U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, introduced a bipartisan bill to enhance access to addiction and mental health services in communities across Montana. This comes after Daines led a hearing last month on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Montana and the importance of having the resources to necessary to meet the mental health and substance use care needs of Montanans and Americans across the country.
“This past year has been difficult, and with unprecedented social isolation and a continued struggle with illegal drug use in Montana, it is clear that more needs to be done to support individuals and families struggling with addiction or mental illness,” Daines said. “My bill will help integrate physical and mental health care, provide Montanans with access to treatment more quickly, and support community partnerships to improve care, reduce recidivism, and prevent hospital readmissions.”
Daines discussed the introduction of this bipartisan bill at a U.S. Senate Finance hearing, where an expert witness discussed the importance of the bill and how it would help support veterans. Watch and download the clip HERE.
The “Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act” would:
- Give every state the option of participating in the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration, which is currently limited to ten states, with the two year enhanced payment from the federal government.
- Ensure that the data collection and reporting continues for current and new states.
- Authorize the CCBHC Expansion Grant program which has funded clinics like those in Montana.
CCBHCs provide a comprehensive set of high-quality services including 24/7/365 crisis services; outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services; immediate screenings, risk assessments, and diagnoses; and care coordination with emergency rooms, law enforcement, and veteran groups.
For bill text, click HERE.
Statements of Support:
“Senator Daines has always been a proponent of comprehensive healthcare. In introducing this bill he demonstrates the need for treating mental health with equal importance as in treating physical health. Senator Daines’ contemporary thinking and proactive practice in introducing this bill will revolutionize the care for people with behavioral health issues.” – Lenette Kosovich, CEO of Rimrock in Billings
“The behavioral health system in Montana is in full-blown crisis due to budget cuts over the last several years and now the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a tremendous increase in need at a time when our workforce is declining rapidly. CCBHCs would be a game-changer in helping to fix the broken system in our state. We are so grateful to Sen Daines for helping to care for some of Montana’s most vulnerable citizens!” – Mary Windecker, Executive Director, Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana
“As a licensed clinical social worker in a newly funded CCBHC and volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I urge the continued prioritization of mental health and suicide prevention. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention applauds Senator Daines for championing the expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs) for Americans across the country, to support increased access to much needed mental health services and resources.” – Jennifer Preble, Advocacy and Policy Chair, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) – Montana Chapter