There’s only one day in Congress where members actually get along and everyone seems to be in a great mood; Swearing-In day. This is a day where both Senators and Representatives put aside political bickering and celebrate what they love most, winning and the end of long and exhausting days on the campaign trail. On January 3rd the ANA Government Affairs (GOVA) team welcomed the 113th Congress by attending several open house events which honored newly elected members on Capitol Hill.
The end of 2012 brought some good news for providers of mental health services. Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that included language to allow P-APRNs to do PTSD pre-separation medical examination. Additionally new coding and reimbursement policies will allow providers to get paid for psychiatric/mental health services.
Implementation of the health insurance exchanges (Exchange), a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, is less than nine months away. The deadline for notifying the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) as to the proposed design of a state health insurance exchange is history. Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia (DC) have received conditional approval from HHS to run their own Exchange. Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Washington. If not planning to operate a state based exchange, states have until February 15th to notify HHS of the desire for a state-federal partnership. Arkansas and Delaware have already been conditionally approved for the partnership model as others wait to hear. Any states not having submitted a request to HHS for either of the two models will be subject to a federally run Exchange with the ability to amend their decision in the future. Regardless of the decision as to the type of Exchange, there remains allot of work yet to do by all involved parties.
The Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, issued November 1, and effective January 1, 2013, could have a major impact for many RNs and APRNs, especially those working in primary care and care coordination. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved new CPT codes and payments for transitional care management and complex chronic care coordination. ANA represents the nursing profession for the CPT Editorial Panel and the RUC (Relative Value System Update Committee), and we helped develop and value these codes.
On January 1, 2013, new coding and reimbursement policies go into effect for many psychiatric/mental health services. Many services will be paid at higher levels.The new policies recognize the challenges of caring for patients with severe mental illness, multiple co-morbidities and complex medications, in community settings as well as hospitals and other inpatient facilities. his is great news for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), psychiatric registered nurses (RNs), and other mental health providers.
As the newly sworn in 113th Congress settles into their freshly painted offices, starts hanging pictures on the walls, and fills out their staffs; those in and out of Washington ponder what the 113th will accomplish by the end of the next two years.