The National Council for Behavioral Health has launched a new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Success Center, with the goal being to help more providers across the nation adopt the model.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council is a behavioral health advocacy organization with more than 3,300 members across the country, most of whom serve the under- and uninsured.
The organization has long championed the CCBHC model, which allots extra funding to behavioral health providers in return for them offering a comprehensive range of services to community members, regardless of their ability to pay.
One reason the National Council is so bullish on CCBHCs is the results they produce: According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) data released as part of President Trump’s 2021 budget, CCBHC patients reported huge reductions — more than 60% — in both hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Plus, they saw employment rates increase and mental health improve.
Today, there are more than 200 CCBHCs across 33 states, but the National Council is committed to raising that number to 500 by 2025. The creation of the new center is meant to help with that, according to National Council President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia.
“We’ve long had the desire to make this program available in all 50 states, and we figured, if that is really our desire, we need to put our money where our mouth is and help support this in a bigger way,” Ingoglia told Behavioral Health Business. “That was kind of the reason to launch the CCBHC Success Center — to really try to catalyze more rapid growth of the model.”
The new center offers free and paid training and resources to aspiring and existing CCHBCs. Experts can help providers become CCBHC-ready, apply for grants, strengthen their existing CCHBC activities and connect with other providers in the program, just to name a few examples of services.
CCBHCs first came into existence back in 2014, as part of a Medicaid demonstration program in eight states. As a result of the CARES Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and SAMHSA announced the expansion of that program earlier this year, adding Kentucky and Michigan to the demonstration.
CCBHCs in the program get higher Medicaid payments in return for offering a certain set of integrated addiction and mental health services to the under- and uninsured. They must also meet criteria related to timeliness, reporting, staffing and coordination with social services, criminal justice and education systems.
The elevated reimbursement rates help CCBHCs pay competitive wages, provide more extensive offerings and serve more people, while also collaborating with law enforcement, hospitals and schools.
Providers in non-demonstration states can also become CCBHCs by applying for SAMHSA grants. The only difference is that the grant funding is capped and runs out after a set amount of time, usually two years.
As such, the CCBHC Medicaid program is more promising long-term. That’s why the National Council wants to help more states get in on the demonstration.
“It seems like we’re at a tipping point now,” Ingoglia said. “Within the Medicaid demonstration, we see that many of the original eight states are certifying and adding more CCBHCs to the demo. And, now as a result of the CARES Act, two new states will be coming on board.”
In addition to helping providers, the CCBHC Success Center will help states learn more about the CCBHC Medicaid model. It welcomes inquiries from state Medicaid agency officials, behavioral health department officials, governors’ offices, state legislators and research or advocacy groups focused on state policy.