Past Releases: President Obama Backs National Council Position on New Federal Definition for Community Mental Health Providers
Statement from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
To speak with experts on Community Mental Health Centers, contact Meena Dayak at MeenaD@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.3728
Washington, D.C. (February 23, 2010) – In the compromise health care reform proposal released by the White House yesterday, President Obama calls for a new federal definition for Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) and other community-based mental health and addiction providers. The details of the Administration proposal are strikingly similar to the Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Center (FQBHC) definition that the National Council has been actively pursuing throughout the health reform care debate.
In July 2009, the House Energy and Commerce Committee adopted an amendment co-sponsored by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) to the House health care reform bill that authorizes the new FQBHCs. This legislation takes a critical first step toward achieving parity between community behavioral health providers and other parts of America’s safety net including public hospitals and Community Health Centers. In addition, the House measure more accurately reflects the evidenced-based and recovery-focused services that National Council members provide while establishing nationwide accountability and reporting requirements.
These new standards should help to avert instances in which unscrupulous entities have exploited the 1981 CMHC definition to engage in fraudulent Medicare billing practices. After nearly three decades of minimal federal leadership, the Matsui/Engel FQBHC proposal will achieve the goals that President Obama announced today while, at the time, improving health outcomes for millions of low-income Americans living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,600+ behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological, and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.