Nearly 40% of behavioral health organizations say they can only survive six months or less given the current financial situation they are facing. At the same time, more than half of all providers have seen an increased demand for services since the pandemic hit.
Those are just a few key takeaways from the National Council for Behavioral Health’s latest member survey, which polled 343 of the organizations’ members between August 17 and September 1.
The results shed light on a troubling trend: While the demand for behavioral health care has increased, the supply is trending the other direction, with COVID-19-related financial strain to blame.
Of those polled, 65% of said they have had to cancel, reschedule or turn away patients in the past 3 months. Additionally, nearly 23% said they have lost revenue during that period.
All in all, 39% of behavioral health providers say they can only survive six months or less given the current financial environment they’re facing.
But at the same time, more than 52% of organizations have seen an increase in demand for services in the past three months.
National Council CEO Chuck Ingoglia says the supply-demand mismatch demonstrates the need for immediate Congressional action to help behavioral health providers stay afloat while grappling with COVID-19.
“Congress and the administration have created dedicated funding streams for critical access hospitals, nursing homes and federally qualified health centers,” Ingoglia said in a press release announcing the findings. “It’s time to level the playing field and add behavioral health organizations, which are just as critical, to the dedicated funding stream to ensure they can continue to provide care for millions of Americans.”
Specifically, the National Council is pushing for an infusion of $38.5 billion in emergency funds for behavioral health organizations, with the majority of that money going to Medicaid providers. The organization also supports the behavioral funding proposal included in the HEALS Act, which would give $4.5 billion to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
“The funding designated to SAMHSA in the HEALS Act will help, but right now our nation needs lawmakers to think bigger,” Ingoglia said. “Without significant financial intervention, I fear millions of Americans may not have access to the behavioral health care they need and deserve.”