December 21, 2022
Early this morning, we sent you lots of information regarding the omnibus spending package that was conceptually agreed on last night. Below is more specific information on policy and issues of import to NYS Council members, from the National Council.
Congress released text of a year-end spending bill, which includes numerous mental health and substance use-related provisions. The “omnibus” bill is expected to be passed on Friday, Dec. 23. We’re pleased to see several key National Council/NYS Council priorities in the bill text, including:
- Mental Health Access Improvement Act: Expands the Medicare workforce to include marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors.
- Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act: Removes certain barriers to access for medication-assisted treatment.
- Medication Access and Training Expansion Act: Boosts substance use disorder (SUD) training for health care providers and helps standardize prescriber education practices.
- Expansion of Peer Specialists within the Department of Veterans Affairs: Creates a $13 million program to increase outreach and education about peer specialists, expands virtual peer support platforms and makes a program permanent for hiring at least two peer specialists at every VA primary care facility.
A summary of key funding level increases included in the bill, broken out by issue area:
- Substance Use Services: $4.2 billion (increase of $203 million) to combat the opioid epidemic. Funds are targeted toward improving treatment and prevention and workforce needs.
- Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs): $385 million (increase of $70 million) for CCBHCs through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants, on top of the already expanded CCBHC demonstration program through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
- 988: $512 million for SAMHSA suicide prevention activities including $439.6 million for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
- Mental Health Block Grant: $1.01 billion (increase of $150 million).
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): $2.34 billion (increase of $120.9 million) for NIMH, including targeted funding for research on social media’s impact on mental health.
- School-based Grants: $111 million for school-based mental health grants at the Department of Education.
- Project AWARE: $140 million (increase of $20 million) for increasing awareness of mental health issues among youth, including training.
- Mobile Crisis: $20 million (increase of $10 million) to help communities create mobile behavioral health crisis response teams.
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery (STAR) Loan Repayment Program: $40 million toward educating and training SUD professionals.
- Parity: Authorizes $10 million for grants to states to support parity enforcement.