Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act introduced to the Senate

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act introduced to the Senate
U.S. Senate Floor (Source: senate.gov)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFVS) - U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) announced today the inclusion of their bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act in the Senate Finance Committee’s bipartisan drug pricing and health extenders legislation.

This legislation renews and expands funding for certified community behavioral health clinics. These clinics were established in a 2014 Act, of the same name. This resulted in the most significant expansion of community mental health and addiction services in decades.

“Nearly one in five Americans has a mental health issue that is diagnosable and almost always treatable, but less than half of them receive the care they need,” said Blunt. “The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act is helping people get treatment faster and closer to home, providing new tools to law enforcement, and bringing us closer to our goal of treating mental and behavioral health like all other health. I’m confident this demonstration program will show that expanding access to mental and behavioral health care will help lower costs and improve health outcomes over time.”

“Thanks to our Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act, we are beginning to transform the way mental health and addiction treatment services are delivered in communities across the country,” Stabenow said. “There is an urgent need to immediately extend and expand these vital services so more people can get the care they need at clinics in their communities. I thank Senators Grassley and Wyden on their partnership and for including our legislation in their package.”

“Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) are transforming care in many regions because they respond to the urgent needs of people in need of mental health and addiction treatment. We are grateful for the work of Senators Debbie Stabenow, Roy Blunt and many others who want to bring CCBHCs to more people in more states and communities through the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “We also thank Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden for recognizing the importance of CCBHCs and including extension and expansion of the program in their package.”

The clinics are required to provide a comprehensive set of services including 24/7/365 crisis services, immediate screenings, risk assessments, and diagnoses.

They provide outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services. They coordinate care and partner with emergency rooms, law enforcement, and veterans groups.

The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act created a certified behavioral health center pilot program that provided a competitive process for funding in eight states.

The Expansion Act increases the number of eligible states from eight to 19 and gives the original eight states two years of additional funding through Medicaid.

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