Tester Secures $1 Million to Address Mental Health Crisis in Montana
Funding will come from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured $1 million to address the ongoing mental health crisis in Montana through his Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Tester pushed for Montana to be selected as one of 15 states to receive this $1 million one-year Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) planning grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Senator Tester was the only member of the delegation to vote for this funding.
“Too many people in Washington don’t understand that folks in rural America often have to drive long distances to access an affordable mental health clinic, if there’s even one in driving distance,” said Tester. “That’s why I fought to secure funding to expand access to these critical mental health services in our rural communities. Behavioral health clinics save lives, and I won’t stop fighting until Montanans have access to the care they need no matter where they live.”
The $1 million CCBHC planning grant will be used to develop a proposal so that Montana may be selected as one of the ten states to join the CCBHC demonstration program in 2024. CCBHCs receive reimbursement through Medicaid for the full cost of services they provide at higher, more competitive rates than community mental health centers currently receive, giving them the ability to serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay.
Tester has led the effort to ensure Montanans have access to mental health services. Earlier this month, in his capacity as Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Tester pressed defense officials on fixing TRICARE issues and cutting red tape for mental health providers, so that our nation’s veterans have access to timely, quality mental health care.
Tester also secured significant wins for Montana’s public health system through the 2023 government funding bill, including provisions to expand telehealth eligibility for Medicare patients, $350 million in flexible funding for public health infrastructure and workforce development, and $1.6 billion to address the opioid epidemic through the State Opioid Response Grant Program. Last March, Tester announced a pilot program created under his Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act to expand access to complementary and integrative mental health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).