Senate Finance Committee Releases Mental Health Integration Discussion Draft, PFS Final Rule Published


Join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for a webinar to kick-off the agency’s initiative to update to Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) certification criteria. SAMHSA is preparing to make minor revisions to the certification criteria based on new developments and lessons learned since introduction of the model in 2014. Agency officials will provide a brief overview of CCBHC history and describe the key elements which the agency is seeking input on. The webinar will be held November 9, 2022, at 4:00 PM ET. Join here!

Main Stories:

  • Senate Finance Committee Releases Discussion Draft of Mental Health Integration Legislation
  • Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule Published
  • New SAMHSA Screening Tool for Children

Senate Finance Committee Releases Discussion Draft of Mental Health Integration Legislation

The Senate Finance Committee released a discussion draft (analysis) of the mental health integration of care provisions to be included as a part of the Committee’s broader legislative effort to improve mental health care for Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Policy proposals within the discussion draft pertain to: increasing payments to certain providers for the integration of behavioral health; providing payments for mobile crisis response intervention services in Medicare; providing clarity on the eligibility for the participation of peer support specialists in furnishing behavioral health integration services in Medicare; integrating behavioral health care for treatment of mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) services in primary care; making the Medicaid state option to provide qualifying community-based mobile crisis intervention services permanent; requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to improve integration of behavioral health services; and more.

Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule Published

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final rule for the calendar year 2023 Physician Fee Schedule. The final rule includes provisions that will implement the temporary telehealth provisions established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, including delaying the in-person requirement and extending audio-only flexibilities for 151-days after the Public Health Emergency (PHE) expires. Notably, this rule expands access to SUD treatment by allowing Medicare to cover opioid use disorder (OUD) services furnished by opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and by utilizing telehealth services and mobile components to reach underserved areas. CMS also finalized its proposal to expand access to mental health services by allowing Medicare to indirectly reimburse certain practitioners including, but not limited to, marriage and family therapists and licensed professional counselors, under “incident to” billing practices.

New SAMHSA Screening Tool for Children

As part of SAMHSA’s new “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign to spread awareness about substance use prevention, a new screening tool Screen4Sucess helps parents and caregivers understand the wellbeing of their children. The tool, accessible through the “Talk. They Hear You.” app, proposes questions about mental and physical health, substance use, and general wellbeing. The tool helps caregivers identify potential areas children may need additional support, enabling opportunities to openly discuss challenges children are experiencing.


Sign-up for Advocacy Alerts! Are you interested in advocating for policies that expand access to mental health and substance use treatment services? Sign up for National Council advocacy alerts and become part of an engaged network of advocates advancing policy on the federal and state levels. Learn more about our current advocacy efforts here and follow us on Twitter at @NationalCouncil


MACPAC October 2022 Meeting. On October 27 and 28, the Medicaid Access and Payment Advisory Commission (MACPAC) convened for its monthly public meeting (summary). Commissioners discussed several topics, including monitoring the unwinding of the Public Health Emergency (PHE). The Commission agreed that data transparency is necessary to ensure that unwinding efforts are not negatively impacting Medicaid beneficiaries. Commissioners also voiced support for strategies related to access to health care, advancement of health equity, and improvements to providers’ experiences within the health care workforce.

Guest Author

Mollie Laird
Manager, Policy & Advocacy