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HHS Slots $120M for Community Clinics to Boost Mental Healthcare Access

The federal grant will support two initiatives the expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, advancing the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to transform US mental healthcare access.

Community Certified Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) across the country are set to receive $120 million in funding opportunities from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in partnership with SAMHSA, a move the agencies said will improve outpatient mental healthcare access.

“The expansion of CCBHCs is part of President Biden’s commitment to expand and strengthen equitable access to behavioral health services for all Americans,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release. “These clinics serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay, and connect people to the care they need.

The first funding opportunity, the CCBHC Planning, Development, and Implementation (CCBHC-PDI) grant, will total at $61,800,000 and aim to establish and implement new CCBHC programs throughout the nation.

The grant intends to assist organizations in developing new CCBHCs that meet criteria and offer services that support outreach, screening, assessment, treatment, care coordination, and recovery, one of the announcements noted. Lastly, these CCBHCs aim to provide access to high-quality mental health and substance abuse disorder services, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

The second funding opportunity, known as the CCBHC Improvement and Advancement (CCBHC-IA) grant, will provide additional funding of $61,800,000 to enhance existing CCBHCs.

“CCBHCs are transforming behavioral health systems in this country, and we know that the model of care works,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA, said.

“Data show in the first six months of receiving care, CCBHCs decrease homelessness, decrease the amount of time spent in correctional facilities, decrease the time spent in emergency rooms for behavioral health issues, decrease inpatient hospitalization for mental health treatment, and decrease the use of illegal substances,” Delphin-Rittmon added.

In 2017, the first group of CCBHCs, funded under Medicaid, established 67 clinics across eight states. Fast forward, there are now over 500 CCBHCs in operation across 46 states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

CCBHCs are known for their seamless mental healthcare access. The CCBHC model requires crisis services to be available 24/7 and routine outpatient care to be provided within ten business days of initial contact to meet federal standards and reduce wait times.

Additionally, CCBHCs provide care coordination to help individuals navigate behavioral healthcare, physical healthcare, and social services.

These facilities offer a comprehensive range of services with evidence-based practices and services. Services are usually tailored based on results from community health needs assessments.

The President's Fiscal Year 2024 budget aims to make the CCBHC model permanent, expanding access to behavioral health services for all Americans with historic funding to support mental health and substance use care.

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