(October 20, 2015) – Congresswoman Doris Matsui announced that California is one of 24 states receiving funding for planning grants under the Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration project authored by Congresswoman Matsui and signed into law by President Obama last year. California will receive $982,373 out of a total of $22.9 million in national funding, which will support the development of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
“Today is a great day for California and the mental health community,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “It is time for mental health to be treated on a level playing field with the rest of our nation’s healthcare system. The money allocated through The Excellence in Mental Health Act will give community mental health centers the resources they need to better serve patients and their families. The announcement is an important step forward for California and the nation as we work to improve access to quality mental health care for our citizens.”
“We see this program as a game changer in our efforts to improve care, quality and access to services,” said Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto. “The awards will assist states in working closely with community clinics to bring together essential behavioral health services, integrate primary care services and improve quality and data reporting systems.”
“It’s been more than two generations since we’ve seen a federal investment in behavioral health as substantial as seen in the Excellence in Mental Health Act,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health. “The state planning grants awarded, including one received by California, move our nation closer to ensuring high quality treatment for children, adults and families who need help. The House and Senate champions deserve our congratulations and our thanks – their efforts will truly change lives.”
“This announcement is great news for California and the 23 other states who will now have access to planning grants to develop proposals for new federal funding,” said Rusty Selix, Executive Director of California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies. “The Excellence in Mental Health Act co-authored by Congresswoman Matsui represents a great opportunity to advance community mental health care, offering a federal partnership which builds on our work in California while enabling us to take the next step in aiding underserved communities who have been impacted by a lack of adequate mental health care funding. We thank Congresswoman Matsui for her leadership and look forward to working closely with state officials and other stakeholders to ensure California’s proposal is competitive.”
Excellence in Mental Health Act
The Excellence in Mental Health Act will provide incentives to our nation’s community mental health centers to ensure the centers cover a broad range of mental health services, including: 24-hour crisis care, increased integration of physical, mental and substance abuse treatment, and expanded support for families of people living with mental health issues. Centers that met these strengthened accountability standards will qualify to bill Medicaid, just as Federally Qualified Health Centers currently do for treatment of physical healthcare. The planning grants are the first of a two-phase process, ending October 2016, when awardees will have an opportunity to apply to participate in a two-year demonstration program that will begin January 2017.