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CEO Update | 49

CEO Update | 49

NABH Launches Access to Care Initiative at 2019 Annual Meeting
NABH this week kicked off Access to Care, the association’s new initiative that will provide information and resources to help inform policymakers, regulators, payers, and patient advocates that only true access can lead to recovery.

Access to Care focuses on two major challenges: unjust managed care contracts and countless regulations, both of which often prevent behavioral healthcare providers from offering patients a full range of services.

As part of this initiative, the NABH Board of Trustees on March 18 adopted the Access to Care resolution, which addresses unfair managed-care practices and recommends guiding principles for providers and payers to incorporate in contracts with managed care organizations (MCOs).

NABH’s provider systems are committed to ensuring patient access to behavioral healthcare treatment across the entire behavioral healthcare continuum, which includes inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and recovery and support services. Too often, MCOs limit coverage to crisis stabilization or short-term, acute-care services for all levels of care because they use internally developed and/or proprietary and non-transparent, medical-necessity criteria.

“As our Access to Care resolution states, ‘Fair and appropriate coverage for behavioral healthcare services must ensure—not solely offer—access to the entire behavioral healthcare continuum,” NABH Board Chair Pat Hammer, president and CEO of Oconomowoc, Wis.-based Rogers Behavioral Health, said in a news release about the resolution. “For this to happen, fair and reasonable managed care contracts must include and apply generally accepted standards of professional practice.”

NABH created a Managed Care Committee last fall to identify problems and propose solutions in managed care contracts. The association shared copies of the resolution with attendees at the meeting and NABH Board Chair Pat Hammer introduced NABH’s Access to Care video—which personalizes behavioral healthcare services—at the Annual Meeting’s opening session.

On March 19, NABH released The High Cost of Compliance: Assessing the Regulatory Burden on Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities, a comprehensive report that examines the burdens that certain regulations impose on the nation’s inpatient psychiatric facilities.

commissioned Manatt Health to conduct this first-of-its-kind study that focuses on three federal regulatory domains attached to participation in the Medicare program: the so-called “B-tag” requirements, a detailed set of standards for patient evaluations, medical records, and staffing in inpatient psychiatric facilities; “ligature risk points,” or those aspects of the physical environment that a patient could use to attempt self-strangulation; and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which obligates a hospital to screen all patients for emergency medical conditions, and, if an emergency condition is identified, to stabilize the patient before the patient may be discharged or transferred.

The findings estimate that, taken together, these three regulatory areas impose $1.7 billion in compliance costs nationwide each year. Put another way, these regulatory burdens represent about 4.8 percent of an average facility’s annual revenue for all inpatient services from all sources.

NABH President and CEO Mark Covall presented a copy of the report to HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan on Tuesday before the deputy secretary addressed Annual Meeting attendees.

In his presentation, Deputy Secy. Hargan called the report “timely” and later tweeted about how he had the opportunity to discuss HHS’ efforts to fund substance use disorder treatment and recovery services—and examine the regulatory barriers that stand in the way of improvement—with NABH.

NABH urges its members to visit the Access to Care for these resources, to post the new Access to Care video online, and to share it on Twitter and LinkedIn. And please remember to follow us @NABHBehavioral and on LinkedIn at the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare!

2019 NABH Annual Meeting Materials Available Online
NABH thanks its members, exhibitors, sponsors, and other guests who traveled to Washington this week for the 2019 NABH Annual Meeting.

Please visit the Speakers & Presentations tab on NABH’s Annual Meeting homepage to download the presentations that included PowerPoint slide decks, the Access to Care page for all materials related to the association’s new initiative, and NABH’s Be an Advocate page for all Hill Day materials.

Video recordings of the presentations will be posted to NABH’s website at a later date.

The NABH team looks forward to seeing you again in 2020!

For questions or comments about CEO Update, please contact Jessica Zigmond.