AMHCA Soldiers on Despite Congressional DisarrayBy James Finley, Associate Executive Director and Director of Public Policy
Congress is currently experiencing great disarray over legislation to fund ongoing government operations, raise the debt ceiling, and halt implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Given the difficulties and polarization over these major issues, the legislation on Medicare physician payment reform has stalled for the moment. This Medicare legislation would gradually phase down reliance on Medicare Part B’s fee-for-service payment model. Since this is likely to be the only Medicare bill considered this year, AMHCA and its coalition partners hope to attach our Medicare provider status bill (S.562) to the Senate version of the Medicare physician payment legislation.
The nation begins enrolling millions of uninsured Americans under the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 1, and the Obama administration is scurrying to put in place resources to assist in this enormous undertaking.
To Improve Veterans’ Mental Health Services
AMHCA is lobbying for S.1155, our legislation providing paid internships for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists within the Department of Veterans Affairs. We continue to receive a lot of support from House and Senate Congressional offices on this legislation, and we are optimistic that it may be enacted.
HIPAA Compliance Deadline
Lastly, AMHCA members should be aware that virtually all healthcare providers in the country reached new HIPAA compliance deadlines on Sept. 23. A Privacy Rule Primer is offered to the public by the American Psychological Association’s Practice Organization, and AMHCA members are encouraged to review it to understand the new requirements.