BHECON sponsored a Federal Policy update at the Alaska Behavioral Health Association (ABHA) annual meeting in March 2019, providing behavioral health providers in Alaska with the latest insights on laws and regulations that may impact them in the future. Advocates were able to ask questions and get an insider’s perspective From Chuck Ingoglia, senior VP public policy and practice improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health, on current health care trends coming from Washington, DC.
For individuals with serious mental illness, 2019 promises continued challenges to ensuring access for mental health and addiction treatment. The federal focus on “flexibility” at the state level presents significant opportunities for states to establish new policies and regulations to increase behavioral health investment; however, current policy trends include more restrictive measures in accessing the public safety-net for behavioral health conditions.
2018’s successful SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act included bills related to telemedicine, behavioral health IT and the addiction treatment workforce, but few provisions spend any money. Advocacy should remain a top priority for behavioral health providers moving forward at both the state and federal level to ensure lawmakers prioritize investments into treatment for individuals with serious mental illness and supporting development of the behavioral health workforce.