HHS to give states $15M for community behavioral health clinics

Steven Loeb · October 19, 2022 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/552c

So far 10 states have received money to set up clinics as the US experiences a mental health crisis

As the US grapples with its mental health crisis, something that has been going on for years but which has only gotten worse thanks to the pandemic, the government has begun to step up to help those in need.

That includes the introduction of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in July, which HHS subsequently said increased calls by almost 50% in just its first month, as well as $296.2 million awarded in September to communities across the U.S. to establish new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs).

Now the government is expanding that program even further, announcing another $15 million in grants from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will be awarded to states to develop and transform these health clinics. 

While all 50 states are eligible, so far 24 have received a one-year planning grants from HHS, have been selected; of those, 10 have received money for their CCBHCs: Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania. 

Of the remaining 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, another 15 will will be awarded up to $1 million for one-year planning grants in 2023, and from those that submit a successful demonstration application, another 10 will be selected to be in the actual CCBHC demonstration, which will start in 2024.

The CCBHC planning phase assists states in certifying clinics as CCBHCs, establishing prospective payment systems for Medicaid reimbursable services, and preparing an application to participate in a four-year demonstration program.

“With these additional funds, we’re delivering on President Biden’s commitment to strengthen mental and behavioral health for all Americans, including people living in our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

“Behavioral health is health. Period. There should be no distinction. This investment will bring us closer to that reality.”

As described by the the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "CCBHCs provide crisis services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay."

They are required to meet federal standards for the range of services that they provide, and they must also provide routine outpatient care within 10 business days after an initial contact so people don't have to wait for care. The care they provide much be high quality and, evidence based when possible.

(Image source: bethkobliner.com)

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