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As many of you may have heard, the Supreme Court decided to uphold the right to all states should have premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, on a 6-3 vote. This is a major victory for the 6.4 million citizens covered in the 34 states who are receiving subsidies from the Federal government,many of whom are our patients. For more information go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/obamacare-survives-supreme-court-challenge/2015/06/25/af87608e-188a-11e5-93b7-5eddc056ad8a_story.html
On another note, many of you may also have heard about the new version of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015, H.R. 2646, (formerly H.R. 3717). CSWA has been working on this bill for the past two years, meeting with prime sponsor Rep. Tim Murphy's office to express our concerns last year. As a result, Rep. Murphy agreed to include the phrase "clinical social worker" in the bill every time the groups of providers for psychotherapy are mentioned, approximately 20 times. Previously the term had been the more general "social worker."
Additionally, H.R. 2646 includes the following recommendations made by CSWA last year: 1) establishment of federally qualified community behavioral health clinics; 2) extension of health information technology assistance for behavioral health facilities and professionals engaging in meaningful use; 3) reauthorization of the Garrett Lee Smith suicide prevention program; 4) reauthorization of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network; 5) improvements in Department of Justice programs focused on children with mental illness and substance use disorders involved with the criminal justice systems; and 6) full implementation of the 2008 Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
Our main concern about the new version of this bill is around cuts to those with disabilities. While CSWA will be talking with main sponsors of this bill later this summer, we see this bill as an improvement in many ways from the original bill.
Finally, CSWA continues to meet with members of Congress and CMS on our Medicare Position Paper to create reimbursement parity for LCSWs. A report on these efforts will be out later this summer.
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