It has been nearly four weeks since the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a worldwide pandemic. In that period of time, our world, our country, and our addiction treatment community was made to adapt to an environment we have never before seen nor envisioned. It is necessary to acknowledge that the pandemic is devastating and will have a lasting impact. It is also necessary to say that reality is not broken, although it feels that way. Recognizing and accepting that which is allows us to assess and begin the recovery process. Then, as we recover, not if we recover, we will do so wisely, on mission, and as a community of providers.
The COVID-19 crisis did not obviate our national addiction crisis. It remains a monumental threat. Substance Use Disorder, if anything, is likely to increase during this period. Addiction is a disease of isolation. Recovery occurs in community. NAATP is dedicated to communicating these messages to the public, the payers, and the policymakers, together with the message that we are open for business and positioned to treat patients safely per professional industry guidelines.
On behalf of our treatment provider members, and in collaboration with our colleague organizations, we have effectively pushed Congress for relief under the CARES Act. Many of our members are applying for the relief available. The relief is clearly not enough, and we are at work speaking with Congress as it debates COVID phase 4 resources. NAATP’s member call to action and our members’ response produced results. Do not stop your calls now. Congress is reviewing the request for $38.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for direct payments to behavioral health organizations. This funding would help ensure we can remain operational during the pandemic. It would be available for those providing mental health and Substance Use Disorder treatment. Go to NAATP’s PPU here: Treatment Center Assistance Call to Action.
NAATP is strong and positioned to serve as the collective voice for our members; there is no fundamental change in our strategic direction. For this work to continue, we must stay together and stay members. We realize that provider revenue targets for the year are unlikely to be met, although centers are beginning to report stabilization in census. Please prioritize your NAATP membership, lest we lose our collective voice. Just as are yours, our staff is dedicated, resilient, and embracing this challenge, sometimes with talents we did not even know we had. In addition to policy advocacy, we continue our campaign to provide resources through our COVID Response Program that includes access to the COVID webinar series covering ongoing operational, clinical, and leadership sessions. Moving forward, we will also include sessions covering information that would have been included at NAATP National 2020, had we not been forced to cancel. Our core efforts, particularly the development of effective treatment informed by new research and data analysis, will not be stalled.
NAATP is its members. Thank you for your lifesaving dedication to your patients and your association. Until next time, please stay with us, stay open, and stay safe.