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Congress Passes NAATP Priorities this Week

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The US House of Representatives passed NAATP priorities this week as they address opioid/substance use disorder legislation.

Among the numerous bills considered by Congress was legislation affirming that the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity) applies to the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This vote clarifies a potential oversight and is the latest vote confirmation that Congress continues to support Parity.

Also passed was legislation eliminating the IMD exclusion for Medicaid patients with opioid or cocaine use disorder. If it becomes law, this provision would allow treatment facilities to accept those patients regardless of the state’s waiver status. To date, 11 states have applied for waivers from this antiquated limitation. Although the language in this bill does not go as far as NAATP would like, we will make the case to expand to all substance use disorders when these bills go to conference with the Senate version.

The House also handily passed a bill to move patients covered by 42 CFR part 2 to HIPAA with enhanced disclosure penalties. NAATP believes it’s important to move SUD treatment into the mainstream of health care, and this was an important step. Patient confidentiality is critical, and the enhanced penalties contained in the bill for unauthorized disclosure should ensure that.

With concerns regarding quality assurance, the House also passed requirements that HHS develop best practices for sober living homes. We will follow this rulemaking process closely in conjunction with NAATP’s Quality Assurance Initiative (the QAI).

NAATP is pleased with the bi-partisan actions taken by the US House of Representatives. We await action by the Senate and will actively advocate for our priorities during the House-Senate conference process.

Mark Dunn
NAATP Director of Public Policy
Washington, DC