Homeless Persons' Memorial Day, Build Back Better, CMS Telehealth, & more.
Homeless Persons' Memorial Day, Build Back Better, CMS Telehealth, & more.
Share this:
December 16, 2021 | Volume 25, No. 12 | Archives
Goodbye 2021,
Let's Build it Back Better (but for real) in 2022
In this Issue:
  • Build Back Better (Mediocre?) and Other Delays in Congress
  • Substance Use Disorder Treatment Advocacy
  • Planning for Another COVID Winter
  • CMS Updates Telehealth Guidance for FQHCs
  • The Council Submits Comments on USICH’s Strategic Plan
  • Honor Homeless Persons' Memorial Day on December 21
  • What We’re Reading
  • A Goodbye Message from Regina
Build Back Better (Mediocre?) and Other Delays in Congress
On November 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, H.R. 5376. While the $1.75 trillion legislation is a much scaled-back version of the original Build Back Better Framework, it includes major investments in health care, housing, education, jobs, climate, and other social programs. See a summary of key provisions for the HCH community in our latest fact sheet and more from CBPP on the health care expansions. The bill is now in the Senate and will be taken up at an undetermined time, unlikely to pass before the end of the calendar year. Thus, our advocacy continues in order to achieve the most robust health care expansions possible at this point (see more below). Congress remains behind on agreeing to Fiscal Year 2022 budget bills and has been operating under stopgap funding measures (continuing resolutions) since October 1, which are likely to continue through the beginning of 2022. Action on other important issues to the HCH community, such as mental health/addiction (note this includes the MAT Act—see below) are on the table, but have seen no substantive progress. Stay tuned to future Mobilizers for how to Take Action.
TAKE ACTION: Now that the Build Back Better Act passed in the House, the advocacy push is in the Senate. Find your U.S. Senator’s contact information and send their office an email or voice message telling them to pass the Build Back Better Act without any further cuts to programs or funding. As lawmakers debate the finer points of incremental changes, people experiencing homelessness continue to die on the streets. Reference our bill summary and letter to Congress on Build Back Better when crafting your message.
New Podcast on Build Back Better!
On the most recent episode of the Poverty Policy Podcast, our staff Barbara DiPietro and Courtney Pladsen teamed up with Benjamin Day and Gillian Mason at Healthcare-NOW! for a crossover episode with HC-NOW!’s Medicare For All podcast. This riveting, 45-minute discussion focuses on the Build Back Better bill, its potential impact on people experiencing homelessness, and the two organizations’ shared advocacy strategies to get our country towards a single-payer system. Listen, rate, and subscribe on SoundcloudApple, or Stitcher.
Substance Use Disorder Treatment Advocacy
A roundtable discussion with federal officials, Baltimore HCH staff, and patients to discuss barriers to substance use treatment.
This year, the CDC announced that more than 100,000 people died of overdose in the year ending in April 2021. Our advocacy continues for broader changes, such as those included in the MAT Act, which eliminates the X-waiver requirement to prescribe buprenorphine. This legislation recently surpassed the mile-marker of 200 co-sponsors in the House.
NEW RESOURCE: Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder for People Experiencing Homelessness. Check out our new fact sheet showing the outsized impact that HCH programs have regarding the provision of MAT services.
This month, we also celebrate New York City becoming the first U.S. city to open an authorized Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), a proven and effective harm-reduction approach to reducing overdose deaths and connecting drug users to health care services. We are eagerly awaiting the Biden Administration’s response to this development, especially in light of their new commitment to harm reduction approaches to reduce overdose deaths. The Biden Administration has until January 5 to indicate a position.
Two Ways to TAKE ACTION on the MAT Act in under five minutes! 1) Organizations and individuals are invited to join the Council in signing on in support of the MAT Act. Thanks to our partners at End Substance Use Disorder for organizing this effort. 2) Check the list of over 200 co-sponsors on the bill in the House and contact us at bdipietro@nhchc.org if your representative isn’t on the list so we can ask them to join. As you're advocating for increased access to substance use treatment, be sure to use numbers from our new MAT Fact Sheet.
Vaccinations Among PEH & Planning for Another COVID Winter
It is disheartening but not surprising that the latest CDC MMWR report on vaccination rates for people experiencing homelessness is lower than for people in the broader community (ranging from 22% to 52% with at least one dose). Learn more about what’s in the report, winter planning, booster shots, vaccine mandates, and other emerging issues related to COVID-19 in the biweekly COVID-19 Flash Blast.
CMS Updates Telehealth Guidance for FQHCs
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services released an updated State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit: Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth, Supplement #1, stating that states' ability to cover audio-only telehealth services will continue to be available after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends.
The Council Submits Comments on USICH’s Strategic Plan
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness is in the process of creating a new Federal Strategic Plan to prevent and end homelessness. As part of this process, USICH collected feedback from individuals and organizations. The Council coordinated a listening session with USICH and members of the HCH community and submitted a corresponding letter of recommendations highlighting the need for single-payer health care (or at least expanded Medicaid and Medicare coverage), the importance of medical respite care, the health dangers of sweeping encampments, and many other critical issues.
Honor Homeless Persons' Memorial Day on December 21
On December 21, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, we honor Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day (HPMD). Visit the HPMD landing page to find a social media toolkit, updated Organizing Manual, and other resources to create a meaningful experience in your community. If you are holding an HPMD event, please register your event here. If you have any questions about organizing an event, please reach out to Katherine Cavanaugh, Consumer Advocacy Manager, at kcavanaugh@nhchc.org.
What We're Reading
A Goodbye Message from Regina
After five exciting, challenging, and inspiring years with the Council, I am moving on. Upon reflection on the dozens of Mobilizer editions I’ve authored since 2016, a few rise to the top. Some of my favorite pieces include the heartening interview with the National Immigration Law Center on Creating a Safe Space Is Advocacy, and the so-bad-it’s-now-funny coverage of Trump’s White House Journey on Homelessness. On the other hand, it is tough to look back and see that since I started this job issues such as the opioid epidemic and homeless mortality have only grown. What stays consistent is the energy and passion of people in the HCH Community. I am so grateful for my time with the Council, and I leave knowing the Good Fight is in Good Hands with all of you.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a healthy New Year!

Did you receive Mobilizer as a forwarded email or hear about it via social media? Register now to receive our action alerts each month!
Sign Up for Mobilizer
Regina Reed, MPH
Health Policy Manager
National HCH Council
Baltimore, MD
(443) 703-1337 
This publication and all HCH advocacy are funded by dues from Organizational Members of the Council and by private donations. Consider joining the Council to support this work.
604 Gallatin Ave., Suite 106 | Nashville, TN 37206 US
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.