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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps 6312news2
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Copyright © American Psychiatric Association

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MHA reports on impact of sequestration: An analysis conducted by Mental Health America (MHA) demonstrates the severe impacts that “sequestration” would have on programs and services. Sequestration, which makes automatic budget cuts to federal programs, was a provision of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which directed a bipartisan committee to find $1.2 trillion in savings over ten years. Because the committee failed to find a compromise, automatic cuts of between 8% and 11% will take effect on January 2, 2013, unless Congress finds a way to avoid sequestration. The MHA analysis, which assumed a 10% cut to all Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration programs and to other agencies, found that 684,000 persons will lose employment and housing assistance, case management services, and school-based supports and 1.13 million children and adults will be at risk of losing access to any type of public mental health support. Cuts to the National Institutes of Health budget would equal more than the entire combined budgets of the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the sequestration could eliminate 2,300 new and ongoing research grants. Cuts to the Centers for Disease Control would equal more than half the funds it spent last year on all chronic disease prevention and health promotion. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality would experience cuts that equal 62% of all funding for investigator-initiated research grants for quality, effectiveness, and efficiency research. The full report is available on the MHA Web site at www.nmha.org/go/federal-budget-advocacy.

KCMU reports examine efforts to better integrate care for “dual eligibles”: Several new resources from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) examine the joint efforts of states and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop more integrated ways of delivering health care to the nine million people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The dually eligible population includes the poorest and sickest Americans and accounts for a disproportionately large share of Medicare and Medicaid spending. As an outgrowth of the Affordable Care Act, CMS is reviewing proposals from more than two dozen states to test two new models to align Medicare and Medicaid benefits and financing for dually eligible beneficiaries with the goal of delivering better coordinated care and reducing costs. Two new reports provide an overview of these efforts (www.kff.org/Medicaid/8368.cfm) and review the 26 states’ proposals (www.kff.org/medicaid/8369.cfm), and a third looks specifically at Massachusetts, the first state to reach a formal agreement with CMS to test one of the new models (www.kff.org/Medicaid/8291.cfm).

KCMU chartbook details state-level variation in Medicaid spending: To participate in Medicaid, states must meet core federal requirements. However, states have significant flexibility to expand beyond program minimums for benefits and coverage, to determine how care is delivered, and to decide how much providers are paid and how they are paid. As a result, there is significant state-by-state variation in Medicaid programs. To improve understanding of Medicaid’s role in state budgets and the potential implications of federal changes, the Kaiser Family Foundation's KCMU has developed a 46-page chartbook that provides an overview of key factors contributing to this variation. Included are state-level data to address five questions: What is the revenue available to a state to pay for public services? How does the demand for such services differ across states? What is the variation in health care markets across states? What Medicaid policy choices have states made? How does the budget and policy process affect Medicaid spending? The report is available on the KCMU Web site at www.kff.org/medicaid/8378.cfm.

Updated SAMHSA directory of substance abuse treatment programs: An updated guide to finding local substance abuse treatment programs is available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Programs 2012 provides information on more than 11,000 public and private drug and alcohol treatment programs and facilities that are licensed, certified, or otherwise approved by substance abuse agencies in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four U.S. territories. It provides information on levels of care and types of facilities, including programs for adolescents, persons with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant women. Information is available on forms of payment accepted, special language services, and whether methadone or buprenorphine therapy is offered. The updated directory complements SAMHSA’s Web-based Treatment Services Locator. This electronic, searchable version of the directory is available on SAMHSA’s Web site at FindTreatment.samhsa.gov. Hard copies of the directory may be obtained free of charge by calling 1-877-726-4727 (inventory number SMA12-4675).

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