The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Applauds Inclusion of Excellence in Mental Health Act in Medicare Bill

03/26/2014

$900 Million to Make Mental Health Parity a Reality

Washington, DC (March 26, 2014) — Congressional negotiators released a final Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Repeal bill today that includes $900 million to fund the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act (Excellence Act). The Excellence Act, sponsored by Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Blunt (R-MO) along with Representatives Lance (R-NJ) and Matsui (D-CA), would ensure that Mental Health Parity is a reality by improving quality and expanding access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment through community mental health clinics. The legislation would establish a two-year demonstration program in eight states to offer a broad range of mental health and substance use disorder services like 24-hour crisis psychiatric services while setting new high standards for providers. The legislation now moves to both chambers for consideration.

“The time has come to invest in mental health and substance use disorder services, and the Excellence Act does just that.” said Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). “When people receive the quality mental health and substance use disorder services they need, the benefits of treatment extend far beyond the individual—to their families, their professional colleagues and their community. AFSP thanks the bill’s bipartisan cosponsors for their commitment to improving and expanding access to these services that are vital in our efforts to prevent suicide. We know from research that when people receive mental health treatment it helps to reduce suicide.”

Gebbia went on to say, “AFSP has long been a champion of the Excellence Act. Over the last few years AFSP and its national network of 64 chapters and more than 1,200 advocates have made thousands of calls, personal visits, and conducted email campaigns to urge their members of Congress to pass the Excellence Act.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the nation’s leading organization bringing together people across communities and backgrounds to understand and prevent suicide, and to help heal the pain it causes. Individuals, families, and communities who have been personally touched by suicide are the moving force behind everything we do.