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Advocacy Updates & Action Alerts
Legislation NAADAC supports during the 117th Congress.

Family Support Services for Addiction Act (H.R. 433)

H.R. 433, the Family Support Services for Addiction Act, was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and seeks to establish a grant program for family community organizations that provide support for individuals struggling with substance use disorder and their families.

The House Bill was introduced on January 21, 2021 and lead sponsors of the bill are Rep. David Trone (D-MD-6) and Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA-9).

Program funds may be used to:

  • build connections between family support networks and peer support networks by educating service providers on current evidence regarding addiction and the family,
  • improve knowledge about addiction and its treatment, providing compassionate support, and dispelling myths that perpetuate stigma,
  • conduct outreach on issues relating to substance use disorders and family support, and
  • connect families to evidence-informed peer support programs.

Please view the full text of the bill and the cosponsor list for additional details.

Contact Your U.S. Representative 

Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises during Emergencies Act (H.R. 434)

H.R. 434, the Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises during Emergencies Act, was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and was introduced on January 21, 2021.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall convene a task force known as the Task Force to Prevent Mental Health and Substance Use Crises to—

(1) assess the response of the Federal Government with respect to mental health and substance use during and after the spread of COVID–19; and

(2) advise the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use on a national strategy for preventing mental health and substance use crises during a public health emergency.

The United States invests annually in the public mental health of Americans. Congress appropriated $5.87 billion in fiscal year 2021 to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. Funds also address mental health and substance use in targeted populations through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of the Interior, and the National Institute for Mental Health.

Please review the full text of the bill and cosponsor list for additional details.

Contact Your U.S. Representative 

Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act (H.R. 588/S. 165)

The bipartisan Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act (H.R. 588/S. 165) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate on January 28, 2021 and February 2, 2021, respectively.

This bill addresses the rising need for mental and behavioral health services caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act, which passed the House last year, would strengthen the efforts of state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and service providers to tackle behavioral health needs related to COVID-19.

This bill's lead sponsors were Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45), Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Please review the full text of the bill for additional information.

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The Coronavirus Mental Health Addiction Assistance Act of 2021 (H.R. 593/S. 153)

H.R. 593/S. 153, The Coronavirus Mental Health Addiction Assistance Act of 2021, was introduced on January 28, 2021 and sponsored by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).

The bill seeks to establish the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Network that provides programs for assisting individuals in managing mental health and substance use disorders during or in connection to the COVID–19 pandemic.

Please review the full text of the bill for additional information.

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The Emergency Support for SUD Act (H.R. 706/S. 166)

H.R. 706/S. 166, The Emergency Support for SUD Act, was introduced on February 2, 2021 and sponsored by Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH-2), Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

The bill aims to address substance use disorders through harm reduction services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would help administer these grants and would prioritize resources for areas with higher drug overdose death rates, telemedicine and workforce needs, prevention and recovery supports, and efforts to reduce stigma.

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TREAT Act (H.R. 708/S. 168)

H.R. 708/S. 168, TREAT Act, was introduced on February 2, 2021, and sponsored by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH-5), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).

The bill would allow any health care professional in good standing with a valid practitioners’ license to render services—including telehealth—anywhere for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please view the full text of the bill for additional details.

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Barriers to Suicide Act (H.R. 792/S. XXX)

H.R. 792/S. XXX, the Barriers to Suicide Act, was introduced on February 4, 2021 and sponsored by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA-8), Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32).

The bill aims to direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish a grant program to facilitate the installation, on bridges, of evidence-based suicide deterrents, including suicide prevention nets and barriers, and for other purposes.

The term "evidence-based suicide deterrent" means a suicide deterrent that demonstrates a rationale based on high-quality research findings or positive evaluation that such deterrent is likely to reduce or prevent suicide, and includes ongoing efforts to examine the effects of such deterrent.

Please view the full text of the bill for additional details.

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Medicaid Reentry Act (H.R. 955/S. 285)

H.R. 955/S. 285, the Medicaid Reentry Act, was introduced on February 8, 2021 and sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

This legislation would allow states to restart Medicaid coverage for eligible incarcerated individuals up to 30 days before their release from jail or prison. The letter thanks the original bipartisan, bicameral sponsors of the legislation.

Please view the full text of the bill for additional details.

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Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (H.R. XXX/S. XXX)

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act was introduced on February 8, 2021 and sponsored by Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 is composed of twelve individual bills sponsored by Black Maternal Health Caucus Members. The legislation will:

1) Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.
2) Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.
3) Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant and postpartum veterans and support VA maternity care coordination programs.
4) Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives culturally congruent maternity care and support.
5) Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.
6) Support moms with maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
7) Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms.
8) Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
9) Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.
10) Invest in federal programs to address the unique risks for and effects of COVID-19 during and after pregnancy and to advance respectful maternity care in future public health emergencies.
11) Invest in community-based initiatives to reduce levels of and exposure to climate changerelated risks for moms and babies.
12) Promote maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.

View the full summary of this bill for more information.

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Mental Health Services for Students Act (H.R. 721S. XXX)

H.R. 721/S. XXX, the Mental Health Services for Students Act, was introduced on February 2, 2021, and sponsored by Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24).

This bill seeks to amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend projects relating to children and to provide access to school-based comprehensive mental health programs.

Please view the full text of the bill for additional details.

Contact Your U.S. Representative 

SERVE Act (H.R. 1309/S. 194)

H.R. 1309/S. 194, the SERVE Act, was introduced to the House of Representatives on February 24, 2021 and to the Senate on Febraury 3, 2021. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6), Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).

This bill seeks to amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for eating disorders treatment for members of the Armed Forces and certain dependents of members and former members of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.

Please view the full text of the bill for additional details.

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Mental Health Research Act (H.R. XXX)

H.R. XXX, the Mental Health Research Act, was sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24).

This legislation authorizes $100 million annually through 2025 to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to conduct research: on the mental health impact of COVID–19 on health care providers; on the long-term impacts of COVID-19 stressors on mental health; to strengthen the mental health response to COVID-19, including adapting to or providing additional services for new or increasing mental health needs; on the reach, efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of digital mental health interventions; on the effectiveness of strategies for implementation and delivery of evidence-based mental health interventions and services for underserved populations; and on suicide prevention.

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Virtual Community Support Act (H.R. XXX)

H.R. XXX, the Virtual Community Support Act, was sponsored by Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29).

The bill seeks to strengthen community-based and peer support services virtually both during and beyond the pandemic.

Contact Your U.S. Representative 

Crisis Counseling Act (H.R. XXX)

H.R. XXX, the Crisis Counseling Act, was sponsored by Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29).

The bill seeks to automatically approve requests by any state, territory, and tribe for a Crisis Counseling and Training Program after it had been granted a Stafford Act declaration.

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Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act (H.R. XXX)

H.R. XXX, the Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act, was sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24).

This bill establishes programs to support school-based mental health services and address racial and ethnic mental health disparities, among other provisions. Specifically, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) must award grants for school- and community-based, mental health services. Such services must be trauma-informed and designed to provide comprehensive, culturally-appropriate interventions at a school-wide level.

Further, the bill requires the SAMSHA to award grants that address racial and ethnic health disparities by (1) providing integrated health care in areas with a high proportion of racial and ethnic minority groups and (2) developing national programs for health professionals to reduce such disparities.

The bill also (1) reauthorizes the minority fellowship program to support the education of mental health professionals who provide services to racial and ethnic minorities, (2) establishes a commission to research the effects of social media use on adolescents, and (3) prohibits the use of federal funds for specified conversion therapy in the context of sexual orientation or sexual identity.

Contact Your U.S. Representative 

Nutrition Counseling Aiding Recovery for Eating Disorders or Nutrition CARE Act (H.R. XXX/S. XXX)

H.R. XXX/S. XXX, Nutrition Counseling Aiding Recovery for Eating Disorders or Nutrition CARE Act, was sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Rep. Jacki Walorski (R-IN-2), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-AL), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

This bill provides for Medicare coverage of medical nutrition therapy services for individuals with eating disorders. Such services must be furnished by a registered dietitian or nutrition professional pursuant to a referral from a physician, psychologist, or other authorized mental health professional.

Please view the full text of the bill for additional details.

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Legislation NAADAC supported during the 116th Congress. 

Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6)

H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act seeks to expand treatment and recovery services, improve prevention, and bolster efforts to fight deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

The bill also includes key NAADAC priorities including provisions that would:

  • Incentivize individuals to pursue substance use disorder treatment professions by offering student loan relief
  • Protect against the erosion of privacy rights of individuals with substance use disorders; and
  • Remove the IMD exclusion for all substance use disorder treatment and allow Medicaid payment for eligible individuals for up to 30 days annually.

For additional details, please see the section-by-section summary as well as the full text of the bill.

Please contact your Senators and urge a YES vote on the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

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Strengthening the Addiction Treatment Workforce Act (S. 1453)

The Strengthening the Addiction Treatment Workforce Act (S. 1453) would bolster the addiction workforce by extending student loan repayment opportunities to currently-eligible professionals working in addiction settings. Specifically, the bill adds addiction treatment facilities as eligible participating sites in the existing National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan forgiveness program.

NHSC provides loan forgiveness to more than 10,000 eligible health care professionals across the country in exchange for their service in un- derserved rural, urban and frontier communities, touching over 11 million American lives. Under current law, NHSC participants may serve in qualified primary care, dental or mental health clinics experiencing workforce shortages, but are ineligible for loan forgiveness if they work in addiction treatment settings. By expanding NHSC sites to include qualified addiction facilities, this legislation will improve access to desperately needed addiction services for millions of Americans.

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Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act

The maintenance of needed health and mental health care has little meaning without affordable and ready access to the plans providing such coverage, at parity with medical/surgical benefits. Ensuring affordable and ready access requires retention of the ACA’s prohibition against denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, as well as the ACA’s prohibition against annual and life-time limits on coverage. This is particularly vital given the opioid addiction epidemic our nation is facing, and the millions of Americans with multiple chronic co-occurring mental health and physical health conditions.

The Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act is a step in the right direction. It is critical that Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSR) funding be maintained to lower individual market premiums and to provide security for insurers to remain in the marketplace. Furthermore, funding for outreach efforts is paramount to help consumers choose the right plan for themselves and their families, and to ensure more people obtain coverage.

Any final bill that may be brought to a vote must maintain current law requirements that all plans offered in the individual insurance market: (1) must cover the 10 categories of essential health benefits, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment; (2) require guaranteed issue and renewability; (3) cannot deny coverage or impose higher premiums on people with preexisting conditions, and (4) cannot impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage.

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Road to Recovery Act (H.R. 2938) - Bipartisan IMD Repeal Bill

The Road to Recovery Act [H.R. 2938], introduced by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ), will: 

  • Enable states to expand access to inpatient treatment for individuals with substance use disorders, while removing the barriers set forth by the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion policy;
     
  • Allow Medicaid coverage in residential treatment facilities for individuals under the age of 65, and lifts the 16-bed limit, regardless of facilities size;
     
  • Require periodic reviews, no less than every 60 days, to ensure individuals needs and services are met;
     
  • Ensure there is no limit to the length of time in which an individual can stay in treatment and allows patients to receive a treatment plan that best meets their needs; and 
     
  • Allow states to set standards for criteria and have the flexibility to implement care based on the specific needs of each state.
     

"The Road to Recovery Act is an important and long overdue piece of legislation that NAADAC fully supports,” stated NAADAC’s Executive Director, Cynthia Moreno Tuohy. “Removing the 16-bed limit on treatment facilities and the cap on length of stay are imperative steps for expanding access to and the effectiveness of impatient treatment for those living with substance use disorder and co-occurring disorders. The proposed legislation will allow residential treatment facilities to have increased funding available for all types of treatment, become more self-sustainable, increase the quality of their work, and ultimately save more lives.”

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Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion Act (S. 1169)

The Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (Medicaid CARE) Act [S. 1169], introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME), will:

  • Amend the IMD exclusion barrier and allow Medicaid coverage in residential treatment facilities with up to 40 beds for up to 60 days, and will allow for other medical services to be covered;
  • Establishes a $50 million youth inpatient treatment grant program that will allow facilities to provide services for individuals under the age of 21 years old;
  • Increase better access for pregnant and postpartum women to ensure treatment services are available for healthy birth outcomes.
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Improving Access to Behavioral Health Information Technology Act (S. 1732/H.R. 3331)

In July 2017, the bipartisan Improving Access to Behavioral Health Information Technology Act (S. 1732/H.R. 3331) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to support behavioral health providers in adopting electronic health records (EHR). This bill tasks the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) with creating a demonstration project to incentivize the use of EHR systems in various settings, including mental health and addiction treatment organizations.

Why do we need the Improving Access to Behavioral Health Information Technology Act?
  • Comprehensive care coordination is needed to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic.
  • Most behavioral health treatment providers lack the resources needed to implement EHRs.
  • Expected savings cannot materialize if behavioral health providers remain excluded from health IT funding
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Full Funding for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)

Signed into law in 2016, CARA is a monumental step forward to better addressing addiction in our country by:

  • Treating addiction like a disease through evidence-based practices such as medication assisted and individualized treatment;
  • Supporting community-based prevention efforts and long-term, robust recovery supports;
  • Expanding access to naloxone so that we can reverse overdoses and save lives;
  • Educating prescribers; 
  • Investing in prevention programs for our communities and children;
  • Helping law enforcement divert individuals who are struggling with a substance use disorder so that they can be treated in their communities.
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Mental Health Access Improvement Act (H.R. 3032)

In June 2017, Representatives John Katko (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), introduced the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 3032). This legislation would allow marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and licensed mental health counselors to directly bill Medicare for their services. Currently, these professionals are not eligible Medicare providers, despite the important role they play in delivering treatment, recovery and prevention services to seniors and people with disabilities, particularly in underserved, rural areas with a mental health workforce shortage. This simple change would immediately increase patients’ access to needed care in their communities. Additionally, we support adding language that would ensure patients’ access to counselors who are trained, credentialed and licensed to provide addiction treatment.

Why do we need the Mental Health Access Improvement Act?
  • Older Americans have high rates of mental illness and suicide, yet have lower rates of treatment than others.
  • MFTs and counselors practice in areas without access to other Medicare-covered professionals.
  • Expanding the workforce pool would expand patients’ access to treatment.
  • Counselors and MFTs have equivalent training and licensure standards to providers already included within Medicare.
  • Congress has long supported this change.
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Veteran Wellness Act (H.R. 2506)

The Veteran Wellness Act [H.R. 2506], introduced by Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) in May, will require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out a two-year pilot program under which the VA makes grants to nonprofit veterans services organizations (VSOs) to: (1) upgrade their community facilities into health and wellness centers in at least 10 different geographic locations, and (2) promote and expand complementary and integrative wellness programs.

The VA shall give priority to locations in economically depressed areas that are not in close proximity to VA medical centers. A VSO, as a condition of receiving a grant, must agree to carry out the operation and maintenance of a facility that is repaired or constructed using grant funds for three years after completion of the repair or construction.

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