CPS, CHW, FPS, RC Potentially Impacted

National Council for Behavioral Health, Washington, DC


In January, Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Expand Excellence in Mental Health Act (S. 2525/H.R. 4567). This legislation would expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program to include all twenty-four states that are currently planning their applications to participate. By allowing each interested state to participate in the program, Congress could expand capacity in the behavioral health system to care for more Americans and alleviate the pressure on our nation’s jails and emergency rooms.

Take Action: Ask your legislators to cosponsor this bill today! Take action here. 


On March 31, 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 4302), which included a demonstration program based on the Excellence in Mental Health Act. The Excellence Act will increase Americans’ access to community mental health and substance use treatment services while improving Medicaid reimbursement for these services. When fully implemented, the Excellence Act will infuse over $1 billion into the behavioral health system, making it the biggest federal investment in mental health and addiction services in generations.

The Excellence in Mental Health Act: How Did We Get Here? Download our one-pager on the components of the Excellence Act and how it will transform our behavioral health system.

Why is the Excellence in Mental Health Act a Game-Changer? Download our one-pager on the impact this law will have on communities, states, providers, and consumers.

The Mental Health Overhaul that’s Already Underway. From Mid-Missouri Public Radio, read this take on the Excellence in Mental Health Act’s historic role in revitalizing community-based behavioral health care.


In December 2016 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced the selection of the eight participating states:

  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • New  Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, sixteen states that had also gone through a year of planning and implementation activities were not selected because under language in the demonstration law that limits participation to just eight states. The National Council remains committed to expanding the Excellence Act to all interested states and will continue working with congressional champions in the coming year to expand the scope of this important program.


This law:

  • Creates criteria for “Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics” as entities designed to serve individuals with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders that provide intensive, person-centered, multidisciplinary, evidence-based screening, assessment, diagnostics, treatment, prevention, and wellness services. Federal guidance on the CCBHC criteria is available here. Read our one-pager, “What is a CCBHC?” here.
  • Provides funding that will be available to states as planning grants to develop applications to participate in the 2-year pilot. Through a competitive process, in October 2015 SAMHSA awarded grants to 24 states to begin putting together their certification processes and developing their payment methodologies. Only states that have received a planning grant will be eligible to apply to participate in the pilot.
  • Stipulates that eight (8) states will be selected to participate in the 2-year pilot program.  The match rate for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic services is either the Enhanced FMAP/CHIP rate or, for newly eligible “expansion” Medicaid beneficiaries, the current FMAP for that population – which is 100% now and moves down to 90% by 2020.
  • Requires participating states to develop a Prospective Payment System (See Appendix III of the linked document) for reimbursing Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics for required services provided by these entities.
  • Requires Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to engage in partnerships with a variety of health system partners, from primary care to hospitals, VA centers, and more. The emphasis on these partnerships reflects the need for health care organizations to work together to demonstrate concrete health outcomes and high-value care.
  • Improves behavioral health resources for public safety by providing a much-needed infusion of funding into the addiction and mental health system, expanding treatment capacity and alleviating the burden on public safety officers.


May, 2015: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance on how they will be implementing the Excellence in Mental Health Act, including certification criteria, prospective payment guidance, and the planning grant applications.

August 5, 2015: Deadline for states to submit planning grant applications to SAMHSA. Only states that apply will be eligible to receive federal funding for planning grants. Only states that have received a planning grant are eligible to apply for and participate in the two-year demonstration program.

October 19, 2015: 24 planning grant awards were announced. The one-year planning grant funds can be used to support states as they determine how CCBHCs best fit within current system redesign efforts.  States can leverage this opportunity plan and implement other delivery and payment reform efforts.

October 31, 2016: Deadline for states to submit their applications to participate in the demonstration. The demonstration program includes provisions that will provide CCBHCs with the financial footing to deliver these required services.

January, 2017: Deadline for the Secretary to select the states that will participate in the demonstration program. Only states that have received a planning grant are eligible to participate. The states will be selected through a competitive application process and must represent a diverse selection of geographic areas, including rural and underserved areas.







Active Minds, Inc.
American Art Therapy Association
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
American Association of Pastoral Counselors
American Association on Health and Disability
American College of Emergency Physicians
American Counseling Association
American Dance Therapy Association
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
American Group Psychotherapy Association
American Mental Health Counselors Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Orthopsychiatric Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychological Association
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness
Child Welfare League of America
Clinical Social Work Association
Coalition for Supporting Housing
Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois
Community Oriented Correctional Health Services
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Eating Disorders Coalition
Emergency Nurses Association
Families USA
First Focus Campaign for Children
Foster Family-Based Treatment Association
Give an Hour
Legal Action Center
Major County Sheriffs’ Association
Mental Health America
NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Alliance to End Homelessness
National Association for Rural Mental Health
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
National Association of Counties
National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
National Association of Police Organizations
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
National Council for Behavioral Health
National Disability Rights Network
National Guard Association of the United States
National Fraternal Order of Police
New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.
No Health without Mental Health
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
Sandy Hook Promise
School Social Work Association of America
The Jewish Federations of North America
The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
The Trevor Project
Treatment Communities of America
Trinity Health

Published by jen padron

Mover and a shaker. Comrade. Community Bridger. Creative. Filmica. Sentimentalist. Imminent. Emergent Social Action. Change Agent. Voted for Hillary (2008, 2016).

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