Thursday, July 17, 2014

APA Makes Recommendations to HHS Secretary About Community Mental Health Demonstration Programs

As the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepares to implement a project called Demonstration Programs to Improve Community Mental Health Services, APA has forwarded several recommendations to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell that it believes will facilitate implementation of the project, whose goal is to bring comprehensive mental health treatment, especially for serious mental illness, to far more Medicaid beneficiaries who need such care. The demonstration program was included in PL-113-93, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which dealt with how physicians would be paid under Medicare for the next year.

In a July 11 letter, APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., notes that chief among APA's concerns is ensuring that Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CBHCs), which will be established and certified as part of the program, "are structured to provide high-quality health care and that appropriate and efficacious quality metrics are built into the system" and that they will have a psychiatrist as medical director. The letter also addresses the need for child and adolescent psychiatrists in the CBHCs and discusses payment systems for the care provided in the CBHCs.

APA will be meeting with officials of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the next month to discuss its recommendations in more detail.


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