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We Support Bill to Renew Mental Health and Addiction Services

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By AFSCME Staff Explore the Issues Health Care

AFSCME strongly supports a bipartisan bill unveiled in Congress today that would expand mental health and addiction services in communities across the nation.

Called the “Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act,” it seeks to expand past efforts by the federal government to respond to the increasing demand for mental health and substance use disorder services across the country.

“AFSCME members are committed to making their communities healthier and stronger through treating addiction, mental health conditions and addressing the opioid epidemic,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “We support this important bipartisan legislation because it builds on the success and effectiveness of established Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), which have expanded services and reduced wait times for patients who need urgent treatment.”

CCBHCs, established in a landmark 2014 law, provide a wide range of mental health and substance use disorder services. But funding for these clinics is set to run out beginning on March 31 in Oregon and Oklahoma, and on June 30 in Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, according to the bill’s sponsors.

The bill announced today by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), and Reps. Doris Matsui (D-California) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), would renew and expand funding for CCBHCs. Without that, more than 9,000 clients could lose their medication-assisted treatment and some 3,000 clinic workers could lose their jobs.

AFSCME is the right union for behavioral health workers. For more information, go here.