President Obama Signs Senator Stabenow’s Excellence in Mental Health Act Into Law

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

In one of the most significant steps forward in community mental health funding in decades, President Obama today signed into law a demonstration project of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow's Excellence in Mental Health Act. Sen. Stabenow's bipartisan legislation, introduced with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), expands access to community mental health services and strengthens the quality of care provided for those living with mental illness.

"Today is the last step in enacting this landmark advance in community mental health funding, but it's just the first step on the road to making this program a reality in communities across the country," said Stabenow. "I look forward to working closely with the administration as they select and implement the demonstration projects funded by this legislation."

The version of the legislation, included in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, establishes pilot programs in eight states to increase access to community mental health centers and improve the quality of care at those centers. Those programs could then be extended to other states.

The Excellence in Mental Health Act was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of Senators including Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jack Reed (D-RI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The bill is supported by over 50 mental health organizations, veterans organizations and law enforcement organizations including: the National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs' Association, American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health America, National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Give An Hour, among many others.