Our Philosophy

    Integration of behavioral and physical health is critical to treat the whole person and enhance a practitioner's ability to effectively prevent fragmentation between behavioral health and medical care, and improve overall quality of care.

    The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness member companies bring substantial expertise and valuable capabilities to the current focus on integration, including robust knowledge and experience with mental health and substance use disorders; a person-centered focus on recovery; strong informatics and data analytics; and familiarity with preventative and collaborative models of care.

    ABHW supports policies and regulations that ensure specialty behavioral health organizations (BHOs) can continue to increase quality, manage costs, and promote wellness for the 175 million people served by our members.

Health Care Reform

Behavioral health is an integral part of whole health and a critical part of the costs of the health care system. In January 2017, approximately 1.8 million of the 21 million people covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were receiving mental health (MH) services and subsidies; approximately 1.25 million people with serious mental disorders, and about 2.8 million Americans with a substance use disorder (SUD).

ABHW supports the following provisions that ensure persons with MH/SUD maintain comprehensive coverage for medically necessary services: 1) Continuing coverage, including comprehensive behavioral health benefits, for individuals currently eligible for Medicaid and Medicaid expansion; 2) Inclusion of MH/SUD as a covered benefit; and 3) Requiring financial and treatment limits to be comparable between behavioral and physical health.


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Medicare and Medicaid

Medicaid accounts for about 26 percent of behavioral health spending and is the largest source of funding for the country’s public mental health system. One in five individuals out of Medicaid’s nearly 70 million patients have a MH/SUD diagnosis. The Medicaid expansion program has provided coverage to persons with MH/SUD who might not otherwise had access to care; and it has led to significant increases in coverage and access to service, better care and state savings.

ABHW supports policies that ensure access to medically necessary, evidence-based behavioral treatment for the Medicaid population going forward.


To view ABHW archives click here.


Opioid Epidemic

Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2015 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid. BHOs play an important role in access to and delivery of treatment for opioid dependence.

ABHW works with Congress, federal agencies, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, and other organizations to enact and improve policies that will help address the opioid epidemic.


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The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) requires group health plans and insurers that offer mental health and substance use disorder benefits to provide coverage that is comparable to coverage for general medical and surgical care.

ABHW member companies have long believed that it is important for financial and treatment coverage in health insurance policies to be equal between behavioral and physical medical health care.

ABHW was a strong advocate for passage of MHPAEA and remains critically involved with its member companies and regulators in the implementation of this landmark legislation.


To view ABHW archives click here.


Privacy and Confidentiality

The Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations, 42 CFR Part 2, was designed to facilitate health integration and information exchange within new health care models while continuing to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patients seeking treatment for substance use disorders.

ABHW members advocate for alignment of substance use disorder privacy protections with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for the purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations in an effort to provide patients safe, coordinated, and informed care.

ABHW is the founder and chair of the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 (Partnership). The Partnership is a coalition of more than 35 organizations representing stakeholders from across the health care spectrum committed to aligning Part 2 with the treatment, payment, and health care operations language in HIPAA in order to ensure appropriate access to patient information that is essential for providing whole-person care.


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Expanding access to telehealth services is a priority for ABHW and its member companies. Telehealth services have been proven to drive important advancements for patients, expand access to care, improve health outcomes, reduce the inappropriate use of psychotropic medications, overcome the stigma barrier, and cut costs. Given that approximately 25 percent of the adult population in the United States is reported to have a mental illness, and the fact that there is a growing shortage of behavioral health providers to respond to this significant need for service, the expansion of telehealth is critical.

The rising opioid crisis in our country provides even more reason to grant appropriate access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Now more than ever, the U.S. government is looking to expand and improve access to telebehavioral health services. The CONNECT for Health Act and the CHRONIC Care Act are just two examples of federal bills that ABHW advocates for that are intended to promote access to telehealth services to provide evidence-based quality health care to our most vulnerable citizens.

ABHW supports the use of telebehavioral health where appropriate and advocates for the lifting of barriers that prevent its advancement and use.




Behavioral health is complex. Untreated behavioral health conditions, including both mental health and substance use disorders, have a significant impact on individuals, families, friends, and employers. Individuals with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders need access to evidence-based services - the care that, based on scientific research, has been shown to...


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January 31, 2018 SAMHSA Listening Session: Oral Comments on Behalf of ABHW and the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2.

October 26, 2017 ABHW Statement On The Trump Administration's Opioid Announcement.

October 20, 2017 Statement of Pamela Greenberg, MPP, President and CEO, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Before the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

October 18, 2017 Media Alert – Congressional Briefing, Using Health IT to Combat the Opioid Crisis.

October 16, 2017 ABHW Letter of Support on the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2.

October 13, 2017 Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness CEO to Speak at White House Opioid Crisis Commission Meeting.

October 12, 2017 ABHW CEO to Chair Payer Behavioral Health Conference in Washington, DC.

September 26, 2017 Health Care Coalition Lauds Manchin and Capito’s “Legacy Act”.

September 26, 2017 ABHW Applauds Senators Manchin and Capito’s “Legacy Act” in Honor of Jessie Grubb.

September 22, 2017 Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill is Unacceptable.

September 12, 2017 FAQ About Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Implementation and the 21st Century Cures Act Part 38.

September 8, 2017 Media Alert – ABHW is pleased to present a briefing on the role of U.S.behavioral health plans in addressing the opioid epidemic.

August 10, 2017 Insurer Industry Group Commends President’s Declaration of National Emergency Over Opioid Epidemic.

August 1, 2017 ABHW Supports Steps Taken by White House Commission on Opioids.

July 28, 2017 42 CFR Part 2 Coalition Applauds Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Addiction Treatment.

July 28, 2017 ABHW Applauds Congressman Murphy’s Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Addiction Treatment.

July 27, 2017 ABHW Comments to the Opioid Commission.

July 27, 2017 ABHW Written Comments for HHS Listening Session on Strategies for Improving Parity for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Coverage.

July 12, 2017 ABHW President and CEO to Speak at 2017 Government Health Care Congress.

June 26, 2017 ABHW Letter in Support of the Nomination of Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, for Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.

May 23, 2017 ABHW Letter to Chairman Hatch on Health Care Reform Process in the Senate.

May 4, 2017 Press Release: ABHW Issues Statement in Wake of House Passage of AHCA.

May 2, 2017 ABHW Letter to House Leadership on AHCA and MacArthur Amendment.

April 26, 2017 Press Release: ABHW to Chair Inaugural Payer-Provider Behavioral Health Management Summit.

April 25, 2017 Press Release: ABHW Recommends Improvements to Medicare Advantage Program.

March 30, 2017 Press Release: ABHW Welcomes White House Commission on Opioids.

March 23, 2017 ABHW Letter to House Leadership Over AHCA Concerns.

March 22, 2017 ABHW Letter to House Leadership on ACHA.

March 17, 2017 ABHW Press Release on Confirmation of New HHS Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma.

March 10, 2017 ABHW Comments to Rep Murphy.

March 8, 2017 ABHW Comment Letter on Market Stabilization Prop Rule.

February 17, 2017 ABHW Press Release on SNPRM Part 2 Comment Letter.

February 17, 2017 ABHW SNPRM Comment Letter to SAMHSA on Confidentiality.

February 1, 2017 ABHW Summary of 42 CFR Part 2 Final Rule and SNPRM.



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