The Statewide Family and Consumer Networks Technical Assistance Center (FCN TA Center) has been working closely with SAMHSA funded Statewide Family and Consumer Network grantees in an effort to inform them about the many changes that are occurring as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Part of this work involved rolling out a number of different trainings and technical assistance products over the last few months for the Statewide Consumer Network grantees.

The FCN TA Center hosted a webinar focusing on ACA implementation that was presented by Dr. Ron Manderscheid, Executive Director of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors. The webinar provided grantees with an overview of the ACA and information about key features and developments.

Recognizing that many specifics related to the implementation of the ACA vary depending on state level decisions, the webinar was followed by several discussion groups that were designed to provide the grantees with more targeted information. The grantees were separated into groups based on the type of health insurance marketplace that their states were establishing. Some states decided to let the federal government facilitate their health insurance exchange, other states decided to facilitate it themselves, and in some cases it was decided that it would be a partnership effort. The discussion groups provided the grantees with an opportunity to ask questions specific to their geographic area, and gain relevant and useful information.

Dr. Ron Manderscheid also wrote a series of articles focusing on key features such as health insurance marketplaces, essential health benefits, and Medicaid expansion. The articles were distributed to the grantees with the intent that they would be used for educational purposes and general reference.

The grantees also had a chance to speak with Kevin Malone of SAMHSA Office of Policy Planning and Innovation and Trina Dutta of SAMHSA’s Primary and Behavioral Health Integration Initiative. These conversations were focused mainly on the important role that grantees can play in enrolling uninsured individuals in health insurance. One of the major goals was to help grantees understand how to best position themselves to apply for the Cooperative Agreement to Support Navigator Programs, a funding opportunity that was recently released to support the ACA implementation and related enrollment efforts.