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Federal Advocacy

Contents


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AMTA Government Relations Department Updates 

updated 3/7/2022

AMTA’s Government Relations Department continues to closely monitor updated information about COVID-19/Coronavirus, from local, state, and national officials. 

On November 15, 2022 President Biden signed into law a $1 trillion Infrastructure bill that signifies the largest one-time federal investment in highways, bridges, mass transit, climate resilience and the expansion of high-speed internet access into rural and other underserved areas.  Provisions of the bill include but are not limited to:

  • $110 billion to repair aging highways, bridges and roads;
  • $39 billion to improve public transit and expand transportation systems;
  • $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, $5 billion for the purchase of electric school buses and hybrids;
  • $65 billion to improve the reliability and resiliency of the nation's power grid;
  • $25 billion to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals.
  • $55 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. The bill includes $15 billion to replace lead pipes and $10 billion to address water contamination

 

AMTA’s Government Relations Department continues to closely monitor updated information about Coronavirus from local, state, and national officials.  In addition, we will continue to share updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other reliable agencies providing information relevant to music therapy practice.  We will update information regularly.

Additional Resources

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and COVID – 19

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

US Department of Education (School Settings)
US Department of Labor (Workforce)

Additional Online Resources

NHPCO: Press Release on Hospice Telehealth

Joint Commission shares guidance and resources.

American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine is hosting free, live webinars with experts from the Tele-Medicine industry.

NAMM Foundation shares a number of music making webinars and resources.

Americans for the Arts has created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource and Response Center

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Special Education 

Highlights

  • Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) Appreciation Week 2021!

    2021 SISP Appreciation Week was April 25-30th.  As a members of the National Alliance for Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP), we take part in celebrating this week, and raising awareness about the important contributions of specialized instructional support personnel in helping students.

    As a part of 2021 SISP Appreciation Week, NASISP held a Congressional Briefing on April 28th titled, “The Value of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel in Improving School and Student Outcomes Post COVID-19”.  AMTA Board of Directors member, Natalie Generally Kirk, MMEd, LPMT, MT-BC, served as a panelist and highlighted music therapy services in the school setting.  SISP Appreciation Week is a yearly NASISP event highlighting Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) and the services they provide.

    2021 NASISP Briefing

SISP Awareness Week Congressional Resolutions were also passed both the House and Senate.

Resources

  • Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) guidance

            IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution in COVID-19 Environment Q&A Documents

            IDEA Part C Dispute Resolution in COVID-19 Environment Q&A Documents

            IDEA Part B - Service Provision 

 

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Rehabilitation/Habilitation 

  • Habilitation Coalition (HAB) – Technical Assistance for States to Update Design of EHB Packages for Rehabilitative and Habilitative Services and Devices

April 20, 2020

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires non-grandfathered health plans in the individual and small group markets to cover essential health benefits (EHB). All EHB-benchmark plans must cover the 10 mandated categories of benefits listed in the ACA. The ACA also requires defining EHB in a manner that (1) takes into account the health care needs of diverse segments of the population and (2) reflects appropriate balance among the 10 categories.

The Habilitation Coalition (HAB), promotes a unified voice on the contents of the federal guidance that states are using to make decisions involving EHB, particularly around habilitation benefits.  AMTA is an active member of HAB. Given the additional flexibility and options for states to select new EHB benchmark plans following the 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters final rule, HAB recently developed and submitted an EHB toolkit to all state governors and insurance commissioners.  The toolkit is designed to provide technical assistance to states regarding the essential health benefit category of “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.” Music therapy specifically listed as one of the many services to be included to ensure appropriate coverage of rehabilitative and habilitative services in EHB benchmark plans.

Find the toolkit here.

 


Veterans

  • The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019

The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-171), was enacted on October 17, 2020.  The Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase the services it provides for suicide prevention and mental health care and to collect and analyze medical data on veterans receiving mental health care from the department.  

Fact Sheet Available Here

  • New Qualification Standards from the Veterans Health Administration

As of June 9, 2019, all new music therapist hires for the Veteran’s Administration must be board certified as a MT-BC approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Specific knowledge, skills and abilities have been defined for GS-7 to GS-14.

New position levels above the Journey Level - Full performance GS 11, such as GS-12, have been defined to promote recognition of specialization in various areas of assignments.  Examples of additional certification in specialty treatment areas in music therapy include, but are not limited to: advanced improvisational music therapy, Bonny method of guided imagery and music (BM-GIM), neurological music therapy (NMT), creative music therapy, or in a directly related field, such as palliative care, dementia care, or substance abuse. Additional specialization examples include assignments such as: Clinical Education Coordinators; Program Coordinators; Lead Creative Arts Therapists; Supervisory Creative Arts Therapists, Assistant and Service Chief as well as Clinical Research Specialists. 

The VHA Handbook Part II, Appendix G60 new qualification standards will effectively benefit thousands of Veterans and their families by advancing the clinical services and competence level of the professional disciplines within the organization.  The conversion of the therapists to Hybrid Title 38 will ensure our Nation Veterans receive the highest level of specialized experience in clinical care and technology.