September as Suicide Prevention Month during a press conference at the State Capitol.

DEA Warns of Deadly Fake Pills
Shared 9/30/2021
The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a Public Safety Alert, warning Americans of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.

AK | Legislative Democrats and Republicans Discuss Health Care Now and in the Future
Shared 9/30/2021
Six Alaska legislators sat down last week to discuss their observations on health care in Alaska for 2021, how the pandemic will impact health care legislation in 2022, and their visions for the future.

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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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