Advocacy Alert: Senators Stabenow, Blunt Secure ThreeYear Extension of Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act & Significant Additional Investment in Community Mental Health and Addiction Services
January 7, 2021
Press Release on Senator Debbie Stabenow's website
December 22, 2020
U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) announced that they successfully secured $850 million in funding for the national Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grants program in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which includes emergency COVID-19 assistance and federal funding for FY 2021. Blunt and Stabenow also secured a three-year extension of their bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act, which established Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), resulting in the most significant expansion of community mental health and addiction services in decades. CCBHCs provide a comprehensive set of high-quality services including 24/7/365 crisis services; outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services; immediate screenings, risk assessments, and diagnoses; and care coordination with emergency rooms, law enforcement, and veteran groups.
For years, Stabenow and Blunt have led the effort to transform the way mental health and addiction treatment services are delivered in communities across the country. In the past year, they secured $200 million in the FY 2020 appropriations bill and $250 million in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the national Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grants program. The CARES Act also extended the Excellence program and expanded it to two states. Michigan and Missouri are both part of the program, which is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
"No person struggling with mental illness or addiction should go without the support and treatment they need because funding runs out in their community," said Senator Stabenow. "For years, I have been committed to funding behavioral health services the same way we fund physical health services. This additional funding comes at such an important time with so many Michigan families in urgent need of help during this pandemic."
"Millions of Americans have a mental or behavioral health issue that is diagnosable and almost always treatable if they have access to the care they need," said Senator Blunt. "The pandemic has created an even greater need for mental health and addiction treatment services, and making sure we have the resources in place to meet that need is an important part of the pandemic response. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics have a proven record of success in getting people care faster and closer to home, and reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits. I'm glad the critical services CCBHCs provide will continue to be available for current patients and anyone who needs help coping with the impact of this pandemic."
"It's difficult to overstate the significance of this funding. CCBHCs play a vital role in meeting the mental health and substances use care needs of communities and represent a lifeline for so many vulnerable people as our nation copes with a pandemic and an opioid crisis," National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. "This is by far the longest extension ever for CCBHCs, and we are so thankful for the security and stability it will provide the communities and clients of CCBHCs."
At a press conference earlier this year, Blunt and Stabenow highlighted a report by the National Council for Behavioral Health showing that CCBHCs are increasing access to high-quality mental health and addiction treatment. For example, in the first year of operations, 93% of CCBHCs provided staff training in suicide prevention and response, 87% reported an increased number of patients served, and 94% reported an increase in the number of patients treated for addiction.
Mental illness and substance use affect about one in five people in our country. Only 12% of Americans struggling with addiction receive treatment in any given year, and only 43% of people with mental illness receive the care they need. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for ages 10-34, and drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
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