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NABH, MHA, and NAMI Send Letter to Congress About Citizens Commission on Human Rights

NABH, Mental Health America (MHA), and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) this week sent a letter to Congress about the work of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an activist organization representing Scientology that questions the legitimacy of psychiatric categories, diagnostic practices, and common forms of behavioral healthcare treatment.

News outlets have reported for years that the Scientology movement’s goal is to replace mental health treatment with rituals that adhere to Scientology’s beliefs and practices. The letter from NABH, MHA, and NAMI is meant to inform federal lawmakers and their staff members that CCHR represents Scientology, and also to make them aware that CCHR’s goal is to discredit the mental health segment and undermine public faith in this field of medicine.

The letter is also intended to debunk CCHR’s claims and highlight the positive effects of behavioral healthcare treatment.

“When behavioral healthcare conditions are compared with other chronic conditions, behavioral healthcare outcomes are similar, and, in some cases, slightly better,” the letter said. “Consider these statistics: 30 percent to 50 percent of adults with type 1 diabetes (a chronic condition) will experience recurrence of symptoms each year, and approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of adults with hypertension or asthma will have a recurrence requiring additional medical care each year. By comparison, “40 percent to 60 percent of patients treated for alcohol or other drug dependence return to active substance use within a year following treatment discharge.”

NABH, MHA, and NAMI concluded the letter by offering to serve as trusted resources for policymakers, journalists, patient advocates, and the general public to ensure that America’s most vulnerable patients can access the high-quality, evidence-based behavioral healthcare they need.

MACPAC Examindes Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment Under Medicaid

Medicaid utilization management policies for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) vary widely nationwide and the extent to which these policies build barriers to addiction treatment is unclear, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) concluded in its report to Congress this week.

The Report to Congress: Utilization Management of Medication-Assisted Treatment in Medicaidis based on analysis of available data on how MAT utilization management is used nationally. It is also based on interviews with industry experts, clinicians, and state officials to study how eight states—Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia—apply preferred status, prior authorization, step therapy, prescription limits, quantity or dose limits, and lifetime limits to their Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care programs.

“Our review found a trend among states to eliminate prior authorization,” MACPAC Chair Melanie Bella said in an announcement about the report. “This is encouraging, since it removes one potential barrier to MAT access,” she added.

According to the report, the number of states requiring prior authorization for MAT medications declined to 30 in 2018 from 48 in 2011-2013.

SAMHSA Releases First-Episode Psychosis and Co-Occurring SUD

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released First-Episode Psychosis and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders, a new guide to help healthcare providers, systems, and communities address first-episode psychosis and co-occurring substance use disorders (SUD).

The resource describes relevant research; explores emerging and best practices; identifies knowledge gaps and implementation challenges; and offers resources.

SUD Increases Risk of Death from Heart Infection

Patients who suffer from infective endocarditis (IE) and struggle with SUD have a 240-percent increased risk of dying within 6 months to 5 years after valve surgery compared with other IE patients, according to a new study published online in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

According to an announcement from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), IE is a life-threatening bacterial infection in the endocardium, the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves. Although this condition is often associated with heart defects or abnormal valves, the STS said it is also a “notorious complication after using unsanitary needles and syringes to inject drugs, as bacteria from the skin’s surface and injection equipment release directly into the bloodstream.”

Despite medical advances, SUD-IE remains difficult to treat and has a high recurrence rate, the STS notes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people with SUD-IE are 10 times more likely than other patients with IE to require a second surgery or die months after leaving the hospital.

Behavioral Healthcare Providers Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Six behavioral healthcare providers were elected as new members to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) this week.

Election to the NAM is considered among the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated both outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

David Amaral, Ph.D., a distinguished professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis; Colleen Barry, Ph.D., M.P.P., chair of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Debra Elaine Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention at the Atlanta-based CDC; David Meyers, M.D., chief physician at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Baltimore; Scott Rauch, M.D., president and psychiatrist-in-chief at McLean Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; and Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for veterans affairs for psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City were elected when the NAM announced the election of 90 regular members and 10 international members during its annual meeting on Oct. 21.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Oct. 26

The Drug Enforcement Agency under the U.S. Justice Department is sponsoring National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The day is meant to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible way of disposing prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for medication abuse. Click here to learn more about the program and to identify drop-off sites.

IPFQR Program Webinar Scheduled for Oct. 31

The Quality Reporting Center will host a webinar for participants in the Inpatient Psychiatric Quality Reporting (IPFQR) Program next Thursday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. ET.

The presentation—IPFQR Program FY 2020 Data Review is Thursday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. ET— will provide a review of the FY 2020 measure and non-measure data results.

Click here to register and download the slides here from the Quality Reporting Center one day before the presentation.

SAMHSA Grant Applications for Integrating Primary and Behavioral Healthcare Due Dec. 10

SAMHSA has announced it is accepting applications for fiscal year 2020 Promoting Integration of Primary and Behavioral Healthcare (PIPHC) grants.

The program’s purpose is to promote full integration and collaboration in clinical practice between primary and behavioral healthcare, support integrated care models and improve the overall wellness and health of adults with serious mental illness or children with serious emotional disturbance, and promote and offer integrated care services related to screening, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental and substance use disorders and co-occurring physical health conditions and chronic diseases.

Applications are due Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Judy Collins and Tom Insel to Serve as Keynote Speakers at NABH 2020 Annual Meeting

Grammy award-winning folk singer Judy Collins and neuroscientist Tom Insel, M.D., the former director of the National Institute Mental Health, will headline NABH’s 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington.

Please visit NABH’s Annual Meeting homepage today to learn more and to register for the meeting. Also please be sure to make your hotel reservation at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC from March 16-18, 2020. We look forward to seeing you next March!

Fact of the Week

The last time a World Series was played in Washington, D.C. was 1933, the same year nine physicians established the National Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals (NAPPH), the precursor to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) and NABH.

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