State Issues with Pending Legislation
- Statuses are as of February 21, 2023.
- Please also see NJAMHAA’s current campaign, Diverse Faces: Partners in Care.
- To check the current status of any state legislation, you may search by bill number, title, sponsor, key word and more on the New Jersey Legislature’s homepage
A.2181: Requires DOLWD to identify and recruit unemployed individuals for employment in health care facilities; makes appropriation.
Latest Action: 2/7/22 referred to AHE.
A.4615: Requires State to foster development and implementation of graduate medical education programs in behavioral health care.
Latest Action: 12/12/22 referred to AHE
A.4619: Codifies and extends authorization for certain out-of-State health care practitioners and recent graduates of health care training programs to practice in New Jersey.
Latest Action: 9/22/22 referred to ARP
Latest Action: 10/3/22 referred to SHH; 12/8/22 referred to AAP
S.3156/A.4621: Requires issuance of report on certain information and data on processing of applications for professional and occupational licenses and mandates review of training and call intake in Division of Consumer Affairs.
Latest Action: 9/22/22 referred to ARP; 10/3/22 referred to SCM
Latest Action: 2/7/22 referred to AHE; 12/15/22 reported from SHH.
- NJAMHAA is working with sponsors on amendments regarding the signing of screening certificates.
Latest Action: 6/9/22 referred to AHU; 6/23/2022 referred to SBA.
S.2668/A.508: Establishes annual cost of living adjustment based on Consumer Price Index for programs providing mental health, substance use treatment, or services to persons with developmental disabilities.
Latest Action: 10/6/2022 referred to SBA; 1/11/2022 referred to AHU.
- NJAMHAA submitted testimony in favor of S.2668.
Latest Action: 6/16/2022 Passed the Assembly; 6/20/2022 referred to STR.
Latest Action: 10/20/22 referred to AWC; 11/7/22 referred to SHH.
Latest Action: 6/6/22 referred to SBA; 12/8/22 reported out of AHU.
- NJAMHAA submitted a slip in support to AHE (Assembly Health Committee) 10/13/22.
Latest Action: 1/11/22 referred to SJU; 9/29/22 referred to AHU.
Latest Action: 10/31/22 referred to SHH; 12/15/22 passed by the Assembly
– NJAMHAA submitted a slip in support to Assembly Housing Committee (AHO) 10/13/22.
H.R.2617 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023
Congress has approved and President Biden has signed into law a $1.7 trillion package that will fund the federal government through September 30, 2023. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (H.R. 2617, which is more than 4,000 pages) is known more simply as the Omnibus Budget Bill (Omnibus).
The following bills affecting mental health and substance use treatment service delivery and reimbursement, which have long been priorities of NJAMHAA, with advocacy spanning several years, were included in the Omnibus:
- Mental Health Access Improvement Act: Provides for coverage of marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under Medicare.
- Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act: Increases access to medication assisted treatment by eliminating the separate registration requirement for dispensing narcotic drugs in Schedule III, IV, or V (such as buprenorphine).
- Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act: Boosts substance use disorder (SUD) training for healthcare providers and helps standardize prescriber education practices.
For highlights of funding for mental health and SUD services in the Omnibus, the following lists are excerpted from the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ summary of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies’ portion of the Omnibus bill:
Opioids & Substance Misuse:
The bill provides approximately $4.9 billion to address opioid abuse, an increase of more than $345 million above fiscal year 2022 levels. This funding includes:
- Nearly $1.6 billion to states to address the opioid epidemic through the State Opioid Response Grant program, which is a $50 million increase over fiscal year 2022
- A $100 million increase for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant
- $111 million for medication assisted treatment
- $505 million for opioid overdose surveillance and prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- $80 million to address the needs of children affected by the opioid crisis
- $145 million to help affected rural communities combat the opioid epidemic
- $385 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC), a $70 million increase over fiscal year 2022
- $1.01 billion for the Mental Health Block Grant to provide mental health treatment services and support community mental health services, a $150 million increase
- $20 million, a $10 million increase, to expand a pilot program for crisis response
- $501.6 million in fiscal year 2023 funding—a nearly $400 million increase—for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline to successfully transition to 988, which includes $7 million to continue the Behavioral Health Crisis and 988 Coordinating Office at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- $130 million for children’s mental health services, a $5 million increase
- $140 million, a $20 million increase, for Project AWARE [Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education], which will expand efforts to identify and help children and youth in need of mental health care, including through addressing the needs of children who have experienced trauma
- The bill also invests $111 million for Department of Education programs designed to increase the availability of mental health services in schools, including by expanding training programs to prepare new school counselors, social workers, and psychologists.
The National Council for Mental Wellbeing has noted that the CCBHC funds in the Omnibus (noted above) are on top of the already expanded CCBHC demonstration program through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The National Council also shared that the following are in the Omnibus:
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery (STAR) Loan Repayment Program: $40 million toward educating and training SUD professionals
- Parity: Authorizes $10 million for grants to states to support parity enforcement.
- Expansion of Peer Specialists within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): Creates a $13 million program to increase outreach and education about peer specialists, expands virtual peer support platforms and makes a program permanent for hiring at least two peer specialists at every VA primary care facility
The Omnibus includes a section that provides a two-year extension of the following Medicare telehealth flexibilities through December 31, 2024:
- Removing geographic requirements and expanding originating sites
- Expanding practitioners eligible to furnish telehealth services
- Expanding telehealth services for federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics
- Delaying the in-person requirements under Medicare for mental health services furnished through telehealth and telecommunications technology
- Allowing for the furnishing of audio-only telehealth services
- Requiring a study on telehealth and Medicare program integrity
Some additional provisions in the Omnibus that NJAMHAA members will find of interest include:
- A five-year investment with historic funding levels for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
- Expansion of the Medicare Graduate Medical Education program that helps train doctors in residency (for which half of new funding will go towards training psychiatrists) and supports nursing school programs
- Guarantee that every child in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (40 million children nationwide) will have 12 months of continuous, stable coverage when they enroll
- Provides U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs with $61.8 billion, or $8.1 billion more than FY22-enacted levels —The details of all of the housing program increases may be found in this analysis by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Lastly, here are a few of the more general provisions included in the Omnibus that are of broad interest:
- Election reforms to prevent another January 6th incident
- Policy prohibiting Tik Tok on government devices
- $858 billion in defense funding
- $45 billion in funding for Ukraine
- $41 billion in funding for communities recovering from natural disasters like drought, hurricanes, flooding, and wildfire
- The pandemic preparedness package that was negotiated, but not passed earlier this year
The following bills are yet to be reintroduced in the 118th Congress.
Medicaid Reentry Act of 2021
This bill allows Medicaid payment for medical services furnished to incarcerated individuals during the 30-day period preceding their release.
Promoting Effective and Empowering Recovery Services in Medicare Act of 2021 [PEERS Act of 2021]
This bill specifies that peer support specialists may participate in the provision of behavioral health integration services with the supervision of physicians or other entity under Medicare.
Behavioral Health Crisis Services Expansion Act
This bill establishes requirements, expands health insurance coverage, and directs other activities to support the provision of behavioral health crisis services along a continuum of care; as well as expands health insurance coverage for behavioral health crisis services, and the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant to assist states and territories with developing the infrastructure to provide crisis response services.
Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021
The bill would provide $200 million in competitive grants for public schools nationwide to partner with local mental health professionals to establish comprehensive mental health services for students.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act of 2021
This bill expands the requirements for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Program, requiring the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to: (1) develop a plan to ensure the provision of high-quality service, (2) strengthen data-sharing agreements to facilitate the transmission of epidemiological data from the program to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and (3) implement a pilot program focused on using other communications platforms (e.g., social media and texting) for suicide prevention.
Virtual Peer Support Act of 2021
Under the bill, SAMHSA would receive $50 million to make grants to eligible organizations to implement new, virtual peer support programs and to expand existing online services to meet community needs.
Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021
This bill would provide a narrow exemption from the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion to ensure children in foster care receiving care in qualified residential treatment programs can continue to receive care provided in these settings without losing their federal Medicaid coverage.
Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2021
This bill expands coverage of telehealth services under Medicare. Among other provisions, the bill: allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to waive certain restrictions, such as restrictions on the types of technology that may be used; permanently removes geographic restrictions on originating sites and allows the home of each beneficiary to serve as the originating site for all services; permanently allows federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics to serve as the distant sites (i.e., the locations of the healthcare practitioners); and allows CMS to generally waive coverage restrictions during any public health emergency.
Permanency for Audio-Only Telehealth Act
This bill expands coverage of telehealth services under Medicare, removing geographic restrictions on originating sites.
Telemental Health Care Access Act of 2021
This bill removes the requirement that Medicare beneficiaries must have been seen in person by their providers within the prior six months in order to receive services via telehealth.
Tele-Mental Health Improvement Act
The bill requires employer-sponsored healthcare plans to cover tele-behavioral healthcare services at the same pay rate as those services provided in person.
Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2021
This bill modifies the extension of certain Medicare telehealth flexibilities after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.