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Advocates Storm Capitol Hill to Preserve CCBHCs

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Advocates Storm Capitol Hill to Preserve CCBHCs

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On Thursday, the National Council hosted nearly 100 advocates from 16 states to build support for legislation to extend and expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program in Medicaid. The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/ H.R. 1767) would extend the demo in the original eight states for two years, while expanding the program to the other 11 that applied but were not originally selected. The CCBHC program will expire on June 30, 2019 without Congressional action.

WASHINGTON POST LIVE

To start the day, advocates and stakeholders alike attended a Washington Post Live event in downtown Washington, D.C. to discuss our nation’s mental health and addiction crisis. The event was headlined by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) alongside actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close.

Glenn Close opened up about her family’s struggles with mental illness, telling a story of her sister Jessie, who has bipolar disorder, and her nephew Calen, who has schizophrenia: “my sister came to me [and] said, ‘I need your help because I can’t stop thinking about killing myself’… our family had absolutely no vocabulary for mental health. We didn’t really get it.” Close continued, “And they found… that the stigma around their illnesses was just as painful as the illnesses themselves.”

Senator Stabenow explained that Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics were created to address the inequity between behavioral health and physical health. “The bottom line is we don’t treat mental health and addiction services the same as we treat physical health services,” she said.

Stabenow went on to emphasize that CCBHCs bring full funding into behavioral health care and that with these new resources, CCBHCs are “transforming communities.” Senator Blunt added that the aim of Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act is to “Treat mental health like you would any other health issue. It’s as simple as that.”

Watch video highlights from the event here.

 NEXT STEPS

Congress has until the end of June to work to extend the CCBHC program in eight states. While Excellence Expansion Act champions continue working with leadership to find a viable solution, the National Council asks all advocates to reach out and speak up in support of CCBHCs. Taking action is easy – just click here!

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