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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

SAMHSA Announces Excellence Act Planning Grant Awards Winners

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On Monday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced the 24 states that will receive funding as part of the 2014 Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing congratulates these states receiving funding as part of the $22.9 million grant announcement. When fully implemented, the Excellence Act will infuse over $1 billion into the behavioral health system, making it the biggest federal investment in mental health and addiction services in generations.

“The 24 states selected by SAMHSA will one day be looked upon as pioneers that taught the rest of us how to create the behavioral health safety net that America has lacked for too long,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Under the Excellence Act, states will use planning grant funding to prepare for a two-year pilot program. Participating states must establish a network of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics that provide a comprehensive array of outpatient mental health and addiction treatment services, crisis care and partnerships with primary care providers and veterans’ services, among others. Funding will also be used to establish fair and accurate payment rates through Medicaid to facilitate the provision of services required by the Excellence Act.

“We’re very excited that we can see the day when adults and children with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders will be able to walk into a clinic and not only get immediate help, but that their behavioral and physical health care needs will be coordinated,” Rosenberg added.

At the end of the one-year planning grant period, states will be eligible to become one of eight pilot states under the Excellence Act.

“We see this program as a game changer in our efforts to improve care, quality, and access to services,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto. “Today’s awards will assist states in working closely with community clinics to bring together essential behavioral health services, integrate primary care services and improve quality and data reporting systems.”

Visit our website for more information on the Excellence in Mental Health Act and for resources on becoming a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic.