Legislative Priorities 2022
HB 2091 & SB 5952 – Close the Tax Preference for Pharmaceutical Warehouse Distributors & Fund
Substance Use Disorder Outreach & Recovery Services
Pharmaceutical warehouse distributors (companies that sell large batches of drugs, including opioids, to
pharmacies) are given special treatment in our tax code. They receive a discount on the business and
occupation tax that other businesses have to pay in full. That tax break increases the profits of these
multi-billion dollar companies, while the state loses nearly $20 million each year in potential funding for
much needed behavioral health services. The economic reason that led to the creation of this tax
preference is no longer valid.
Specifically, the increased revenue from closing this tax preference would be allocated to addiction
recovery services that are not reimbursable by Medicaid or commercial insurance—the outreach services
that help get people into treatment and the recovery support services that help people remain in long-term
recovery after treatment.
HB 1865 – Peer Professional Certifications
Peer support services are extraordinarily effective at helping people in their recovery journeys. Peers are
people in recovery from addiction or mental health conditions who receive training to work with individuals
who are presently struggling with similar challenges. Currently, behavioral health peers are not a
recognized profession by the Department of Health. Creating a peer certification under DOH is a critical
component to address our behavioral health workforce crisis. Peers are the only behavioral health
profession where we have a surplus, rather than a shortage, of willing workers. Creating a peer
certification would allow people with private insurance to access peer services for the first time. It would
also allow insurance billing for peer services delivered in other settings such as emergency departments,
primary care, and urgent care. Furthermore, it would create a career pathway for peers and improve the
quality of peer services through uniform standards and continuing education.
7% Increase in Medicaid Reimbursement Rates for Behavioral Health Care
For the first time in state history, our community behavioral health agencies are putting people on waitlists
for outpatient care. Community behavioral health agencies are unable to pay competitive wages, resulting
in high turnover and inexperienced providers serving clients with the highest needs. Providers simply do
not have enough staff. Raising Medicaid rates will allow community behavioral health agencies to offer
competitive salaries and to retain and recruit experienced providers to meet the crisis at hand.