Sacramento Congresswoman Doris Matsui today announced that language from her bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1263, was signed into law as part of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula extension, or so-called SGR Patch.  Read the Congresswoman’s statement here.

The language from H.R. 1263 and a bi-partisan companion bill in the U.S. Senate (S 264) establishes the Excellence in Mental Health Act. By September 1, 2015, criteria will be published for a clinic to be certified by a State as a certified community behavioral health clinic for purposes of participating in a demonstration program.  (See Section 223 on Page 38 of H.R. 4302)

Demonstration projects are designed to bring more resources to several states for mental health centers, including substance abuse treatment. According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, it is estimated that the funding will help about 240,000 people receive critical mental and behavioral health and substance abuse services.

Centers in the demonstration states that meet strengthened accountability standards will qualify to bill Medicaid, just as Federally Qualified Health Centers currently do for treatment of physical healthcare.  The Congresswoman is advocating for California to be included as one of the demonstration states.

Scope of Services (listed in Section 223 of the legislation) to include:
  • Crisis mental health services, including 24-hour mobile crisis teams, emergency crisis intervention services, and crisis stabilization.
  • Screening, assessment, and diagnosis, including risk assessment.
  • Patient-centered treatment planning or similar processes, including risk assessment and crisis planning.
  • Outpatient mental health and substance use services.
  • Outpatient clinic primary care screening and monitoring of key health indicators and health risk.
  • Targeted case management.
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation services.
  • Peer support and counselor services and family supports.

The SGR Patch, also referred to as the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (H.R.4302) delays for one year a 24% cut in Medicare reimbursements mandated under the Sustainable Growth Rate funding formula until April 1, 2015.  The White House stated that the bill’s intent is to “extend other health-related provisions set to expire, and to make other changes to current-law health provisions.”

We appreciate Congresswoman Matsui’s work to bring more resources to mental health and substance abuse treatment.