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

LAC to host Equal Justice Works fellow for opiate addiction project

The Legal Action Center (LAC) is excited to announce that we will be hosting an Equal Justice Works Fellow to launch a project that will expand access to opioid addiction treatment in the criminal justice system. The prospective fellow, Melissa Trent, is currently completing her third year at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. Her project will include legal services, education, and policy advocacy to increase the use of life-saving opioid addiction medication for people under criminal justice supervision.

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LAC President Quoted in USA Today, Calls for More Syringe Exchange, Prevention and Treatment

In the May 7 article Hepatitis C infections soaring, fueled by prescription painkiller abuse by Liz Szabo of USA Today, Legal Action Center’s Director and President Paul Samuels is cited for his call to expand access to needle exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. Samuels also calls for more substance use prevention and treatment, more medications to treat opioid addiction, and other harm reduction activities to combat the opioid epidemic and its consequences.

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Join Us for a National Call-In Day and Support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

Join the National Call-In Day on Wednesday, April 29 by calling your Senators and Representative in Congress and asking them to co-sponsor and support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

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New Report: Improved Medication-Assisted Treatment Policy Could Combat Epidemic of 20 Million Americans with Untreated Addiction

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the reintroduction of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Legal Action Center (LAC) released a report 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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HHS proposes rule to implement parity in Medicaid Managed Care, CHIP, and Alternative Benefit Plans

LAC welcomes the strong provisions of the proposed rule, including provisions that apply much of the final parity rule for commercial insurance to Medicaid, expressly extend parity protections to people enrolled in managed care plans that carve out coverage for addiction and mental health treatment, and authorize states to include funding in their state plans to come into compliance with parity that is not subject to state plan limits.

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LAC President Paul Samuels Discusses Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Addiction Blog Interview

The interview followed the release of LAC’s new report, “Confronting an Epidemic: The Case for Eliminating Barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment of Heroin and Opioid Addiction”. It includes a detailed discussion about the types of medications currently available for the treatment of opioid addiction, the barriers that exist that prevent people from receiving these life-saving treatments, and ways to expand access to MAT. It also reminds readers about the lives we can save by making these treatments more available.

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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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ACT NOW! CALL YOUR NYS LEGISLATOR AND ASK THEM TO SUPPORT FUNDING FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE/HEALTH LINK

New York Action Alert

Tell the New York State Legislature to Fund Efforts to Link the Criminal Justice System to Health Services!

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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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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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