CHA News Article

Excellence in Mental Health Act Becomes Law

As part of last week’s legislation to avert cuts to physicians required by the sustainable growth rate, President Obama also signed into law legislation that increases access to mental health services. The law includes a $1.1 billion demonstration project based on the Excellence in Mental Health Act – sponsored by California Congresswoman Doris Matsui – in eight states (yet to be determined) for two years. The project will provide incentives to community mental health centers to ensure coverage of 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 meet these strengthened accountability standards will qualify to bill Medicaid, just as Federally Qualified Health Centers currently do for treatment of physical health care.