President Joe Biden, Senator Debbie Stabenow Call for Improvements to Mental Health Care Coverage, Tout Success of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics
WASHINGTON, DC (July 25, 2023) — President Joe Biden and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today gathered with behavioral health advocates to highlight the need for more changes to expand access to comprehensive mental health and substance use care services nationwide through new proposed rules to improve compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
The National Council applauds the Biden-Harris Administration and Senator Stabenow for their focus on our nation’s mental health and substance use crises. We are grateful for the acknowledgement about the need to remove barriers to accessing care, including efforts to strengthen parity enforcement. We also commend the Biden-Harris Administration and Senator Stabenow for their commitment to expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). CCBHCs play a vital role in helping people receive the treatment and care they need, which helps increase parity in access to care. But there’s much more work to be done to ensure people in every community can access care and services through a CCBHC.
“Too often, arbitrary barriers prevent people from getting the mental health and substance use treatment and care they need,” said National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia. “Not knowing where to go or not knowing if it will result in a significant out-of-pocket cost is enough to stop someone from accessing lifesaving care. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics remove these barriers by ensuring access to comprehensive and high-quality services, regardless of someone’s ability to pay.
“CCBHCs transform access to mental health and substance use treatment and care. They provide hope for people dealing with a mental health or substance use challenge. Amidst a national mental health crisis, record high overdose death rates and an ongoing, devastating behavioral health workforce shortage, the CCBHC model successfully lowers barriers to accessing care while equipping clinics with the resources to expand services, reduce wait times and better recruit and retain staff. In some states, they’ve been shown to increase access to care by up to 35 percent.
“Thanks to the innovative CCBHC model, we’re entering a new era – one that will define how people access mental health and substance use services in their communities. Now we must do all we can to ensure that everyone has access to a CCBHC. And we must maximize CCBHCs’ success by defining the model in federal law. Doing so will reinforce the federal commitment to addressing the nation’s mental health and substance use crises and will save lives.”
The National Council, along with Senator Stabenow, former Senator Roy Blunt, and other bipartisan allies and advocates collaborated to create the CCBHC model years prior, leading to an immensely successful demonstration program that begin in 2017 in eight states. Since then, CCBHCs have provided critical and lifesaving care for millions of people with mental health and substance use challenges. Last year, legislation introduced by Senator Stabenow and Senator Blunt to expand the CCBHC demonstration nationwide was included in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and signed into law by President Biden. Every state now has the opportunity to apply to participate in the demonstration by 2032.
- CCBHCs are clinics that offer an expanded and required range of services — including 24/7 access and crisis services – to anyone who walks in the door, regardless of their ability to pay.
- CCBHCs have increased access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, reduced wait times and hospitalizations, reduced homelessness, expanded states’ capacity to address the overdose crisis and established innovative partnerships with law enforcement, schools and hospitals to improve care, reduce recidivism and prevent hospital readmissions.
- CCBHCs’ extensive crisis care services make them a critical part of the nation’s crisis care network, which recently marked the one-year anniversary of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
About The National Council
Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,300 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.