Federal Opioid Grant Money Can’t Be Used on Marijuana

The U.S. government says federal grant dollars awarded for opioid and other substance abuse treatment can’t be spent on marijuana. The news comes as the opioid crisis continues to rage on in states across the country — more and more of which now allow the use medical and recreational marijuana. While the drug is illegal […]

Cocaine, Meth Overdose Deaths On the Rise

While the opioid epidemic has captured national attention — and federal dollars — in recent years, opioids aren’t the only culprit behind the rising number of overdose deaths in America. In fact, death by other illicit substances such as cocaine and methamphetamine are also on the rise, in some states accounting for even more fatalities […]

Presidential Hopeful Kamala Harris Unveils Plan for Mental Health Reform 

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has unveiled a new plan to reform mental health treatment. If passed, it could lead to new opportunities and higher reimbursement rates for behavioral health providers. The plan aims to double the number of mental health treatment beds nationwide, remove the institutions for mental disease (IMD) exclusion, increase the availability […]

FCC Moving Forward With 3-Digit Suicide Prevention Hotline

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is moving forward with plans to update the national suicide prevention lifeline number. The goal is to eventually create a shorter number that’s as easy and as identifiable as 911. The FCC is expected to take the first step in the process during an upcoming meeting on Dec. 12, when […]

Telehealth Access for Behavioral Health Expands, But Regulatory Issues Remain

Telehealth services are becoming increasingly accessible for behavioral health providers and the patients they serve. However, regulatory barriers continue to prevent the technology from becoming more widespread. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now provide some degree of coverage for telehealth services for their Medicaid members, according to the latest Telemental Health Laws […]

Reworking SUD Privacy Rules Top Priority for Policy Group of Behavioral Health Payers

At times, the relationship between payers and behavioral health providers can feel adversarial. However, to ensure the best care for patients, it should be collaborative. Payers and providers tackled how to make that vision a reality, among other issues, earlier this month in Washington D.C. at the Payer’s Behavioral Health Management and Policy Summit, hosted […]

D.C. Medicaid Program Granted First IMD Waiver Specifically for Mental Health

A first-of-its-kind Medicaid demonstration project aimed to improve care for beneficiaries with serious mental illness (SMI) and/or serious emotional disturbance (SED) has been approved in Washington, D.C. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the approval of D.C.’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver Wednesday. It quite literally waives federal rules that typically prevent Medicaid […]

Blue Cross Blue Shield Parent Company Sued Over Stringent Behavioral Health Guidelines

The parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield plan providers in five states is being sued over allegations that it’s been denying behavioral health benefits to members due to overly restrictive guidelines, according to Law360. The federal lawsuit seeking class action status was filed late last month against Chicago-based Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC). The […]

Uncertainty Surrounding EKRA Could Hurt Behavioral Health Providers

For decades, behavioral health care was shrouded in stigma, making effective services hard to come by — and pay for. But now, need, payment and technology are aligning to make behavioral health care services more accessible than ever before. In many ways, that’s a good thing: It means more people can successfully address issues related […]