Senator Stabenow announces nationwide expansion of psychiatric care

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – States across the country can now join Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) in the initiative to fully fund quality mental health and addiction services through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC), along with the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Our mental health and addiction initiative is a proven success story and is transforming the way mental health and addiction is treated in our country. Now every state can join and ensure healthcare above the neck is funded the same way healthcare is funded below the neck,” Senator Stabenow said. “Senator Blunt was a great partner for me in getting the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed, and together with the Biden-Harris administration, aid through our hugely successful clinics will begin to reach people in every corner of our country.”

“Our Mental Health Excellence Demonstration Program has shown that treating mental health, like any other health, is not only right, it’s wise,” Senator Blunt said. “For too long, emergency rooms and law enforcement in our country have served as the de facto mental health care system. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are changing that, helping people get the comprehensive behavioral health care they need, when they need it. Today’s announcement builds on the success we’ve seen in states currently part of the Excellence program, including Missouri and Michigan. I am grateful for Senator Stabenow’s nearly decade-long partnership in this effort and the support of the Biden administration. Enabling every state to be part of the Excellence program is a major milestone that will help millions of Americans live longer, healthier, and happier lives.”

Ten states, including Michigan and Missouri, were selected to be part of the mental health and addiction initiative created by the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act.

CCBHC transforms community care by setting quality standards of care and then funding mental health and addiction services as Medicaid healthcare. This is the same structure used for federally qualified health centers.

“The significant expansion and improvement of CCBHCs in the United States underscores the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to improving the behavioral health of all Americans, particularly in vulnerable communities,” said Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. “Behavioural health is health. Period. There should be no distinction.”

“Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are transforming behavioral health systems in one community at a time,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and director of SAMHSA. “CCBHCs expand the quality and speed of behavioral health care for those in need.”

“I applaud SAMHSA’s moves to expand access to critical behavioral health services through this funding announcement,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, we are proud to partner with SAMHSA to expand access to critical behavioral health care.”

To receive improved Medicaid funding, clinics must provide crisis services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and help anyone who requests mental health or drug use treatment, regardless of ability to pay and other high costs . Quality services are also required.

With the passage of the new law, all states and the District of Columbia are eligible to submit planning grant applications for the development of CCBHCs in their states.

“Today’s announcement of funding to expand certified community behavioral health clinics is a critical step in expanding the availability of evidence-based community mental health services. These clinics are proven to improve health outcomes while reducing costs by providing 24/7 mental health and substance abuse services to millions of Americans, regardless of who they are or the ability to pay. Through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the American Rescue Plan, and funding in this year’s budget, my administration is working to expand this program to communities that need it most,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.

“Mental health affects us all, which is why I have made tackling the mental health crisis a key pillar of my Unity agenda. As I laid out in my State of the Union address last March, more can and must be done to transform the way we approach mental health in America.”

President Biden continued in his statement, “In June, I was proud to sign the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included unprecedented resources to address mental health needs across our country, particularly for young people who have been exposed to violence . In recent weeks, my government has announced the availability of funding that will help expand the pipeline of school-based mental health professionals, expand trauma-related services in schools, and connect youth in need with mental health professionals via telemedicine . In the coming weeks, my administration will announce additional resources to support our heroic mental health workers and to help communities strengthen mental health. My administration remains committed to ensuring everyone has access to services and support whenever and wherever they need it.”

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics must provide a comprehensive service package that includes:

  • 24/7/365 crisis services
  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services
  • Immediate screenings, risk assessments and diagnoses
  • Coordination of care, including partnerships with emergency departments, law enforcement and veterans’ groups.

In early 2023, 15 states will receive up to $1 million in annual planning grants, and from those, 10 will be selected for the actual CCBHC program, which begins in 2024. While 10 states will join the initiative in 2024, the non-partisan Safer Communities Act allows each state to eventually join.

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