WASHINGTON – US Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) Announced today that their bipartisan bill to expand high-quality mental health and addiction services nationwide is included in the Senate’s bipartisan proposal. Their initiative provides each state with funding for certified community behavioral health clinics in their communities, building on a successful effort that has shown results across the country. Clinics will be reimbursed through Medicaid for the full cost of providing the services, in the same way we fund community health centers for physical assistance. Senators Stabenow and Blunt created these community clinics through the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act, which became law in 2014.
“Ensuring that people experiencing a mental health crisis can receive treatment before they harm themselves or others is critically important in preventing another tragedy,” Senator Blunt said. “The Excellence in Mental Health Act, which created certified community behavioral health clinics, is a proven model for ensuring access to care quickly and close to home. For too long, emergency rooms and law enforcement have served as the de facto system of providing mental health care in our country. CCBHCs are changing things by providing crisis response support to police officers and comprehensive and ongoing assistance for those in need. It is important to remember that people who have a mental health problem are more likely to be victims of a crime than the offender. We want to make sure that mental health care is not only available, but that we are encouraging people to seek care without fear of being stigmatized. This bipartisan proposal builds on the progress we have made and ensures that community-based access points to care will be available in the long term. It will help keep people safe while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, and I urge our colleagues to take that into full consideration. “
“Our mental health and addiction initiative is a proven success story. We are finally transforming the way we deliver high quality services in our communities and the results are clear. This bipartisan proposal builds on our work and will ensure that above-the-neck health care is funded in the same way as below-the-neck health care. It’s time to get there and expand these highly successful clinics to people in every corner of our country, “he said Senator Stabenow.
Certified community behavioral health clinics are required to provide a full range of services, including 24/7 crisis services; outpatient mental health services and substance abuse treatment; immediate screenings, risk assessments and diagnoses; and coordination of care, including partnerships with emergency rooms, law enforcement and veteran groups.
A report from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing shows that these community clinics are increasing access to high-quality mental health and addiction care that are making a difference in the lives of thousands of people in communities across the country.
Statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services show that people who have received services at these clinics:
- He had 63.2% fewer emergency room visits.
- 60.3% less time spent in prison.
- It has seen a 40.7% decrease in homelessness.
- Furthermore, 84% of these clinics already provide direct on-site services in elementary, middle and high schools or plan to do so in the future.
The proposal invests in programs to expand mental health and support services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs and mental health and enveloping services in schools. The proposal also invests in programs to increase access to mental and behavioral health services for young people and families in crisis through telemedicine.