Health and Wellness National News

Senators Stabenow and Blunt, with the Biden-Harris Administration, recently announced nationwide expansion of mental health and addiction services

 $8.5 Billion to transform and strengthen behavioral health clinics is part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act     

WASHINGTON—Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, announced that states across the country will now be able to join Senator Stabenow’s and Senator Blunt’s successful initiative to fully-fund high quality mental health and addiction services through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.

Up until now, the majority of services have been provided by grants that start and stop. CCBHCs are transforming community care by setting high quality standards of care and then funding mental health and addiction services as health care through Medicaid. This is the same successful structure used for federally-qualified health centers

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

In order to receive enhanced Medicaid funding, the clinics are required to provide crisis services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay. Other high-quality services are required as well.

With the passage of the new law, all states and the District of Columbia are eligible to submit applications for planning grants to develop CCBHCs in their states. In early 2023, 15 states will be awarded up to $1 million for one-year planning grants and from those, 10 will be selected to be in the actual CCBHC program, starting in 2024. While 10 states will join the initiative in 2024, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act allows every state to eventually join.

 “Our mental health care and addiction initiative is a proven success story and is transforming mental health and addiction treatment across our country,” said Stabenow. “Now, every state will be able to join and make sure health care above the neck is funded the same way as health care below the neck. Senator Blunt was a great partner with me in passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and together with the Biden-Harris Administration, help through our highly successful clinics will begin to reach people in every corner of our country.”

“Our Excellence in Mental Health demonstration program has shown that treating mental health like all other health is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Blunt. “For too long, emergency rooms and law enforcement have served as the de facto mental health care delivery system in our country. 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 have seen in states that are currently part of the Excellence program, including Missouri and Michigan. I’m grateful for Senator Stabenow’s nearly decade-long partnership in this effort, and the support of the Biden administration. Giving every state the opportunity to be a part of the Excellence program is a huge milestone that will help millions of Americans live longer, healthier, happier lives.” 

“The significant expansion and enhancement of CCBHCs across the U.S. underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to improving the behavioral health of all Americans, especially in vulnerable communities,”said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Behavioral health is health. Period. There should be no distinction.”

“Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are transforming behavioral health systems one community at a time,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA.

“CCBHCs expand the quality and speed of behavioral health help to those in need,” Delphin-Rittmon added.

“I applaud SAMHSA’s steps 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,” Brooks-LaSure added.

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are required to provide a comprehensive set of services including 24/7/365 crisis services; outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services; immediate screenings, risk assessments, and diagnoses; and care coordination including partnerships with emergency rooms, law enforcement, and veterans’ groups.

A report authored by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing shows that these community clinics are increasing 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.

The Department of Health and Human Services found that people who receive care at these clinics had:

  • 72% reduction in hospitalization
  • 69% reduction in visits to the emergency room.
  • 40.7 % decrease in homelessness.
  • 60. % less time in jails.

Also, 84% of these clinics either already provide direct services on site at elementary, middle and high schools or plan to in the future.

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