December 21, 2016
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) today announced that Missouri has been selected to participate in a demonstration program to expand access to community mental health services and strengthen the quality of care for those living with mental and behavioral health issues. The demonstration program was created under Blunt’s Excellence in Mental Health Act, which was signed into law in 2014.
“Nearly one in four Americans has a mental or behavioral health issue that is both diagnosable and treatable, but only a fraction receive the help they need,” Blunt said. “This demonstration program will help bridge that gap by expanding and improving access to quality mental and behavioral health care across our state. I was proud to get the Excellence in Mental Health Act signed into law, and I’m glad to see our state continue leading the nation in developing solutions to bring mental and behavioral health care in line with the way other illnesses are treated.”
In October of 2015, Blunt and Senator Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) announced that 24 states, including Missouri, applied for the demonstration program. Each of these states received a planning grant to work with interested community mental health centers, Federally-Qualified Health Centers, VA clinics, and other mental health organizations to design a state program that meets the new quality standards for Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers.
Blunt and Stabenow first introduced the Excellence in Mental Health Act in February of 2013 to put community mental health centers on an equal footing with other health centers by improving quality standards and offering patients increased services like 24-hour crisis psychiatric care, counseling, and integrated services for mental illness.
The Excellence in Mental Health Act is supported by more than 50 mental health, veterans, and law enforcement organizations.