Tuesday, January 19, 2021

COVID – 19 RELIEF PACKAGE

 

COVID – 19  RELIEF  PACKAGE

(based on information from the Natl. Assoc. for Addiction Professionals)

 Last month, with the 116th Congress drawing to a close, lawmakers passed comprehensive government spending legislation that provided $900b in coronavirus stimulus funds. After a prolonged, insensible delay, President Trump signed the bill into law. The spending package extends funding for federal agencies through Sept. 30, 2021, allocates spending increases for programs at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and provides $4.25b in emergency monies for substance use disorder and mental health programs.

The package allotted investments in both addiction infrastructure and programs, including:

* Substance use treatment: $3.8b, an increase of $17m, including continued funding for opioid prevention and treatment, including:

_ $1.7b for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant; and

_ $1.5b for State Opioid Response Grants.

* Substance use prevention: $208m, an increase of $2m.

 Health Workforce: $1.2b, an increase of $30m, for HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions programs, including:

_ $112m for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program, a $10m increase that also includes an allocation of $13m for community based experiential training for students preparing to become peer support specialists and other types of behavioral health-related paraprofessionals;

_ $29.7m for the Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration program, with the $3m increase being allotted for new grants to expand the number of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, health service psychologists, and social workers trained to provide mental and substance use disorder services in underserved community-based settings.

_ $16m for the Loan Repayment program for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Workforce, a $4m increase; and

_ $16.1m for Minority Fellowship Programs, a $2m increase.

 

The bipartisan COVID-19 relief portions of the spending package also includes an additional $4.25b in emergency funding for substance use and mental health programs above and beyond regular Fiscal Year 2021 spending, including the following:

_ $1.65b for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

_ $1.65b for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, with no less than half of the monies directed to behavioral health providers.

_ $600m for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grants to be allocated by SAMHSA.

_ $240m in emergency grants to states.

The relief package also includes the following provisions:

* Provider Relief Funds: Allots an additional $3b for hospitals and health care providers. It also directs HHS to allocate not less than 85 percent of unobliged funds in the Provider Relief Fund through an application-based portal to reimburse providers for financial losses incurred in 2020.

* Community Mental Health Services Demonstration: The bill extends a series of programs funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including the Certified Community Behavioral health Clinics (CCBHC’s) Medicaid demonstration, until Sept. 30, 2023. CCBHCs are designed to provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services to vulnerable individuals.

* Telehealth: Expands access to telemedicine services in Medicare to allow beneficiaries to receive mental health services via telehealth. It also appropriates monies for telemedicine and broadband grant programs.

 

Monday, November 23, 2020

DECRIMINALIZATION POSITION

 

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence – New Jersey (NCADD-NJ) has clarified its stance on the question of decriminalization of all illicit substances. While the agency does not endorse the legalization (government allowing, providing or regulating) of drugs. NCADD-NJ does support their decriminalization. The following policy statement explains that NCADD-NJ does not believe anyone should receive either a criminal sentence/record nor incarceration for the possession or use of drugs. Criminal proceedings should be replaced by assessments and a referral to treatment when appropriate.