New Funding Allows for Massive Expansion of CCBHCs

The number of certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) nationwide just skyrocketed thanks to a slew of newly released grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

This week SAMHSA awarded CCBHC grants to 134 clinics, bringing the total number of CCBHCs nationwide up to 340 — an increase of nearly 50% from before. The grants are funded from the $4.5 billion SAMHSA received as part of the the most recent COVID-19 relief package, which passed in December.

CCBHCs were created in 2014, as part of a Medicaid demonstration program in eight states. Since then, Congress has expanded the program into two additional states. Plus, providers in non-demonstration states can apply for SAMHSA grants like the 134 recently awarded to become CCBHCs.

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The general idea is that CCBHCs get more money to provide a more comprehensive set of integrated services to people with behavioral health needs, regardless of their ability to pay. Those services include 24/7 crisis care, medication assisted treatment and more. In providing them, CCBHCs reduce overall health care costs and improve patient outcomes.

In fact, CCBHC patients experience huge reductions — more than 60% — in both hospitalizations and emergency department visits, according to SAMHSA. Plus, CCBHCs help increase patients’ employment rates and improve their mental health.

Those are a few of the reasons National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia lauded the grant news Thursday afternoon.

“This is an incredible step forward for health care in America, and we look to continuing our work to highlight the opportunities provided by the CCBHC model in every community across the country,” Ingolia said in a statement.

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, pledging its commitment to raising the number of CCBHCs nationwide to 500 by 2025.

“This funding will dramatically improve the health and welfare of people in hundreds of communities across the country,” Ingolia said. “CCBHCs provide vital services by increasing access to evidence-based substance use and mental health treatment services, including 24/7 crisis care. Now, thanks to the commitment made by these clinics, people in 40 states, plus D.C. and Guam, will be able to access a CCBHC.”

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