Expanding treatment options in D.C.

After five years of dedicated advocacy, we recently celebrated two significant milestones that will pave the way for Capital Clubhouse to open its doors.

Our client aims to assist D.C. residents with serious mental illnesses as they develop social networking, independent living, budgeting, self-care, and other skills that empower them to live in and contribute to the community and to secure and retain employment. The clubhouse model is an evidence-based approach to rehabilitation for individuals with serious mental illness, and more than half of states in the U.S. have clubhouses. Capital Clubhouse intends to fill a significant void in D.C.'s behavioral health provider network, but our client has confronted substantial regulatory obstacles to doing so. With the help of our team, Capital Clubhouse is poised to open within the next few months.

First, in response to our team's advocacy, the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health has revised its regulations so that a clubhouse can finally open in the District. D.C.'s longstanding clubhouse regulations misunderstood the international clubhouse accreditation process and required prospective clubhouses to achieve the impossible in order to become certified and open in D.C. We successfully prompted the agency to issue an emergency rulemaking, which became final on May 3, 2019, remedying these shortfalls and providing for streamlined certification and Medicaid reimbursement processes.

Second, the D.C. Medicaid agency agreed to include clubhouses in D.C.'s Proposed Section 1115 Medicaid Behavioral Health Transformation Demonstration, which, pending federal government approval, is scheduled to begin in 2020. The proposed demonstration includes clubhouses within the continuum of community-based behavioral health services that would be covered under the D.C. Medicaid waiver.

Our team members, Margaux Hall, Janet McDavid, Jessica Robinson Hanna, and Maria Malas, have used legal acumen and negotiating skills to advocate for and facilitate these revised regulations and Medicaid reforms, earning the client's deep respect and appreciation in the process.

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