Senator Stabenow Announces Bipartisan Bill to Expand Funding for Community Mental Health and Addiction Services

Thursday, March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act at an event in Washington, D.C. to renew and expand funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. These clinics were established in Stabenow’s 2014 Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act, resulting in the most significant expansion of community mental health services in decades.


“About one in five people worldwide is affected by mental illness and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. These disorders do not discriminate – they affect our parents, our veterans, our friends, and our children,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act is an important first step in getting more people the care they need at clinics close to home.”


Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are transforming the way mental health and addiction treatment services are delivered in Michigan and across the country. These clinics are required to provide a comprehensive set of services including 24/7/365 crisis services, and immediate screenings, risk assessments, and diagnoses. They provide outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services, as well as coordination of care and partnerships with emergency rooms, law enforcement, and veterans groups. Because of Senator Stabenow’s leadership, Michigan has expanded or is currently expanding services in nine clinics in Kalamazoo, Ludington, Muskegon, Auburn Hills, Lansing, Novi, Southgate, St. Clair County, and Washtenaw County. These clinics are funded with $34 million in federal appropriations secured through Stabenow’s leadership.


Stabenow’s 2014 Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act created a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center pilot program that provided a competitive process for funding for eight states. Stabenow’s Expansion Act increases the number of eligible states from eight to 19 and gives the eight participating states two years of additional funding through Medicaid. Under the expansion, Michigan will have the opportunity to apply for funding for additional clinics and more comprehensive services for people across the state.  


“As a provider of mental health services to the community over the last 60 years, The Guidance Center is committed to expanding access to mental health and substance use disorder services throughout Wayne County,” said Kari D. Walker, President & CEO of The Guidance Center in Southgate. “Our agency serves people who are uninsured or under-insured, and the enhanced ability through the designation of the CCBHC to reach beyond the 23,000 children and adults who are part of our programs every year is a critical benefit to our community. The ability to respond to people in urgent and emergent situations, including after normal business hours, will translate into more effective and immediate care that makes a difference in the lives of those we serve.”


“I have worked with the Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service to make sure individuals with mental illness receive treatment and services rather than end up in the county jail or judicial system,” said Sheriff Richard Fuller, Kalamazoo County Sheriff. “Expanding community mental health services, including 24 hour crisis service, will ensure these individuals get the help they need.”


“We’re going to be able to provide more care for people in the military, active duty and veterans, as well as individuals with substance use disorders and others who have had difficulty getting the help they need within our community,” said Deb Johnson, Executive Director of St. Clair County Community Mental Health. “We are so thankful to Senator Stabenow for her help in promoting community mental health services and look forward to all we will accomplish with this expansion.”


U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) co-sponsored the Senate version of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act and Representatives Doris Matsui (CA-06) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.