Excellence in Mental Health Act

Excellence in Mental Health Act

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has been a life-long advocate for quality mental health services. As Chairwoman of the State House Mental Health Committee in the 1980’s, she led the effort to strengthen our Michigan Mental Health Code, including authoring the Children’s Mental Health Act and the landmark Family Support Subsidy Act. Senator Stabenow has continued her advocacy in Congress, and as Michigan’s U.S. Senator, championed legislation to de-stigmatize mental health and ensure Americans get the care they need.


Expanding Community Mental Health Services

Senator Stabenow secured passage of a new law based on her bill, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, to expand funding for community mental health services and strengthen the quality of care provided for those living with mental illness. This achievement is one of the most significant steps forward in mental health funding in decades, providing hope – and help – for individuals and families.

The new law establishes an eight-state demonstration program to increase funding for community mental health centers and improve the quality of care at those centers. Specifically, state agencies will work with interested community mental health centers, Federally-Qualified Health Centers, VA clinics, and other mental health organizations to design a state proposal for participation while individual clinics will work to be designated as a Certified Behavioral Health Clinic. These new clinics will be reimbursed for services at higher, more competitive rates than currently received by community mental health centers, bringing us closer to finally achieving funding parity for physical and mental health services. This new designation will require increased services such as:

  • Crisis psychiatric services available on a 24-hour basis.
  • Evidence-based and integrated treatment for mental illness, substance abuse, and trauma including cognitive behavioral therapy, applied behavioral analysis, and medication management, among others.
  • Expanded peer support and counselor services for individuals and families.
  • Integrated preventive screenings including for diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.


Next Steps for Michigan

In October of 2015, Michigan moved one step closer to being chosen as part of the eight-state demonstration program. Michigan won a nearly $1 million award to develop a plan that will create or expand services to meet the designation of Certified Behavioral Health Clinic. Senator Stabenow is fully committed to working with local communities, advocates, and consumers across Michigan to submit a strong application to ensure Michigan is poised to be selected as one of the eight states for a demonstration project.