Government Affairs

NDCA Government Affairs Chair:
Rebecca McConnachie, 701-333-8363; bmcconnachie@nd.gov


CALL TO ACTION:

NBCC needs your help opening the Medicare program to counselors. Congress will soon be considering legislation to fund the federal government and it is important that S. 1879/H.R. 3032 be included in any package. Contact your legislators TODAY and tell them that language authorizing mental health counselors to serve as Medicare providers should be part of any federal funding bill.

If you need help writing a personalized email, visit the ACA website for assistance - https://www.counseling.org/government-affairs/actioncenter

CONTACT SENATORS HOEVEN AND HEITKAMP AND REPRESENTATIVE CRAMER TODAY!!

Other Important Information:

H.R. 2745 was passed by the House of Representatives and it will now go to the Senate for Approval.  This bill called the Military Construction, Veteran’s Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2020 will provide funding for a number of VA and military programs.  This includes expansion of mental health benefits to National Guard and reserves; programs that will be encouraged to use cutting edge, off the shelf technology and pharmacy management to reduce suicide, relapse and hospital visits for veterans; directs the VA to maintain appropriate level of mental health staffing, specifically in rural areas; directs the VA to utilize alternative therapist, such as, chiropractic care, yoga, creative arts therapy, meditation and acupuncture to treat mental health issues among veterans; and additional funding to increase telehealth in rural and highly rural areas. 

S.2661 - the National Hotline Suicide Prevention Act was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 9-8-8 is the hotline’s designation. It was introduced this October with the overwhelming support of the ACA community. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act allows states to collect fees, such as those collected for the national 911 emergency hotline, and requires Congressional oversight to ensure successful outcomes and equitable access.

There has been no further updates on S. 286 in the SenateH.R. 945 in the House which would provide Medicare reimbursement for counselors.  Senator Cramer is a co-sponsor to this legislation.  Contact has been made with Senator Hoeven and Representative Armstrong’s office encouraging them to sign on as co-sponsors.  A plan is in place to meet with the Senator and Representative personally, or someone from their staff, in order to discuss the possibility of them signing on as co-sponsors.  Members are encouraged to make contact with these Congressional delegates to urge their support for this important legislation.