DES PLAINES, Ill.,
March 31, 2014 – The Emergency Nurses Association today applauded Congress
for including the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health demonstration project
in the larger Medicare SGR Repeal bill.
The bill passed the
Senate today and the House on Friday. It now heads to President Obama for his
health care is an important concern to our members,” said 2014 ENA President Deena
Brecher, MSN, RN, APN, ACNS-BC, CEN, CPEN. “Many work in
emergency departments where behavioral health patients often seek treatment
because of a lack of community-based mental health facilities. The passage of
this legislation, including its stable source of funding, will improve the
quality of care and increase access for those who need treatment.”
The Medicare SGR
Repeal bill, which prevents a steep cut in Medicare payments to physicians,
includes a two-year demonstration program in eight states that implements the Excellence
in Mental Health Act. The act
was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Deborah Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO)
and in the House by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).
Excellence in Mental Health Act will improve the quality of mental health care
treatment through community behavioral health clinics. The clinics must cover a broad range of mental health services,
including 24-hour crisis psychiatric care, full assessment, and increased
integration of physical, mental and substance abuse treatment.
Importantly, the bill allows
community behavioral health clinics to be reimbursed under Medicaid at levels
comparable to Federally Qualified Community Health Centers. Currently, the
clinics are simply stretched too thin and struggle to provide essential
services in the face of inadequate funding. This bill will allow these
organizations to receive reimbursement for the actual cost of providing
By expanding access to community mental health centers, the
Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration project will reduce the use of
emergency departments by behavioral health patients while improving care for
chronic mental health conditions.
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About the Emergency Nurses Association
ENA, which has more than 40,000 members worldwide, is the only professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA develops and disseminates education and practice standards and guidelines, and affords consultation to both private and public entities regarding emergency nurses and their practice. Additional information is available at ENA's Web site, www.ena.org or on Twitter: @ENAorg.