With the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS):
We are working with SAMHS to create rules and regulations that both enhance service delivery and assure access across our state to quality, evidence based mental health and substance use treatment services.
Within the 128th Maine Legislative Session:
We are working with our Maine legislators to create legislation that will advance our mission and goals:
- Ensure access to quality, efficient and effective mental health and substance use services.
- Achieve positive system change in the public perception of mental health and substance use disorder.
- Support the delivery of services with a highly competent workforce.
This session we are working on the following bills (as well as speaking up about many others):
1 – Resolve, To Establish a Moratorium on Rate Changes Related to Certain Community Behavioral Health Services
LR. 1396, Prime Sponsor: Rep. Drew Gattine
- This bill is intended to continue the moratorium on any rate changes for Mainecare Sections 13, 17, 28 and 65 until the end of session.
- The legislature should have a chance to weigh in on the Burns & Associates rate study report as well as the currently submitted rate legislation.
2 – An Act to Support Substance Use Prevention, Treatment and Recovery
LR. 1783, Sponsor: Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center
This bill would set aside 10% of tax proceeds from the sale of Marijuana and Marijuana products in Maine to be spent on Substance Use Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. The Funds should be distributed through RFP/contract process through DHHS.
- Funding for prevention has been lost in the recent SAMHS Block Grant and is needed.
- Funding for treatment is inadequate to the demand of the opioid crisis and the number of uninsured that may be rising.
- Funding for recovery is needed to grow peer recovery supports as we move to creating the evidence based recovery oriented systems of care.
3 – An Act to Ensure Transparency in the Distribution of Federal Block Grant Funds
LR. 1498, Prime Sponsor: Rep. Erik Jorgensen
The DHHS shall submit to the legislature distribution plans for the distribution of any new federal block grant funds and changes to existing plans that reduce or remove currently approved services. After review, the legislature may approve or modify the allocation plans. Disbursement of the funds shall be made in accordance with the DHHS plans as approved or modified by the legislature. If the legislature is not in session, the plans will be referred to the committee of jurisdiction who must act within 60 days, and the Committee recommendations shall serve as the final approval of allocation to the DHHS.
- This bill is intended to ensure transparency and proper legislative oversight of the allocation of Federal block grant funding.
- Many states share the responsibility of oversight between the administration and the legislative branch.
- There have been movements of funding between programs that did not meet federal guidelines.
- Medicaid is a critical federal program that may be moving to block grant status.
4 – An Act to Ensure Access to Behavioral Health Services
LR. 1618, Prime Sponsor – Rep. Anne Perry
The Department shall increase the rate provided through MaineCare regulations to providers in Sections 13, 17, 23, 28, 65 and 97. Using FY 2007 as a baseline, the Department must adjust the funding in these sections of MaineCare law to assure that the net increase in funding from FY2007 shall be 20% by FY 2017 (which equates to the increase in Consumer Price Index). Beyond these changes, if there are significant changes to rates to be made in future, a Behavioral Health Oversight Commission will be established to review and assure continued access to quality services across the state.
- Funding for community based behavioral health and substance use disorder services has not kept pace with the Consumer Price Index. This has impacted the ability to provide adequate services.
- This bill would examine the rates and ensure a net rate increase of 20% (CPI for this period has gone up 21%). It would provide a cost of living adjustment in each biennial budget to keep pace with the CPI.
- This would provide a statutory rate review process to ensure proper funding for behavioral health services.
5 – An Act to Enhance Workforce Development for Behavioral Health and Substance Use Workers
LR. 1756, Prime Sponsor – Rep. Gay Grant
- This bill will assist with increasing the recruitment, development and retention of workers in the behavioral health and substance use disorder fields.
- Agencies are experiencing significant workforce issues: not able to find properly credentialed staff for the services they offer, high turnover and lots of overtime pay.
- In order to enhance the pipeline for advancement and development of a substance use disorder treatment workforce, this bill streamlines and clarifies the progression of licensure within the field of Alcohol and Drug Counselors.
- Current shortages are preventing the implementation and provision of key services and programs.
- Protecting the safety of employees, streamlining the licensing of professionals as well as additional, directed funding are intended to alleviate the workforce shortage.
6 – An Act to Coordinate Services and Support Workforce Development for Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Peer Recovery Services
LD 447, Sponsor: Senator Joyce Maker
This bill would provide funding for 2 statewide coordinators. One for a substance use prevention network and one for the statewide recovery community organization. It would also provide funding for an annual conference regarding substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery.
- Statewide prevention coordination was one of the Opiate Collaborative recommendations. There are many efforts within the state but the potential for overlapping services or gaps in service is great without coordination.
- Created in early 2000, the Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery (MAAR) has been the statewide recovery community organization that organizes people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction as well as recovery allies into a unified recovery presence within Maine. Maintaining MAAR was one of the Opiate Collaborative recommendations. Current funding ends in June 2017.
- The previously held annual Prevention Convention (started in 2007) has been de-funded. There is a need to continue and expand this conference to continue workforce development and assure best practices within the substance use field.
Within the 114th US Congress:
We are working with the National Council to promote public policies that support a strong addiction and mental health safety net. Our public policy agenda includes:
- Promoting federal initiatives that support public education on mental illness and addiction such as the Mental Health First Aid Act.
- Ensuring implementation and expansion of federal funding for community behavioral health organizations, as outlined in the Excellence in Mental Health Act.
- Promoting and funding financial resources and incentives to help states and local governments expand drug treatment, prevention and recovery efforts, as in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
- Preserving funding for other important behavioral health programs such as the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and other programs funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Working to ensure that behavioral health providers are eligible for health information technology incentives, as in the Behavioral Health IT Act.
- Protecting federal funding for Medicaid and protecting beneficiaries and providers.
- Ensuring behavioral health’s full inclusion in health reform implementation.