Read all the latest LAC News, Blogs, Events and Highlights here.

NY Attorney General Finds Excellus Denied Claims for Inpatient Addiction Services at Seven Times the Rate of Other Services, Violating Parity Law

March 18, 2015 – NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Excellus Health Plan for wrongly denying addiction and mental health benefits to thousands of New Yorkers in violation of state and federal parity laws. The settlement requires Excellus—which is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and has 1.5 million members in upstate New York—to cover residential treatment for addiction and mental illness and overhaul its claims review process for these services. It also requires Excellus to provide notice of a new appeal right to 3,300 members whose claims for addiction and mental health services were previously denied. The new appeals could return up to $9 million to patients.

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LAC President and Former Drug Czar Urge Congress to Pass CARA, Expand MAT to Combat Heroin Epidemic

LAC Director and President Paul Samuels and Former U.S. Drug Czar and retired Army General Barry McCaffrey published an op-ed in The Hill last week calling on Congress to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA.

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New York Attorney General Finds ValueOptions Denied Claims for Addiction Services at Four Times the Rate of Other Services, Reaches Settlement Including $900,000 Fine

March 5, 2015 – New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Beacon Health Options (formerly known as ValueOptions) for wrongly denying addiction and mental health benefits to millions of New Yorkers in violation of state and federal parity laws. The settlement requires ValueOptions—which administers behavioral health benefits to 2.7 million New Yorkers and 45 million Americans—to overhaul its claims review process and pay a $900,000 penalty. The settlement against ValueOptions is the fourth reached by AG Schneiderman’s Health Care Bureau since last year, making AG Schneiderman’s office a national leader in enforcing the federal parity law.

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Improved Medication-Assisted Treatment Policy Could Aid Epidemic of 20 Million Americans with Untreated Addiction

CARA Bill Reintroduced by Whitehouse and Portman

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the reintroduction of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Legal Action Center (LAC) released a report today urging policymakers to take steps to address the growing opioid and heroin epidemic through more effective use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

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LAC Director of State Policy, Sebastian Solomon, Testifies at Budget Hearing

Albany, NY – February 25, 2015 – Sebastian Solomon, LAC’s new Director of New York State Policy, will be testifying tomorrow on behalf of the NYS Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) and Re-entry Coalition in response to the Governor’s FY2015-2016 Executive budget.

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Sebastian Solomon Promoted to LAC Director of New York State Policy

We are delighted to announce that Sebastian Solomon has been promoted to Director of New York State Policy at the Legal Action Center. Sebastian has been with LAC since 2001, most recently in the position of Policy Associate. Sebastian has fought tirelessly for the rights of New Yorkers for the past 14 years, and he will continue standing up for those in need of second chances in his new role.

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Federal Court Denies Motion to Dismiss LAC’s FCRA Class Action Lawsuit

New York, NY—On January 27, 2015, a federal court in New York ruled in favor of LAC’s client, Kevin A. Jones, by declining to dismiss Mr. Jones’ class action lawsuit against Halstead Management Company, LLC and other related companies for illegal criminal background screening practices that cost Mr. Jones a job as a doorman.

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LAC Welcomes Governor Cuomo’s 2015 Budget Proposals

NEW YORK, NY—January 28, 2015 –The Legal Action Center (LAC) today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposals to raise the age of criminal responsibility, improve linkages between the criminal justice and health care systems, and increase investment in addiction prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as other other reforms included in his 2015 budget.

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LAC Congratulates Tracie Gardner on her Appointment as the State’s Assistant Secretary of Health

The Legal Action Center bids the fondest of farewells to our wonderful Co-Director of Policy Tracie M. Gardner, who was just appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to be Assistant Secretary of Health.

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Legal Action Center Urges New York State to Take New and Bold Steps to Combat the Prescription Drug and Heroin Epidemic

New York State should take additional forceful, targeted actions to address the public health emergency of prescription drug and heroin dependence. “Using $298 million that has been allocated to its Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) for 2015, the State now has an opportunity to create even more momentum in its efforts to combat the scourge of addiction and prescription drug and heroin misuse,” according to Paul Samuels.

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