Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) are introducing new legislation likely this week, the Excellence in Mental Health Act.  The bill that would fully fund 24 states that qualified for a planning grant to create parity between community mental health services and physical health services.  The bill is a follow up to an earlier version that was attached to a 2014 bill “Protecting Access to Medicare Act.

The original legislation, which became law, allows eight state demonstration grants that include certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics in an effort to achieve parity in funding between community-based behavioral health services and physical health services. Qualifying clinics provide a set of core services ranging from crisis mental health and 24-hour psychiatric care, to screenings and assessments for mental health and substance abuse services, to peer and counselor support services. Certified clinics will receive higher reimbursements under a prospective payment system. The new bill provides funding for 24 states instead of the eight included in the 2014 law.

CWLA endorsed the original bill and has endorsed this extension.