CCBHC Demonstration to be Extended Through May

The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program is set to be extended through May 2020.

That’s thanks to the fiscal year 2020 funding package President Donald Trump is set to sign by midnight on Friday, Dec. 20. Congress passed the legislation earlier this week.

Without the package, funding for the program would run out immediately. It extends the demonstration in the eight states where CCBHCs currently operate and adds an extra $50 million in funding for the program through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants.

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While the news is a win for community behavioral health providers, industry advocates were hoping for a more permanent extension of the program.

There are currently several dozen CCBHCs operating in a handful of states, including Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

But earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee reached an agreement to extend the CCBHC program by two years and to add an additional 11 states to the program.

However, such provisions are not included in the spending package as it currently exists.

Still the National Council for Behavioral Health, which represents community behavioral health providers nationwide, is hopeful the program will still see further expansion and extension of the program down the line.

“CCBHCs have been packaged with other health care program extensions, with the expectation that spending on these policies must be offset by cuts elsewhere,” the National Council wrote in a press release. “Unfortunately, Congress has not yet reached agreement on the offset, meaning that the whole package of extenders has been pushed to May to give negotiators time to work out a deal.”

In addition to increasing funding for CCBHCs, the package also expands state opioid response grants to cover stimulants, includes funding for a loan repayment program for substance use treatment professionals and allots more money to SAMHSA, CMS and the CDC, in addition to funding a number of other behavioral health programs and projects.