House MH Bill Scaled Back, Watch Senate MH Summit Tomorrow

NYAPRS Note: In an effort to reach consensus within the House, several measures that were originally proposed by Rep. Tim Murphy have apparently been dropped or scaled back. The draft summary from Ron Manderscheid and article below suggests that that -

  • HIPAA: The proposal to add exclusions to HIPAA privacy rules won’t be changed but there’ll more education that those rules allow more latitude than is known
  • IMD Exclusion: Recently adopted CMS rules permitting Medicaid to pay for stays under 15 days in state and private psychiatric facilities would be codified into law; Rep. Murphy’s proposal would have extended Medicaid authorization for those stays for any limits in facilities that could demonstrate average lengths of stays under 30 days.
  • SAMHSA: SAMHSA’s funding would be reauthorized (long awaited) and it would come under the oversight duties of a new Assistant Secretary for MH and SU conditions while retaining its own Administrator and general direction.

Reportedly, there are few substantive changes to what Protection and Advocacy groups do and, possibly, no expansion in AOT pilots.

Don’t forget to register and spread the word about the May 26th US Senate Summit on Mental Health Reform: A Call to Action for Comprehensive Mental Health Reform with Senators Chris Murphy and Bill Cassidy.

Link to attend- Register to the May 26 Summit.

Link to watch live stream-


House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) had begun circulating a revised draft of the House version of comprehensive mental health reform legislation. The Chairman is pushing a modified bill including provisions from both Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) bill - Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act(H.R. 2646) and Rep. Gene Greene’s (D-TX) bill - Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act (H.R. 4435).

The updated draft makes several changes that the Chairman hopes will lead to compromise between the two parties. While initially aiming to hold a hearing on the bill this week, staff are now suggesting that the Committee will likely take up a version of the measure in June.

Highlights of the Revised Draft:

IMD Exclusion – Rep. Upton’s draft would reportedly scale back provisions to end a limit on Medicaid coverage for residential treatment at institutions for mental diseases (IMDs). The new language would codify provisions in a recent Medicaid managed care rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that allows for federal Medicaid payments to be made to residential treatment facilities for short term stays (no more than 14 days in one month) for patients enrolled in Medicaid managed care.

HIPAA – Language to make clear it is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review and implement privacy regulations regarding the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as opposed to changing the underlying standards.

Parity – The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act mandated that any insurance plans that cover mental health and substance abuse must provide equal benefits for those needs as for physical health care. While H.R. 2646 required CMS to report on federal investigations into compliance with the law, that language would be scaled down in the compromise bill.

SAMHSA Grants – Rep. Upton’s draft reportedly would reauthorize funding under SAMHSA that provides grants to address mental health needs of importance to states and other local entities. The program had a FY 2016 budget of $909 million. One of the programs expected to gain continued support under the fund is the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. That organization was established by the federal government to improve care and access to services for traumatized children and their families.

SAMHSA Administrator – While the new bill still would establish a position for an assistant secretary for mental health and substance use disorders at HHS, the position would not absorb the responsibility of the administrator for SAMHSA, as initially proposed.

National Mental Health Policy Lab – The new bill would still establish a National Mental Health Policy Lab, which would pursue policy initiatives impacting mental health and substance use.

Provisions to expand the Excellence in Mental Health/Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demo do not currently appear in either the House or Senate draft as 24 states are in the midst of planning for this demonstration program and only eight will be able to participate.


House Tries to Overcome Roadblocks on Mental Health Reform

New version of bill strips contentious provisions on patient privacy, Medicaid payments

By Stephanie Akin Roll Call May 24, 2016

House lawmakers are launching a renewed attempt to get bipartisan support behind a long-stalled mental health reform bill, with a draft that strips several contentious provisions and borrows heavily from a version that has already been marked up in the Senate.

Democrats strongly opposed the initial legislation, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy , R-Pa., arguing that it weakened patient privacy protections and would have made changes to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that they felt would have undermined the agency.

The new draft, obtained by CQ/Roll Call Monday, would attempt to address many of those concerns. It would drop a provision loosening patient privacy restrictions to make it easier for relatives of people with behavioral health conditions to receive confidential patient information if it was considered necessary to protect the individual or the public.

It would also scale back a provision to end a limit on Medicaid coverage for inpatient mental health care at institutions. Lawmakers in both chambers had hoped to add such a provision to the mental health bills, but with an estimated price tag of $60 billion over 10 years, the challenge has been paying for it.

One controversial provision from Murphy’s original bill would still be included: a prohibition on lobbying by mental health systems accepting federal funding…..