Number 03 January 19, 2018
Congress Trying to Avoid Government Shutdown
The House of Representatives has passed another continuing resolution (CR) that would extend federal government funding through February 16. The current CR expires tonight (1/19) at midnight. The House proposal also extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years (through FY 2023) and extends or delays for one or two years three health-related taxes that were enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act (the medical device tax, the tax on high-value employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and the annual fees on health insurance companies).
Congressional leaders are still seeking an agreement to raise caps on defense and non-defense spending so final FY 2018 appropriations can be enacted. As of publication time, it appears that the House passed version will not be accepted by the Senate and a government shutdown appears likely. There are broad expectations that an agreement may be reached this weekend before the impact of a government shutdown is felt by the public.
SAMHSA Reforms Continue to Unfold
On the heels of last week’s announcement of SAMHSA’s first director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory, Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, announced that the agency will be transitioning away from its outdated National Registry of Evidence-based Programs (NREPP). In the Assistant Secretary’s statement, which can be read here, she stated that NREPP “as currently configured often produces few to no results” and “We at SAMHSA should not be encouraging providers to use NREPP to obtain EBPs, given the flawed nature of this system.”
In a separate announcement by SAMHSA, the Assistant Secretary unveiled the Opioid State Targeted Response Technical Assistance (TA) program and the Clinical Support Services Serious Mental Illness (SMI) TA Centers. These initiatives will, in part, replace the static design of NREPP with a more dynamic approach that addresses the specific needs of states and local jurisdictions and inform providers, professionals, and stakeholders of evidence-based behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery practices.
Joint Commission Adds to List of Ligature Risk Recommendations
The Joint Commission has updated its 13 recommendations for addressing ligature risk by adding three new recommendations. The first series of recommendations, published in late October 2017, were specific to inpatient units in both psychiatric and general acute care hospitals, as well as emergency rooms. The three new recommendations, published January 10, address prevention of suicide in other behavioral health care settings. The new recommendations, which can be read here, make clear that “residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment programs…are not required to be ligature resistant.”
Senate panel advances Trump's nominee for Health secretary
The Senate Finance Committee voted largely along party lines to advance Alex Azar's nomination to helm the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
His nomination will now head to what appears to be an easy confirmation vote on the floor before the full Senate.
All Republicans voted in favor of Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive and HHS appointee, while Sen. Tom Carper (Del.) was the only Democrat to support Azar's nomination in the 15 to 12 committee vote.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Introduces Treatment Navigator Tool
NIAAA has introduced a new Alcohol Treatment Navigator on their website to help individuals and their loved ones’ review and select treatment options for alcohol misuse. The website includes tips on how to recognize signs of quality care, recommends questions to ask potential providers when looking for high-quality treatment, and includes online directories of treatment providers.
Opioid Crisis Remains a Focus in Congress
This week, Congress held two hearings and announced a third covering the ongoing opioid crisis. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing explored prescription opioid abuse among the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion population. The House Ways and Means Committee held a separate hearing on steps that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can take to Prevent Opioid Misuse. Next week, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is scheduled to hold a hearing titled: Combatting the Opioid Crisis: Exploiting Vulnerabilities in International Mail. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office release a report which examined Medicare’s Oversight and Efforts to Reduce the Risk of Harm from Prescription Opioids.
Added Benefits for Hill Day during 2018 NAPHS Annual Meeting
This year NAPHS has contracted with a logistics firm that specializes in organizing the entirety of Hill Days, including scheduling of all meetings, as a value-added service from NAPHS. Prime Advocacy will not only secure your legislative appointments with members and staff on the hill, they will offer personalized support services leading up to and including the day of your meetings. Prime Advocacy will also have an online portal available, which will allow you to view and manage your schedule. NAPHS will offer advocacy trainings and have materials available during the Annual Meeting, and will be available for any questions. In order to take advantage of this free opportunity, when you register for the 2018 NAPHS Annual Meeting simply check the box that states you are interested in Hill Day and NAPHS staff will follow up with you. As a reminder, NAPHS Hill Day will take place on March 20, 2018 from 1:30 – 5:00 pm, during the 2018 NAPHS Annual Meeting. For more information on NAPHS Hill Day, please contact Julia E. Richardson at email@example.com.
2018 NAPHS Annual Meeting Preliminary Program Now Available!
The 2018 NAPHS Annual Meeting preliminary program was mailed last week and is available on the Annual Meeting homepage.
For questions or comments about the CEO Forecast, please contact Jessica Zigmond.