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Tags Posts tagged with "Biden-Harris Administration"

Biden-Harris Administration

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $15 million in planning grants to 20 states to support expanding community-based mobile crisis intervention services for Medicaid beneficiaries. By connecting people who are experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis to a behavioral health specialist or critical treatment, these services — which will be provided by funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and will be available 24 hours per day, every day of the year — can help save lives. Importantly, these services can also help to reduce the reliance on law enforcement when people are experiencing a behavioral health crisis and, in turn, may help to prevent the unnecessary incarceration of people with serious mental illness or substance use disorders.

The planning grants — funded by the ARP — provide financial resources for state Medicaid agencies to assess community needs and develop programs to bring crisis intervention services directly to individuals who are experiencing a substance use-related or mental health crisis outside a hospital or facility setting. These grants will help states integrate community-based mobile crisis intervention services into their Medicaid programs, a critical component of establishing a sustainable and public health-focused crisis support network.

“The pandemic has taken a serious toll on the mental health of Americans, especially in underserved communities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Through these awards, the Biden-Harris Administration is making a bold investment to highlight the importance of behavioral health and ensure states can provide vital services to those hardest hit by the pandemic. This funding from the American Rescue Plan will expand access to crisis care for everyone — and reach people where they are.”

“With these grants, CMS is taking strides to connect individuals in crisis with the high-quality, expert care they need. Providing behavioral health care experts as alternatives to police is an example of how we can better help communities deliver on the behavioral health needs of all its residents,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

The planning grants provide funding to develop, prepare for, and implement qualifying community-based mobile crisis intervention services under the Medicaid program. Grant funds can be used to support states’ assessments of their current services; strengthen capacity and information systems; ensure that services can be accessed 24 hours a day, every day of the year; provide behavioral health care training for multi-disciplinary teams; or seek technical assistance to develop State Plan Amendments (SPAs), demonstration applications, and waiver program requests under the Medicaid program.

On April 1, 2022, thanks to the ARP, all states will be eligible for a temporarily enhanced matching rate for implementing a qualified community-based mobile crisis intervention option in their Medicaid programs. The period of performance for this grant will be from September 30, 2021, through September 29, 2022.

View the list of CMS Award Recipients.

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Message from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): 

New action will protect patients of the 50,000 providers and over 17 million health care workers in Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities

The Biden-Harris Administration will require COVID-19 vaccination of staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities to protect both them and patients from the virus and its more contagious Delta variant. Facilities across the country should make efforts now to get health care staff vaccinated to make sure they are in compliance when the rule takes effect.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced that emergency regulations requiring vaccinations for nursing home workers will be expanded to include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, among others, as a condition for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The decision was based on the continued and growing spread of the virus in health care settings, especially in parts of the U.S. with higher incidence of COVID-19.

“There is no higher priority for us than patient health and safety. As the Delta variant strengthens, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing everything we can to keep patients, and those who care for them, safe,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “There is no question that staff, across any health care setting, who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. Ensuring safety and access to all patients, regardless of their entry point into the health care system, is essential.”

Nursing homes with an overall staff vaccination rate of 75% or lower experience higher rates of preventable COVID infection. In CMS’s review of available data, the agency is seeing lower staff vaccination rates among hospital and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities. To combat this issue, CMS is using its authority to establish vaccine requirements for all providers and suppliers that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Vaccinations have proven to reduce the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and are effective against the Delta variant.  CMS will continue to work closely with all Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities to ensure these new requirements are met.

“We know that those working in health care want to do what is best for their patients in order to keep them safe,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “As the Delta variant continues to spread, we know the best defense against it lies with the COVID-19 vaccine. Data show that the higher the level of vaccination rates among providers and staff, the lower the infection rate is among patients who are dependent upon them for care. Now is the time to act. I’m urging everyone, but especially those fighting this virus on the front lines, to get vaccinated and protect themselves, their families, and their patients from COVID-19.”

CMS is developing an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period that will be issued in October. CMS expects certified Medicare and Medicaid facilities to act in the best interest of patients and staff by complying with new COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Health care workers employed in these facilities who are not currently vaccinated are urged to begin the process immediately. Facilities are urged to use all available resources to support employee vaccinations, including employee education and clinics, as they work to meet new federal requirements.


Please note that RCPA is working diligently with the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and the Governor’s Office in order to obtain clarification of the above information. In this way, we will be able to fully understand the impact of this expansion. If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

Today, on the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we celebrate the inclusion and access promoted by the landmark civil rights law for disabled Americans [view official White House release]. Below are some facts about the ADA:

  • The Act is now 31 years strong — however, the work for disability inclusion is a long way from being done.
  • RCPA serves the disability community of all ages, from children to the elderly, for services including Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) supports, from early intervention to Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Mental Health (MH).
  • Supporting consumers requires supporting the community organizations who do the work — it is not enough to just hail the workers as heroes; we need to reinforce that acknowledgement with investments to maintain the level of services needed.
  • The ADA was the start of advocacy, while subsequent work by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) continue to evolve it. Resources in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) should continue the journey.