• Need-to-Know News: May 13, 2011

    May 13, 2011

    Headlines on Our Issues

    State

    • The misuse of prescription pain medication by New York City residents 12 and older increased by 40 percent from 2002 to 2009, according to a new report released by the city’s Health Department.
    National

    • The battle over healthcare reform moved to the appellate court in Virginia, in the first of four cases scheduled for appellate hearings in the next five weeks.
    • In a medical breakthrough on HIV transmission, a clinical trial has shown that people infected with the virus are far less likely to infect their sexual partners if they are put on treatment immediately.
    • The U.S. House-adopted plan to convert Medicaid into a block grant would trigger major reductions in program spending and enrollment compared to current projections, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
    • Amid a search to replace the recently retired director of the federal Bureau of Prisons, the American Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have written to Attorney General Eric Holder to ask for a broader search. Their letter also stresses the importance of moving forward with reforms aimed at reducing the nation's incarcerated population.
    • In a turn toward openness, many more members of Alcoholics Anonymous are challenging the long-held emphasis on anonymity.
    • Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly (subscription required) reports that a group of federal legislators, led by Representatives Paul D. Tonko and John Sullivan and Senator Al Franken, wrote to the Obama administration to request further guidance on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. In their letter, the lawmakers wrote that allowing the law to be implemented without further guidance on scope of service, disclosure of medical criteria, and non-quantitative treatment limitations increases the likelihood that plans would continue to offer only limited behavioral health benefits, according to ADAW.
    • In Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels signed second chance legislation that will allow individuals with criminal records to ask the court to restrict access to those records after eight years.
    • Oklahoma's governor signed a bill this week that expands the state's use of community sentencing programs and the electronic monitoring of low-risk, nonviolent individuals as alternatives to incarceration.
    • The WebMD website has selected addiction experts from the Betty Ford Center to serve as the panel of experts providing information in its Substance Abuse Community.

    From Our Partners

    • Facing devastating budget cuts, Staten Island’s Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) may have to close its doors in June.
    • The Addiction Treatment Providers Association (ATPA) and the New York Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals (NYADTCP) are accepting proposals for presentations at their 8th annual conference, titled "Criminal Justice And Treatment: A Partnership In Changing Times," happening Dec. 2 in Brooklyn. The deadline for submissions is June 3, so sign up now!
    • New Yorkers are invited to a series of public forums on the design of New York’s Health Insurance Exchange, happening all over the state in the coming weeks, starting with an Albany meeting on May 16.