Mental Health

Earlier this week, State Representative Seth Grove (R – York) drafted and has been circulating a co-sponsorship memo that will possibly eliminate the behavioral health carve out. Additionally, State Representative Aaron Kaufer (R – Luzerne) spoke with Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs, expressing his interest in drafting similar legislation.

Today, Richard Edley, RCPA President/CEO, and Jack Phillips spoke with staffers from the House Human Service and Health Committees about this legislation. The House staff asked for RCPA’s   feedback within the next few weeks, because staff will be working on the draft legislative language. During the discussion with House staff, RCPA requested stakeholder meetings and possibly a House hearing on the legislation. The House staff was open to RCPA’s recommendations, and they indicated a willingness for a robust discussion on this legislation.

The elimination of the behavioral health carve out will be discussed at the upcoming RCPA Open Board Meeting on Wednesday, December 12. The RCPA Open Board meeting will take place at RCPA, 777 E Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111. Questions, contact RCPA Director of Government Affairs Jack Phillips.

The RCPA staff and conference committee would like to thank you all for sponsoring, exhibiting, advertising, and/or attending the 2018 RCPA Annual Conference.

It’s official: The 2019 RCPA Annual Conference will be held September 24–27 at the Hershey Lodge, in Hershey, PA — be sure to mark this landmark event on your calendars!

It is our hope that, as you plan your 2019 events, you will once again consider supporting and attending the conference. Some other key dates to remember:

  • The 2019 Call for Workshop Proposals will be sent out by the end of January.
  • The request for sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers will be sent out by the end of February.

For any questions about the RCPA Annual Conference, please contact Sarah Eyster, RCPA Conference Coordinator. We wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.

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At this point, you’ve probably heard about the move toward value-based payment (VBP) models.

The promise – better quality care at a lower cost. But, what does this mean for behavioral health providers? With all the uncertainty around if, when and how VBP will be implemented, what is the best way to proceed? And, what can you do to influence the policy decisions being made in your state?

Join the National Council on Thursday, November 15 from 2 to 3 p.m. ET for VBP: Adoption Rates, Policy Pitfalls and Provider Readiness to get the answers to these questions and more. During this webinar, speakers will discuss trends and current approaches in adopting VBP models, lessons learned from a state’s past and what behavioral health organizations can do to adopt a culture of value amid uncertainty.

Speakers:

  • Nina Marshall, Assistant Vice President of Healthcare Finance, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Richard Edley, President and CEO, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA)
  • Echo Shumaker-Pruitt, Vice President of Quality Improvement and Data Analytics, The Mental Health Association of Westchester

Register today and walk away with concrete actions you can take to shape the policy discussions in your state and prepare for VBP.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is helping to connect some of our members with some researchers. Western Michigan University is conducting an NIH-sponsored study to better understand the usefulness of evidence-based program registries in behavioral health care.

Are you an executive or senior staff member who is involved in selecting and/or implementing behavioral health care interventions at your agency? If so, the study would like to conduct a short telephone interview with you. If not, we are asking that you forward this email to an appropriate colleague at your agency.

The interviews are confidential; no individual or agency names will be associated with responses. In appreciation, you or your agency can receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate, as allowable.

To schedule a telephone interview and/or for more information, please email
eval-nihstudy@wmich.edu and include your agency’s name and state. Responses will come from one of the study’s collaborating organizations: The Evaluation Center, Kercher Center, Rady Hospital, or DSG Inc.

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The National Council Conference will be held Mon–Wed, March 25–27, 2019, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. This event is the health care industry’s foremost behavioral health conference. Each year, more than 5,000 leaders like you explore health care’s greatest innovations in practice improvement, financing, integrated health care, technology, policy and advocacy and professional development at the National Council Conference. Pennsylvania is consistently among the most well represented groups from around the country.

RCPA members are offered a discounted registration; please use the coupon code NatCon19PA (not case sensitive) for $225 in savings. Contact Sarah Eyster with any additional questions.

E&C #SUBHEALTH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 27, 2018
Contact: Press Office | (202) 226-4972

#SubHealth Convenes Hearing Titled “Better Data and Better Outcomes: Reducing Maternal Mortality in the U.S.”

Live Webcast
Click here to watch the hearing beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Opening Statement of Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Good morning. Thank you to everyone for joining us this morning to discuss a topic that is important to each and every one of us, maternal mortality. This is a subject matter that has been brought to the forefront by Members of this Subcommittee, actions of State Legislatures, and the media. Having spent nearly three decades as an OB/GYN, I believe it should be a national goal to eliminate all preventable maternal mortality – even a single maternal death is too many.

All too often do we read about stories of seemingly healthy pregnant women who are thrilled to be having a child, and to everyone’s surprise, suffers severe complications, or death during pregnancy, birth, or post-partum. The death of a new or expecting mother is a tragic event that devastates everyone involved, but in many cases these are preventable scenarios.
Read more

Opening Statement of Chairman Greg Walden
Today the Subcommittee on Health is holding a discussion on the critical issue of maternal mortality. In fact, we will examine as issue that is literally a matter of life and death for women all across the country. Thank you, Dr. Burgess, for calling this hearing. As someone with decades of real-world experience as an OB/GYN, you know better than most how important this issue is.

This is a difficult topic, and one that is close to my heart. Far too many mothers die because of complications during pregnancy and the effects of such a tragedy on any family is impossible to comprehend.
Read more

Witness Testimony and Additional Background 
Click here to view the hearing background memo and witness testimony on the Energy and Commerce Committee website.

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ENERGYCOMMERCE.HOUSE.GOV

RCPA has been collaborating with the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and other statewide health care associations on Senate Bill 780 (SB 780). SB 780 establishes the Telemedicine Act, which will authorize health care providers to use telemedicine and require insurers to provide coverage and reimbursement for its use (a detailed summary of the bill can be found here).

Currently, SB 780 is in jeopardy. The bill, which was unanimously approved by two Senate committees, the full Senate, and the House Professional Licensure Committee, could die before a House vote is taken. The Insurance Federation is strongly advocating against the bill with rank and file members and leadership. They assert the bill provides opportunities for fraud and lower quality of care.

Between today and the weekend, it is imperative that supporters of this bill contact their House members directly and ask them to “Tell House Speaker Mike Turzai to bring the bill up for a vote in the House without amendment on Monday, October 1.” This is our final opportunity to secure passage of a bill that will expand access to health care for all Pennsylvanians by requiring insurers to pay for telemedicine services if they pay for the same service in person.

If the bill is not voted in the House, we will have to introduce a new bill during 2019, the beginning of a new legislative session, ending nearly two years of advocacy on this critical issue.

Again, between today and the weekend, it is imperative that supporters of the bill contact House members directly and ask them to “Tell House Speaker Mike Turzai to bring the bill up for a vote without amendment in the House on Monday, October 1.”

Here are the top talking points to support the main message:

  • We want consistency in payment from insurers (We are not directing how to negotiate rates);
  • 38 states have some type of law requiring this coverage;
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said more must be done to expand payment for telemedicine services and lessen restriction for patient access;
  • The bill will ensure greater access for primary and specialty care;
  • Fewer people will have to travel if they are isolated, older, or without transportation (especially in rural and urban areas);
  • It will expand the reach of care to people with opioid use disorder and behavioral health needs;
  • It will help providers manage patients’ chronic conditions and avoid hospital admissions or readmissions;
  • It will help schools address physical and behavioral health issues; and
  • Help caregivers of elderly or seriously ill patients.

There are already protections in place to ensure appropriate care is provided through telemedicine. Providers are governed by state licensing boards, follow a medical code of ethics, and there are strong insurance fraud laws in place to protect against such behavior.

Questions, contact RCPA Director of Government Affairs Jack Phillips.