By Matt Dennis

Dear Members,

It is a pleasure to introduce myself, CMSA’s partner in Washington, D.C. My role is to keep CMSA and its members informed of public policy debates and developments that have an impact on access to health care and specific issues that affect case managers like mental and behavioral health, substance use disorder, and workforce development.

Although politics in Congress and the Administration can be bitter, slow, and frustrating at times, there are a few priorities that can result in bridges across the partisan divide.

Among them are preventing more individuals from falling into the cycle of opioid use disorder and addressing the devastating toll that it can have on individuals and families.

Five years ago, part of Congress’s response to the tragic increase in addiction and dependence was to enact the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) Act, which authorized important policy changes and new funding streams for community-based treatment and recovery programs. Because five years have elapsed, Congress must reauthorize the SUPPORT Act and now has a chance to make important changes and improvements that can enhance prevention and recovery efforts, particularly in the wake of a surge in overdose deaths concurrent with the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of fentanyl into the United States.

The House and Senate have advanced separate versions of the SUPPORT Act reauthorization that make a variety of changes intended to enhance prevention and recovery efforts, including increasing funding for residential treatment programs for those fighting addiction and making medications for opioid use disorder like buprenorphine and methadone more accessible.

But because the two chambers have not reconciled their bills together to send President Biden a final version for enactment, Congress is risking federal agencies not enforcing the SUPPORT Act or awarding grant funding that would otherwise go to community groups making a difference.

There is hope that Congress will attach the SUPPORT Act reauthorization – and several other important public health bills – to a giant legislative package enacting federal appropriations for fiscal year 2024 by early March, around the time that CMSA advocates will meet with their Members of Congress about the challenges case managers face and legislative requests to address substance use disorder, mental and behavioral health, and health workforce development. Reauthorizing the SUPPORT Act will be one of the most prominent requests that advocates should make to policymakers.

We hope you consider participating in this advocacy day because we need every voice amplifying these requests. If you are interested in participating, please contact Amy Black at We look forward to working with you in support of our profession and all those we serve.

Matt Dennis

The CMSA 2024 Virtual Hill Visits will take place the week of March 4, 2024 with Congressional meetings scheduled throughout the day on Tuesday, March 5th, Wednesday, March 6th and Thursday, March 7th. Participation in the CMSA Virtual Hill Visits program is open to all CMSA members at no charge. During this advocacy event, members will meet virtually with Members of Congress and/or their health policy staff from their respective areas of the country to educate them about the importance of Case Managers and their role in improving patient health outcomes. This important event helps to elevate the professional practice of case management and the immediate needs of case managers nationwide. Click here to register:

Bio: Matt Dennis is a veteran legislative and communications strategist with 15 years of experience on Capitol Hill and political campaigns. On behalf of corporations, advocacy groups, coalitions, and nonprofit organizations, Matt develops and executes lobbying and government relations strategies that advance critical public policies and get results. Matt also leads CRD Associates’ communications practice, which focuses on helping clients communicate effectively on federal funding, policy, and other issues through message development, media training, media relations, crisis communications, speechwriting, internal communications, and social media. Before joining CRD Associates, Matt was the Communications Director for the House Appropriations Committee Democrats. He served as a public spokesperson and managed media relations for the Ranking Member and Committee Democrats on legislation appropriating more than $1 trillion in federal spending each year. He previously served as Communications Director in the personal office of Rep. Nita Lowey, Chairwoman of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Communications Director for Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and on several political campaigns.