WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan) today announced their new bipartisan bill, the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021. The legislation Expand high quality mental health and addiction services nationwide by giving each state the ability to fully fund the establishment of certified community behavioral health clinics in their communities as part of health care. Blunt and Stabenow established these community clinics under the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act., which became law in 2014.
The Blunt and Stabenow Act of 2014 was the biggest step forward in expanding community mental health and addiction services in decades by allowing funding for services through the health care system instead of mere grants. Ten states, including Missouri and Michigan, have been selected to fully participate in the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic program. Additionally, seed grants have expanded the number of clinics to more than 300 communities in 40 states, plus Washington DC, and that number continues to grow. These clinics serve approximately 1.5 million people across the country.
The bill enjoys bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by U.S. Finance President Ron Wyden (Oregon) and U.S. Senators Steve Daines (Mont.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Tina Smith (Minn.), Jon Tester (Mont.), And Joni Ernst (Iowa).
“Although we have almost conquered this pandemic, our country continues to face a major mental and behavioral health crisis,” Blunt said. âStudies have shown that in the past year, more Americans have struggled with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and substance use. We can help more people get the care they need by expanding certified community behavioral health clinics. These clinics serve nearly 1.5 million Americans and have a proven track record in increasing access to care, reducing hospital admissions and reducing emergency room visits. I urge all of our colleagues to support this bipartisan bill that will help change the way mental and behavioral health is treated in our country. “
âMental illness and substance use disorders do not discriminate – they affect our parents, our children, our CEOs, our students, our teachers, our veterans and other community leaders. For too long our country has funded above-neck health care differently from below-neck health care. We are finally transforming the way we deliver high quality services in our communities and the results are clear. It is time to extend these very successful clinics to people all over our country â, said Stabenow.
“Everyone in Nevada should have access to treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders,” Cortez Masto said. âCommunity behavioral health clinics provide a range of services and for many struggling Nevada residents they are a vital lifeline. This bill will help strengthen these clinics across Nevada and the country. De-stigmatizing mental health and giving vulnerable Nevadians the help they need are among my top priorities, and I will continue to work to pass common sense legislation that promotes quality mental health care.
âThe past year has been difficult, and with unprecedented social isolation and an ongoing struggle against illegal drug use in Montana, it is clear that more needs to be done to support individuals and families struggling with addiction or mental illness. mentionned Rank member of the US Senate Finance Subcommittee on Daines Health Care. âMy bill will help integrate physical and mental health care, provide Montanais with faster access to treatment, and support community partnerships to improve care, reduce recidivism and prevent readmissions to hospital. ”
“This bipartite legislation would make real progress in tackling the mental health and drug addiction crises in this country,” said Tester. âCertified community behavioral health clinics are already making a difference in our communities, and increasing access to these types of clinics could not be more necessary to ensure that uninsured or low-income Montanians, and elders, combatants, have access to essential behavioral health services â to keep our condition healthier and safer for years to come.
âWhen I experienced depression, the resources were there for me. But right now, too many people don’t have access to the behavioral health care they need, â Smith said. âThat’s why it’s important that we fully fund certified community behavioral health clinics. I want anyone with a mental health problem to know that they are not alone. We can all help break the stigma by talking about it, and then we need to get to work to give people the services they need. “
âToo often the criminal justice system is a de facto mental health facility for incarcerated people – a flawed approach to treating people living with mental health or addiction issues in our communities. But through the CCBHC program, we have been able to create a better system that diverts people with mental illness from correctional facilities and reduces recidivism for people with mental illness or addiction issues. Through our partnership with Burrell Behavioral Health, a CCBHC here in Springfield, Missouri, we can better identify those with mental health care needs and then coordinate an appropriate plan to address them. Passing the Excellence Act will help stimulate new partnerships like ours across the country and make every community safer and healthier â, said Chief Paul Williams, Police Chief of Springfield, Missouri.
âAccess to decent mental health and substance abuse treatment shouldn’t depend on where you live. Since 2017, the CCBHC program has provided life-saving care to millions of people and enabled mental health and addiction treatment organizations to reduce wait times, hire more staff, improve working with criminal justice agencies; and improving coordination of care with hospitals. Expanding the CCBHC program is the best solution to tackle the increase in mental health problems and overdose deaths reported across the country. We encourage Congress to adopt the Excellence Act â, mentionned Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO, National Council for Mental Wellness.
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are required to provide a full set of services, including 24/7/365 crisis services; outpatient mental health and addiction treatment services; immediate screening, risk assessments and diagnostics; and coordination of care, including partnerships with emergency rooms, law enforcement and veterans groups.
A new report, written by the National Council for Mental Wellness, shows that these community clinics increase access to high quality mental health and addiction treatment that is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people in communities across the country. country.
Statistics from the Department of Health and Social Services show that people who received services in these clinics:
Had 63.2% fewer emergency room visits;
Spent 60.3% less time in prisons; and
Saw a 40.7% decrease in homelessness.