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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Excellence Act Expansion Bill Introduced in the Senate

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Earlier this week, Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act, H.R. 3931/S. 1905 – legislation to expand and extend the Excellence Act demonstration program in Medicaid. The National Council thanks Senators Stabenow and Blunt and Representatives Lance and Matsui for their continued dedication to this cause and looks forward to working with them see this bill through to passage.

This demonstration is a two-year, eight-state initiative to expand Americans’ access to community-based mental health and addiction care. It lays the foundation for transformation of our delivery system by setting standards for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) and establishing a Medicaid payment rate that supports the costs of their comprehensive service array.

The new bill – the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (H.R. 3931/S. 1905) – would expand the program to include 11 states that were poised and ready to transform their delivery systems but were forced to stop in their tracks due to the current eight-state limit on participation. The bill would also extend the life of the original eight states to include an additional year.

“This expansion is critical in making sure communities across the country have the resources they need to improve the lives of anyone living with mental illness or recovering from addiction,” said Senator Stabenow. “Each and every state that came forward with a plan to increase access to community mental health services should have the support they need.”

“I’m proud that Missouri, as a participant in the Excellence in Mental Health Act pilot program, is leading the nation in developing strategies to improve and expand access to mental and behavioral treatment,” said Senator Blunt. “This bill will allow all states in the pilot program to continue the important work that’s underway, and enable more states to join the effort. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill, and help get us closer to our goal of treating mental health like all other health in this country.”

 

TAKE ACTION – URGE COSPONSORSHIP

With both the Senate and House bills introduced, now is the time to build support on Capitol Hill. Take time today to urge your legislators to cosponsor the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (H.R. 3931/S. 1905). Together, we can ensure every community has the resources it needs to treat those with mental illness and addiction.