HHS awards 15 states with one-year Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic planning grants to offer community outpatient mental health treatment and expand equitable behavioral health services in US; each state to receive US$1.0M grant

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

March 17, 2023 (press release) –

Note to reporters and editors: Video b-roll of a CCBHC is available for download and use in reporting, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), today awarded 15 states each with $1 million, one-year Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) planning grants. This announcement marks the first time these planning grants have been available since the program began in 2015.

The 15 states selected are Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia. In 2024, up to 10 of those will participate in the CCBHC Medicaid demonstration program and receive enhanced Medicaid reimbursement.

“The expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics is part of President Biden’s commitment to expand and strengthen equitable behavioral health for all Americans,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “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.”

CCBHCs were created to transform mental health and substance use treatment across the country and provide sustainable funding for robust community outpatient mental health treatment. The full CCBHC demonstration program provides reimbursement through Medicaid for the full cost of services that CCBHCs provide, at higher, more competitive rates than community mental health centers previously received. This sustainable funding also ensures they can provide a more comprehensive range of services rather than fragmented services driven by billing codes.

Funding for the CCBHC state planning grants was authorized by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) in 2022 to address the country’s mental health crisis. 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. This expansion of CCBHCs builds on the Administration’s previous work to launch the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and further builds the crisis continuum of care. In September, SAMHSA awarded nearly $300 million in funding for new and existing CCBHCs, to include funding for 150 new CCBHCs. Additional funding opportunities for CCHBCs is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Today’s announcement is the first of two rounds of awards. Another notice of funding opportunity to award 15 additional states with planning grants is expected to be posted in Fiscal Year 2024.

Ten of the 15 states that received planning grants will be able to join the CCBHC demonstration program in 2024 after a separate application process. While only 10 states will join the initiative in 2024, states will have another chance to join the CCBHC demonstration in 2026. The CCBHC planning phase assists states in certifying clinics as CCBHCs, establish prospective payment systems for Medicaid reimbursable services, and prepare an application to participate in a four-year demonstration program.

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

Eight states are currently participating in the demonstration: Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Oregon.

In 2017, the first CCBHCs were funded under Medicaid with 67 operating in eight states. Today, there are more than 500 CCBHCs, in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

CCBHCs are required to meet federal standards for the range of services that they provide, and they are required to get people into care quickly. CCBHCs must see people in crisis immediately and provide routine outpatient care within 10 business days after an initial contact to prevent people from languishing on waiting lists. CCBHCs must also ensure access to a comprehensive range of services, providing care coordination when needed and incorporating evidence-based practices and other supports based on a community needs assessment. Equally important, CCBHCs are required to serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay, place of residence, or age, including developmentally appropriate care for children and youth.

Anyone seeking treatment for mental health or substance use issues should call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org .

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Dan Rivard
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