Federal FY2023 Omnibus Budget Bill Includes Behavioral Health Increases and Positive Policy Changes

December 23, 2022

The U.S. Senate will vote tomorrow on a $1.7 trillion package that would 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). A House of Representatives vote is expected in time for President Joe Biden to sign the bill Friday, which is when federal funding would run out under the current Continuing Resolution.

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

Mental Health:

  • $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.

More information on what is included in the Omnibus, such as relating to CCBHCs, Medicare telehealth flexibilities, provisions of interest to NJAMHAA members, and general provisions of broad interest, can be found NJAMHAA's full Omnibus budget summary, linked here.

As the Omnibus continues to move through the voting process in the Senate and House, there is still the possibility that some changes might occur, though major changes are not expected. NJAMHAA will report any significant changes, should they occur.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube
© NJAMHAA 2023 - powered by EggZack