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Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Excellence in Mental Health Act: Why Is It Important to Apply?

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Last month, Linda Rosenberg called the implementation of the Excellence in Mental Health Act a tremendous opportunity to improve access to behavioral health for our nation.

That could not be more true, or needed for thousands of individuals, families and communities around our great nation.

Today, I am calling on all states to take advantage of this momentous opportunity and apply for an Excellence in Mental Health Act planning grant before the August 5 deadline.

 

More Than Just a Planning Grant

The planning grant is more than just a prerequisite for being selected as one of the demonstration states for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC). It is also an opportunity to engage community stakeholders in assessing ways to identify gaps and opportunities for improving care.  We know that by expanding the use of evidence-based practices and coordinating care across health, behavioral health, social and legal systems that we can build healthy minds and strong communities — giving people with mental health and addiction disorders a chance to recover and lead productive lives.

Furthermore, planning grants will allow states to begin immediately training providers to participate in this innovative revolution of behavioral health care. Planning grant funds are eligible to be used to provide trainings and technical assistance to providers who are building capacity to act as CCBHCs. These important steps cannot be overstated. This federal funding will help strengthen our system that has been plagued for decades by drastic underfunding of critically important treatment and services.

 

What’s at Stake

So why should states apply? Because this is the starting line of a transformative era in behavioral health care. Later this year, states will begin receiving funding and working hard to redefine and redesign the way in which they provide services in line with the goals and mission of the Excellence Act. Eight states will be selected to proceed further with the demonstration program, but the rest will have had the opportunity to re-envision the way they offer these services to better position themselves for the future. Meanwhile, led by our Congressional champions, the National Council and other national advocates will continue to work hard to expand the Excellence Act to everyone across the country.

Now, the hard work turns to you – but we are on hand to help. The National Council is ready to be a resource to you at every stage of the process. Please don’t hesitate to contact Chuck IngogliaNina Marshall or Rebecca Farley on our staff with questions about the Excellence Act, advice on how to craft your planning grant application, tips on assessing your organization’s readiness to participate, and much more. Don’t wait for this opportunity to pass you by. Begin working with your state to start your application today.

Want more resources on the Excellence in Mental Health Act? The National Council is proud to offer you the following: a deep-dive into the prospective payment system guidance, an MTM CCBHC Certification Criteria Readiness Assessment Tool, information on upcoming webinars, and much more.