WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) today announced that their bipartisan bill to expand high-quality mental health and addictions 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 nationwide. Clinics will be reimbursed by Medicaid for the full cost of providing services, the same way we fund community health centers for physical care. Senators Stabenow and Blunt created these community clinics through the Excellence in Mental Health and Addictions Act, which became law in 2014.
“Ensuring that people who are experiencing a mental health crisis can get treatment before they harm themselves or others is critically important to preventing another tragedy,” said Senator Blunt. “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 mental health care delivery system in our country. CCBHCs are changing that by providing crisis intervention support to police officers and comprehensive, ongoing care to those in need. It is important to remember that people who have a mental health problem are more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator. We want to be sure that mental health care is not only available, but that we encourage people to seek care without fear of stigma. This bipartisan proposal builds on the progress we have made and ensures that community access points to care will be available for the long term. This will help keep people safe while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, and I urge our colleagues to give it their full attention.
“Our mental health and addictions care initiative is a proven success. 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 the same as below-the-neck health care. It’s time to cross the finish line and expand these highly successful clinics to people in every corner of our country,” said Senator Stabenow.
Certified Behavioral Health Community Clinics are required to provide a full suite of services, including 24/7/365 crisis services; outpatient mental health and addiction treatment services; immediate screenings, risk assessments and diagnostics; and coordination of care, including partnerships with emergency rooms, law enforcement and veterans groups.
A report by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing shows that these community clinics are improving access to high-quality mental health and addictions treatment that is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people in communities across the country.
Statistics from the Department of Health and Social Services show that people who received services at these clinics:
- Had 63.2% fewer emergency room visits.
- Spent 60.3% less time in prison.
- Saw a 40.7% decrease in homelessness.
- Additionally, 84% of these clinics already provide direct on-site services to 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 school-based mental health and support services. The proposal also invests in programs to increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.