Acadia CMO, Behavioral Stakeholders: Payment Reform Necessary to Improve SMI Treatment

People with severe mental illnesses (SMIs) often end up homeless, hospitalized or incarcerated. To change that, federal and commercial payers need to reimagine the way they reimburse for the treatment of SMIs, behavioral health stakeholders say.  “Our mental health care payment system is really not geared toward people with serious mental illness,” psychiatrist and documentarian […]

President Trump Targets Behavioral Health with Latest Executive Order

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order designed to improve behavioral health and prevent suicide in America. It blames COVID-19-related shutdowns for worsening Americans’ mental health.  The executive order, signed Monday, establishes a cabinet-level working group to assess the mental health needs of America’s most vulnerable citizens. That includes elderly adults, minorities, children, veterans […]

[UPDATED] HHS Opens Relief Funding for Previously Ineligible Behavioral Health Providers

Certain behavioral health providers who were previously ineligible to receive federal funding to help offset the financial impacts of COVID-19 are now allowed to apply for financial relief. Those who have already received payments may also be eligible to apply for additional funding. The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced the next phase […]

House Passes ER Suicide Screening Bill

The House of Representatives has passed a bill designed to improve and enhance suicide screenings in emergency departments. If signed into law, it would set aside funding to help hospitals improve suicide protocols. The Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act (HR 4861) aims to help medical professionals working in emergency departments identify, […]

California Law Expands Behavioral Coverage, Could Set Stage for National Change

California has passed a law to improve residents’ access to behavioral health care coverage. It’s a move that could set the stage for nationwide change. The law in question defines “medical necessity” for mental health and substance use disorder treatment, no longer leaving it up to insurance companies to create their own definitions. California Gov. […]

Three-Digit Suicide Prevention Hotline Bill Heads to Trump’s Desk

The national suicide prevention hotline number is one step closer to being shortened to three digits. To make it happen, all that’s needed now is a signature from President Donald Trump. The House of Representatives unanimously passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act on Monday. The legislation aims to shorten the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline […]

MAT Providers Push for COVID-19-Related Flexibilities to Continue Post-Pandemic

The coronavirus has changed the face of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), in many ways, for the better.  Virus-related flexibilities have made it easier for patients to get medication, attend therapy sessions and avoid the stigma often associated with substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. While it’s unclear what the SUD landscape will look like in the future, […]

Only Half of Clinicians Waivered to Prescribe Buprenorphine Actually Do So

Despite the stringent federal requirements clinicians must meet to become waivered providers of buprenorphine, only about half of those eligible to prescribe the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) drug actually do so.   That’s according to a new study conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts in collaboration with Deerfield Management Co. and Rand Corp. The findings were published on […]

HHS Extends Deadline to Apply for Provider Relief Funds

Behavioral health providers now have a few extra weeks to apply for provider relief funding — federal aid that could play an important role in helping them navigate COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the application deadline from Friday, August 28, to Sunday, September 13. Created by the CARES […]

Former CEO of Liberation Way Addiction Treatment Center Sentenced to 3 Years For Fraud

The former CEO of a Pennsylvania addiction treatment center has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in a fraud scheme.  Jason Gerner — who founded Yardley, Pennsylvania-based Liberation Way in 2015 after recovering from opioid addiction himself — was sentenced Monday. The punishment comes after he pleaded guilty to charges […]