Mental Health

The Alliance for Health Reform hosted a briefing on Monday, December 12 to discuss the social determinants of health. For those who were unable to attend, here is the video and a transcript.

The financing of medical care is typically siloed from investments in housing, nutrition, criminal justice, and other social supports, even though all of these factors affect health outcomes and life expectancy. When allocating public dollars, policymakers need to know what investments can have the greatest impact on the health of individuals. This briefing examined the challenges of aligning or combining funding sources to achieve better health outcomes, how analysts can prove value in such ventures, and the role of health care professionals in caring for patients who have both medical and non-medical needs.

The National Council for Behavioral Health wants to help you prepare for this journey and invites you to join the new Practice Transformation Academy to get there. The National Council’s newest learning community, the Practice Transformation Academy, is a year-long change management program designed for senior leaders charged with overseeing the organizational transitions necessary for success in value-based payment arrangements. Through comprehensive technical assistance, participating organizations will have the opportunity to: design clinical pathways; create robust, data-driven quality improvement practices; and implement sustainable business operations.

Don’t miss the opportunity for peer-to-peer and individualized coaching to develop your organization’s roadmap and accomplish a practice transformation stretch goal unique to your organization. The program begins in March 2017 and runs through March 2018.

The Integration Edge is a new resource from the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS) that outlines practical tips and examples from organizations that have been working to integrate primary and behavioral health care. CIHS has been exploring partnerships, confidentiality issues, and sharing information and data-driven care. CIHS will regularly update The Integration Edge with new topics and practical examples. Whole person, health care focused practitioners and provider organizations looking for additional advice or with a topic they would like to see highlighted can visit this new website or contact CIHS by phone 202-684-7457 or email.

Know about the latest topics as they are added to The Integration Edge when you sign up for the email as the center adds new topics and other news related to integration.

Patrick Kennedy, former United States Representative and founder of the Kennedy Forum, has issued an open letter to the heads of the leading insurance companies in response to the findings of last week’s Surgeon General’s report. The report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, addresses a broad array of issues, ranging from illicit drug abuse to prescription drug addiction, alcohol use, binge drinking, and teen alcoholism. Mr. Kennedy’s letter urges the commercial nation’s health industry to take action in five key areas:

  1. Eliminate the onerous medical management practices responsible for inadequate, ineffective treatment of addiction;
  2. Immediately ensure that all plans cover and reimburse for well-supported medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including buprenorphine, buprenorphine-naloxone, buprenorphine-hydrochloride, methadone, naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram, at rates equal to coverage for medications used to treat other forms of chronic illness;
  3. Incentivize greater coordination of care;
  4. Adequately disclose processes for ensuring parity compliance;
  5. Promote screening and work with communities to implement prevention interventions.

Each of these requests is clarified in further detail in the letter. Patrick Kennedy was the prime sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and author of the book, A Common Struggle (Blue Rider Press/Penguin Random House, 2015).

Yesterday, a Texas federal judge issued a temporary injunction to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule. In granting the preliminary injunction, the federal judge said the DOL’s overtime rule exceeds the authority the agency was granted by Congress.

As you may recall, the DOL’s overtime rule was announced in May, and it has been opposed by many businesses and nonprofits. The rule was to take effect on December 1 of this year. Now with yesterday’s ruling, it is likely that President-elect Trump’s administration, which opposed the rule, will have time to review it and make changes and/or roll back various provisions contained in the current rule.

The DOL could appeal the Tuesday ruling, but with the Obama administration only having approximately two months in office, an appeal is unlikely. With many RCPA members already implementing and announcing changes to comply with the DOL’s overtime rule, it might be difficult for those members to roll back these changes, because it may impact employee morale. As further information is released, RCPA will provide additional guidance to members. Please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs with any questions.

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The number of adults in the United States age 65 and older is expected to exceed 82 million by 2040. Approximately 16 million of these older adults will have a mental health or substance use condition, and they’ll be turning to their primary care providers for care.

Growing Older: Providing Integrated Care for an Aging Population is a new publication from the SAMHSA-HRSA* Center for Integrated Health Solutions that offers guidance for primary and behavioral health care providers to be prepared to meet the unique health needs of older adults.

Tips and information highlighted include:

Interested in learning more about how to serve older adults? Other key resources on serving older adults can be found on the SAMHSA-HRSA website. The RCPA older adult work group will be meeting after the Mental Health Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 7, in the RCPA conference room, Suite 300. Please contact Sarah Eyster if you are interested in attending in person or by conference call.

*Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-Health Resources and Services Administration