Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to promote his new mental health care legislation, the Expand Excellence in Mental Health Act.  Lance introduced the measure to build on legislation he previously championed into law that has been hailed as one of the most significant and meaningful reforms to the Nation’s broken mental health care system.

“This measure is directly tackling one of the most significant mental health challenges – access.  The Expand Excellence in Mental Health Act will enable more states to experiment with the tools and practices to fix this broken system,” Lance told his colleagues in his remarks to the chamber.  “Too often we are reminded that our Nation’s mental health care system is not working nearly as well as should be the case.  It’s a vicious cycle where the vulnerable who need the most care are instead left out of society, unemployable and – in some cases – a danger to themselves and others.  This bill will help struggling families who seek the best care for their loved ones.”  

Since the original law was enacted several states, including New Jersey, have been selected to work with interested community mental health centers, federally qualified health centers, veterans clinics and other mental health organizations to design a program that meets the new standards for Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers.  The Expand Excellence in Mental Health Act will expand this work to more states in a major step toward fully equipping quality mental and behavioral health services nationwide.  The new law focuses on improving quality standards and fully funding community services, offering patients increased services such as 24-hour crisis psychiatric care, counseling and integrated services for mental illness.

“I welcome all good ideas to the table for reforming our mental health care system,” Lance concluded.