Opportunities and Intersections:
Health Reform, The Excellence Act, and Criminal Justice Reform

Senator Stabenow

On December 8, 2015, in Washington D.C., COCHS and The National Council for Behavioral Health held Opportunities and Intersections: The Health Reform, The Excellence Act and Criminal Justice Reform conference. Keynote speakers were speakers Debbie Stabenow of Michigan (Co-Sponsor of the Excellence Act) and Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity.

The importance of the Excellence Act for behavioral health at the time of the conference was well-understood and well-documented. However, the profound implications of the Excellence Act for criminal justice reform remained under-discussed.

The Excellence Act, and resultant creation of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), had the potential to reduce siloes, ensure continuity of care, and avoid a huge number of unnecessary incarcerations.

At the conference, experts from public safety, health care, philanthropy and government addressed issues related to the implementation of the Excellence Act.