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Watch Senator Debbie Stabenow speak about the Excellence in Mental Health Act here.



Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), with Representatives Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), introduced the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 1905/H.R. 3931). This legislation would expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program to include all 19 states that submitted applications to participate in 2016. Under the current statutory limit, only eight of these states were selected. By allowing each interested state to participate in the program, Congress could expand capacity in the behavioral health system to care for more Americans and alleviate the pressure on our nation’s jails and emergency rooms.

Centerstone Kentucky and the Shepherdsville Police Department wrote to express support for the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act.

Learn more about the case for supporting the Expansion Act.

Take Action: Ask your legislators to cosponsor this bill today!



Section 223 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (H.R. 4302) established a two-year, eight state initiative based on the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Act. The Excellence Act is designed to increase Americans’ access to community mental health and substance use treatment services via CCBHCs while improving Medicaid reimbursement for these services. In December 2016, SAMHSA announced the selection of eight participating states: Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, 11 states that had also gone through a year of planning and implementation activities were not selected because language in the demonstration law limits participation to just eight states. The National Council remains committed to expanding the Excellence Act to all interested states and will continue working with congressional champions in the coming year to expand the scope of this important program.

To learn more, see our fact sheet on “What is a CCBHC?

For an overview of the components of the program, visit our CCBHC website.


Program successes to date

The National Council surveyed CCBHCs about the programs and activities they are implementing around jail diversion and decreasing unnecessary psychiatric hospitalizations. This soon-to-be-released report highlights impacts of the CCBHC Demonstration as of June 2019.

The results demonstrate that CCBHCs have dramatically increased access to mental health and addiction treatment, expanded capacity to address the opioid crisis and established innovative partnerships with jail diversion and hospitalization-reduction programs to improve care and reduce recidivism. These entities differ from business as usual in that they are required, by statute, to provide a comprehensive range of addiction and mental health services regardless of an individual’s ability to pay and are supported by a restructured payment system.

CCBHCs are also bridging the addiction treatment gap. Of the CCBHCs surveyed, 94 percent have increased the number of patients with addiction they serve, either by taking on new patients, improving screening protocols to newly identify addiction among existing patients, or both.

Results of a survey conducted in 2017 confirmed that when community behavioral health clinics are incentivized to provide evidence-based care and provided compensation that adequately covers their cost of doing business, they can transform access to care in their communities. Click each state to see its impact based on that review: MinnesotaMissouri, New JerseyNew YorkOklahomaOregon and Pennsylvania. The survey also produced information on how CCBHCs expanded access to opioid treatment and crisis care.



In December 2017, the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) endorsed the Excellence Act in its first report, recommending that Congress “expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic program nationwide. The CCBHC program provides a framework to support effective services in a population health framework and offers a sustainable payment model.” (p. 92)

In a November 2017 Forbes piece, Dr. Sally Satel of the American Enterprise Institute expressed her support for the expansion, writing, “The Excellence in Mental Health Act of 2014 established… Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers that offer an extensive array of services, including medical care, family counseling and social services. One benefit of all these tightly linked services is likely to be sustained engagement with treatment. This year, Reps. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill to expand the project to eleven more states. I hope it passes.”

More than 80 national mental health, addiction, law enforcement, and veterans’ groups have endorsed the Excellence Act, including:

Supporting Groups

Addiction Policy Forum

Active Minds, Inc.

American Art Therapy Association

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

American Association of Pastoral Counselors

American Association of Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work

American Association on Health and Disability

American College of Emergency Physicians

American Counseling Association

American Dance Therapy Association

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

American Group Psychotherapy Association

American Mental Health Counselors Association

American Occupational Therapy Association

American Orthopsychiatric Association

American Osteopathic Association

American Psychological Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Society of Addiction Medicine

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare

Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness<

Association of Recovery Schools

Child Welfare League of America

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Clinical Social Work Association

Clubhouse International

Coalition for Supporting Housing

Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois

Community Oriented Correctional Health Services

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Eating Disorders Coalition

EMDR International Association

Emergency Nurses Association

Faces and Voices of Recovery

Facing Addiction

Families USA

Family-Focused Treatment Association

Family-Run Executive Director Leadership Association

First Focus Campaign for Children

Foster Family-Based Treatment Association

Give an Hour

Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice

Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy

International Bipolar Support Alliance

The Jewish Federations of North America

The Kennedy Forum

Legal Action Center

Major County Sheriffs’ Association

Mental Health America

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health

National Alliance to End Homelessness

National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health

National Association for Rural Mental Health

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

National Association of Counties

National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors

National Association of Police Organizations

National Association of Social Workers

National Board for Certified Counselors

National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health

National Council for Behavioral Health

National Disability Rights Network

National Guard Association of the United States

National Health Care for the Homeless Council

National Fraternal Order of Police

National League of Nursing

National Register for Health Service Psychologists

Network for Social Work Management

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.

No Health without Mental Health

Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association

Sandy Hook Promise

School Social Work Association of America


The Trevor Project

Treatment Communities of America

Trust for America’s Health

Trinity Health

Wellbeing Trust

Young People in Recovery