White House briefing provides health care leaders overview of issues and challenges

APA’s chief executive joined other organization leaders and senior officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the White House Behavioral Health Leaders Briefing.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and mental health and substance abuse treatment parity were among the issues that APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, addressed with senior government officials at a White House briefing on Sept. 24.

“I was impressed by the breadth and depth of activities across government agencies, especially the emphasis on eliminating the barriers to care and removing the artificial separation of mental and physical health care in order to foster truly integrated health care," said Anderson. "The White House meeting was a wonderful opportunity to learn about many of the activities of the administration including the Department of Health and Human Services in advancing the treatment and prevention of mental and substance use disorders and to look for opportunities for APA members to be a part of those programs.”

A Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) $10 million grant program to provide behavioral health training for those working with vulnerable populations was one new initiative highlighted. Officials also stressed that health-focused organizations should continue to make government agencies aware of any barriers to implementing the ACA, such as some states misinterpreting or ignoring rules about treatment.

Others at the event were: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; HRSA Deputy Administrator Marcia Brand, PhD; HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Donald Moulds, PhD; National Economic Council Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy Elizabeth Fowler, PhD, JD; and the leaders of the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and Mental Health America.

APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, at the White House

APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, at the White House