Adopting Science-based Policies to Combat Child Neglect Can Increase Wellbeing, Boost Opportunity, and Curb Costs of Government, Concludes Report by Institute for Child Success and Public Consulting Group

Boston, MA – March 31, 2016. Neuroscience-based policies to combat child neglect can usher a new era of wellbeing and opportunity while reducing strain on government services, according to a recent report by the Institute for Child Success and Public Consulting Group, a leading public sector consulting firm. [More]

Behavioral Health’s Move Toward Value-Based Purchasing

“Alternative payment models are not an option for behavioral health providers,” Arizona Medicaid Director Tom Betlach said, “They are your growth strategy.” Betlach’s point was very clear and it resonated with the more than 5,500 attendees at NatCon, where Payment Reform – be it alternative payment methodologies (APMs) or value-based purchasing (VBP) models like Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) initiatives – was a key theme. In line with this, New York State’s DSRIP efforts were highlighted repeatedly throughout the conference. (PCG has played an instrumental role in spearheading New York’s initiative). Government agencies have become “first movers” towards VBP, stressing the importance of “whole person care,” not just “sick care.” [More]

CCBHC Is The Start of Something Good!

CCBHCs! That’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers, for those not familiar with the billion dollar investment that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will soon make to state behavioral health systems. In 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 4302), which included a demonstration program based on the Excellence in Mental Health Act. [More]

The Science of Addiction

Research presented by Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at NatCon used brain imaging to dramatically illustrate how addiction changes brain function. Dr. Volkow’s research demonstrates, for example, that the frontal cortex – or reward center – of the brain weakens as a result of alcohol and illicit drug use. Because the tissue no longer functions in the same way, addiction must be considered a disease of the brain, just as heart disease is a disease of the heart. [More]

CBO revises U.S. health care budget estimates

On March 24, 2016, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report entitled, “Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People under Age 65: 2016 to 2026.” The CBO report shows that the net costs of all Federal subsidies, taxes, and penalties related to health insurance coverage, for persons under age 65, will be $660 billion in 2016 (3.6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product). [More]

Massachusetts enacts law to combat opioid abuse

On March 14, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation which incorporates key recommendations to combat the opioid abuse epidemic that is now claiming nearly four lives per day in the Commonwealth. The legislation requires doctors to check a prescription monitoring program database before writing a prescription for a Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 narcotic, limits opioid prescriptions to a seven day supply in many instances... [More]

Supreme Court set to hear oral argument on cases challenging ACA’s contraceptive mandate

On March 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral argument on a set of seven cases challenging the mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that employers provide contraceptive services to their female employees. Two years before, in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, the Court decided (following a five to four vote) that the Federal government could not impose the mandate upon religiously objecting owners of closely held businesses. [More]

HHS releases report on growth in national health care spending

On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a report showing that overall health care spending per person in the United States grew at a 4.3 percent rate in 2014. HHS indicates that the increase was largely the result of coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and pent-up needs for care among previously uninsured and underinsured persons. [More]