Congresswoman Matsui’s Excellence in Mental Health Act Signed into Law

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Washington, DC, December 7, 2016 | comments
Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) today announced that a demonstration project based on her bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1263, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, was signed into law by President Obama. This is the first piece of meaningful legislation to increase access to mental health services Congress has passed since the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. “Today is a great day for the mental health community! The Excellence in Mental Health Act signed into law by the President today is a historic step in expanding access to mental health services in communities across the nation,” 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. Today’s bill signing is a significant step forward in achieving true parity between physical and mental health care, and will help community mental health centers expand their reach to all individuals in need of help.” 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 SGR patch includes a $1.1 billion demonstration project that will implement H.R. 1263 in multiple states. “This measure brings long overdue attention and help for our nation's safety net of providers of mental health and substance use disorder services. The number of homeless people visible on the streets of any city attests to our nation's neglect of this vulnerable population. We applaud Congresswoman Doris Matsui for her efforts and leadership over many years on this critical issue,” said Rusty Selix, executive director of the Mental Health Association in California and executive director of the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies. “After decades of devastating state and federal budget cuts, the time has come to reinvest in mental health and substance abuse services. The Excellence in Mental Health Act does just that,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “As many as 240,000 people will be able to receive critical mental and behavioral health services as a result of Excellence in Mental Health Act funding. When people receive the quality mental health and substance abuse services they need, the benefits of treatment extend far beyond the individual – to their families, their professional colleagues and their community at large. We are all better off when quality mental health and substance abuse services are available. This is an historic day and it would not have been possible without the tireless work of Representative Matsui and the bill’s bipartisan sponsors.” H.R. 1263 was introduced by Congresswoman Matsui and Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) in March, 2013. Bipartisan companion legislation, S. 264, was also introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). ###
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