October 4, 2021
The National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH) is hosting its 2021 annual meeting in person from Oct. 6–8 at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, D.C. This conference will be the organization’s first significant in-person gathering since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This particular iteration of the annual conference comes at an interesting time. The stress of the past year illustrates in a way that words cannot the vital role mental health care plays during times of crisis. NABH knows that robust behavioral health care is vital to achieving overall health and to stabilizing the foundations of society.
“Behavioral health is the most fractured of all healthcare disciplines, making an organization like NABH more than just valuable,” said Medsphere CEO Irv Lichtenwald.
“No other advocacy organization covers the entire continuum of behavioral health care, and NABH is the essential player in terms of improving the system on behalf of the country’s most vulnerable.”
Mental health is particularly an issue in lower-income communities. While 80 percent of those with mental health issues live in low- and middle-income countries, only 20 percent get any form of treatment, making mental illness and addiction public health emergencies that receive far too little attention. The NABH annual meeting seeks to change prevailing realities in the United States, a country with sufficient resources, while also identifying potential solutions that can be used in other societies.
Among the many potential solutions to be explored at NABH is public policy, namely the priorities for the 117th Congress. One item on the agenda is Medicaid’s Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion, which denies adult Medicaid recipients access to specialized behavioral health care in psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment facilities. While Medicaid coverage for specialized mental health care would further enrich many who already profit handsomely from human misfortune, it would also expand coverage for so many in need. This and other policy issues clearly illustrate that NABH participants have their work cut out for them.
A related policy concern for NABH is mental health parity, which legislation addressed many years ago but which still lacks the kind of enforcement that would improve compliance among insurance companies. In the organization’s pre-conference priorities for Congress document, NABH notes that inpatient out-of-network stays are greater than five times more likely for behavioral health than medical or surgical care.
The three-day conference will host a variety of sessions and meetings, including a new on-site advocacy session in the Grand Ballroom in place of the annual meeting’s traditional Hill Day.
NABH will not schedule congressional visits on Capitol Hill due to Covid-19 restrictions and limitations.
As an advocate for affordable behavioral health care, Medsphere provides interoperable, adaptable, and clinically effective solutions and services that enable responsive care for people with substance use and mental disorders. A multi-year financial backer of NABH’s annual meeting, Medsphere supports the policy goals and overall objectives of the organization and looks forward to collaborative relationships with care providers through tailored healthcare IT solutions and services.
When: November 6-8, 2021
Where: Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C.
Exhibitor Hours: Thursday, October 7 | 9:30 am – 10 am, 11:45 am – noon
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We look forward to seeing you in D.C.!
P.S. If you’re looking for fun things to do and see in Washington, D.C., click here.
Want to learn more about Medsphere’s solutions ahead of NABH? Schedule a meeting to learn how our healthcare IT solutions can transform your behavioral health organization.