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Covid-19 Task Force Letter to Congress

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NABH-The Kennedy Forum Op-Ed

In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced some hopeful news when it reported a slight uptick in U.S. life expectancy following years of decline largely due to historic rates of overdoses and suicides.

Sadly, COVID-19 has the potential to reverse serious progress made in addressing our nation’s mental health and addiction crises — particularly around overdose rates — unless policymakers mitigate the pandemic’s serious effects on behavioral health in the next stimulus package.

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CMS Expects FY 2021 IPF Payments to Increase by 2.4%

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on April 10 said it expects payments to inpatient psychiatric facilities to increase by 2.4% in fiscal year 2021, boosting the federal per diem base rate to $817.59 from $798.55.

An announcement about CMS’ proposed inpatient psychiatric facility prospective payment system (IPF-PPS) rule said the agency estimates total IPF payments to increase by $100 million next year. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, April 14.

According to the proposed rule, CMS will adopt the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines regarding geographic delineation of statistical areas, which CMS said should result in wage index values better representing the actual labor costs in a given area.

“CMS is proposing that all IPF providers negatively impacted in their wage index, regardless of the circumstance causing the decline, be capped at a 5-percent decrease for FY 2021,” the announcement said. Table 6 at the start of page 57 in the proposed rule shows changes in 2021 from 2020 for different facility types.

The agency said it is not making changes to the IPF Quality Reporting Program.

NABH is analyzing the proposed rule and will submit comments by the June 9 deadline.

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HHS Announces $30 Billion in Covid-19 Relief Funding for Providers

HHS announced on Friday it is distributing $30 billion immediately to healthcare providers fighting the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. The funding is the first portion of the $100 billion allotted to hospitals and other providers as part of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations (CARES) Act that President Trump signed on March 27.

The funding will arrive via direct deposit to eligible providers starting on Friday, April 10. HHS’ announcement said the money is in the form of payments, not loans, so the money will not need to be repaid.

Eligible healthcare providers include all facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements in 2019. According to HHS, payments to practices that are part of larger medical groups will be sent to the group’s central billing office. Click here to learn how HHS will determine the payments and what eligible providers need to do.

To receive funding, providers must agree not to seek to collect out-of-pocket payments from a Covid-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if an in-network provider had provided care, HHS said.

HHS has created a public website that shows all Covid-19 grant and cooperative agreement awards, which features a U.S. map detailing the amounts awarded by states, graphics highlighting the numbers of awards, amounts awarded by agency, and more.

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Critical Behavioral Healthcare Recommendations During Covid-19

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MHLG Letter to HHS and CMS on Medicare Telehealth

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MHLG Telehealth State Coverage Letter 3/25/20 House and Senate

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NABH Covid-19 Letter

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CSOO Addiction Service Workforce Recommendations

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MHLG Supports Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act

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