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Readers Write: 2024 Regulatory Changes and their Impact

December 20, 2023 Readers Write No Comments

2024 Regulatory Changes and their Impact
By Vatsala Kapur

Vatsala Kapur, MA, MPAff is VP of external affairs for Bamboo Health of Louisville, KY.

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Change is on the horizon. This adage has always been true for the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, especially with the introduction of new federal and state policy and regulations.

As we step into the 2024 election cycle, we expect to see additional changes across the behavioral health realm in particular. Policymakers are implementing various financial penalties and incentives to increase accountability in expanding behavioral health access. These changes open a window of opportunity for organizations that are ready and willing to rise to the challenge of addressing our country’s behavioral health crisis.

Let’s delve into just a few of the dozens of changes that are aimed at improving healthcare delivery for our most vulnerable populations that may impact your organization in the new year.

  • DHHS establishes disincentives for healthcare providers that engage in information blocking. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) established disincentives for healthcare providers that are involved in information blocking. These disincentives include penalties of up to $394,000 for hospitals and $686 for individual clinicians who fail to share patient data upon request, underscoring the importance of data transparency. For organizations that are hindered by outdated systems, adopting real-time data systems integrated into daily workflows becomes a regulatory necessity and a pathway to improved patient outcomes.
  • Introduction of the Rehabilitation and Recovery During Incarceration Act. If enacted, the Rehabilitation and Recovery During Incarceration Act represents a pivotal shift, allowing Medicaid to finance behavioral health treatment for eligible individuals in criminal justice settings. Effectively addressing the needs of justice-involved populations is crucial for hospitals and clinicians aiming to provide comprehensive treatment at all points of care.
  • SAMSHA releases $74.4 million in funding opportunities. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) plans to inject $74.4 million into the healthcare ecosystem through grants that target behavioral health challenges. These diverse grants aim to prevent substance use initiation, reduce the progression of substance use, and address other concerns along the health continuum. Notably, partnerships that focus on reducing substance use disorder prevalence through collaboration, each valued at $15.5 million, hold the potential to not only address behavioral health issues, but also expand access in rural areas.
  • CMS shares notice of funding opportunity with the All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development (AHEAD) model. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is set to collaborate with states through the AHEAD model, which is designed to curb healthcare cost growth, improve population health, and advance health equity. Increased investment in primary care is a critical element of this initiative, aiming to reduce emergency department burdens and better integrate behavioral and physical health. With a focus on value-based care, the CMS model plans to bolster primary care physicians as the first point of contact for behavioral health issues, thereby reducing the downstream effects of overburdened hospitals.

As federal and state governments focus on the significant behavioral health issues that are facing communities across the country, regulatory changes and evolving funding opportunities will continue to strengthen the ability of clinicians and health systems to address the needs of their patients and communities. By fostering a resilient and responsive healthcare ecosystem, we can collectively rise to the challenges ahead.



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