Blunt Visits Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Senator Roy Blunt was in Jefferson City Wednesday to talk about the Excellence in Mental Health Act

The act was signed into law in 2014 to expand mental health services and programs in eight demonstration states. Missouri was selected last year to a part of the demonstrative program, which started in July.

"We're behind, but Missouri's always been pretty forward leading on this,"' Blunt said. "Those of you who have worked with me on this know the gap between where we are and where we should be, and then when we realize that we're probably substantially ahead of most states on how we've dealt with these issues. Now imagine how much they can benefit from what we can share."

According to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, the demonstration program allows Missouri to enhance integration and coordination of behavioral health and physical health services, promote the use of evidenced based and promising practices that support recovery, use a prospective payment system for the delivery of care and receive for two years of an enhanced Medicaid match.

"I think this is a significant move forward in how we deal with behavioral health," Blunt said. "This is not some small group of people that none of us run into or none of us are part of, it's a big group of people, and we're about 50 years behind."

Blunt said in his speech that one-in-four adult Americans has a diagnosable and almost always treatable behavioral health issue, and one-in-nine have a behavioral health issue that affects how they live every single day.

"What I hope is our model, the model that we're able to do in a fairly qualified health center, in one that we can expand everywhere," Community Health Center of
Central Missouri Director of Behavioral Services Richard Lillard said. "That we can start saying one-stop-shop is the way to provide healthcare."

Blunt introduced legislation last week that would extend the program for one year for the states in the demonstration program, and expands the program to 11 more states.