September 29, 2020
Yesterday, House Democrats released an updated version of the HEROES Act, which passed the House in May. The updated legislation includes a number of elements that would impact the behavioral health community. Please see below for a summary:
- Health Care Provider Relief Fund – for the purposes of reimbursing eligible health care providers for expenses related to preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19, as well as lost revenues that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, as determined. $50 billion is authorized to carry out this section.
- COVID-19-related temporary increase of Medicaid FMAP – Increases Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) payments to state Medicaid programs by a total of 14 percentage points starting October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021.
- Allowance for medical assistance under Medicaid for inmates during 30-day period preceding release. – Provides Medicaid eligibility to incarcerated individuals 30 days prior to their release. (This is the Medicaid Reentry Act.)
- Grants to address substance use during COVID-19. – Authorizes SAMHSA to award grants ($10M total) to support local, tribal, and state substance use efforts (including to “community-based entities”) that need further assistance as a result of COVID-19.
- SAMHSA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – $8.5 billion to provide increased mental health and substance abuse services and support, including:
- $3.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Prevention Treatment Block Grant (SAMHSA may grant emergency waivers related to allowable activities, timelines, and reporting requirements);
- $4 billion for the Mental Health Services Block Grant; of which, no less than 50 percent of funds shall go directly to facilities as defined here (under subsection (c)) ((SAMHSA may grant emergency waivers related to allowable activities, timelines and reporting requirements);
- $600 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics;
- $50 million for suicide prevention programs;
- $100 million for Project AWARE to support school-based mental health for children;
- $10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network;
- $240 million for emergency grants to States; and
- Not less than $150 million of funds provided to SAMHSA must be allocated to tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes across a variety of programs.