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national council for behavioral health

[From the National Council for Behavioral Health]


It is with a heavy heart,  I am notifying you first that we have cancelled NatCon20.

This is incredibly disappointing, but the City of Austin and Travis County, Texas have decided that we are legally prohibited from holding NatCon20. Specifically, they issued a ban on all events that would include more than 250 people, so The Austin Convention Center has officially cancelled NatCon20. The ban on public or private gatherings, part of orders adopted by Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, takes effect 2 a.m. CT Sunday, March 15, and will continue until at least May 1, 2020.

This unprecedented step to cancel our conference is driven by a global public health crisis that is entirely out of our control. So, while we are saddened that we must cancel NatCon20, we realize this is the only possible course of action. This is about much more than our conference. This is about limiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We must respect the decisions and legal mandates of local and federal health officials.

And we acknowledge that we have a unique social responsibility. We simply will not do anything to put you in harm’s way. We value all our corporate partners, which are an important part of the National Council. We will not put our staff members in harm’s way. The health and welfare of our members and employees remain a top priority.

For those who were frustrated with the timing of this decision, please understand that we had to be very deliberate and await the decisions of those with the authority to approve or cancel our conference. I deeply appreciate the patience all of you exhibited while we waited for the City of Austin to complete its due diligence, and please understand that we have been as transparent as possible.

Now that city officials have made their decision, we can move forward with answering your questions.

We are a membership organization and we have your back. Whether you are a registrant or an exhibitor, to request a refund, please fill out our NATCON20 Registration Cancellation Request Form.

All attendees are receiving a cancellation notification today. We would appreciate any help you can provide in letting people know NatCon20 was canceled by The Austin Convention Center and directing them to our website.

You are responsible for cancelling both your airline and hotel reservations. Please make sure to reach out directly to your hotel to cancel your upcoming reservation. You can also search the list of hotels here.

In addition, you’ll need to reach out to your airline directly to cancel your flight; each airline’s policies for how they are dealing with reservations, cancellations, change fees, and the like in the wake of COVID-19 are different, but most are reportedly being very cooperative and helpful.

We have already started planning for NatCon21 in Denver, and I hope to see you there.

The entire leadership team remains fully committed, to ensure we do what’s best for you and provider communities across the country, today and always. Because of the work we do every day, we have an important role to play and we’ll be looking for ways to support the entire behavioral health community in the weeks and months to come, as we navigate the implications from this virus.

Chuck Ingoglia
President and CEO
National Council for Behavioral Health

Clinics across the nation are now eligible to apply for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grants, under a funding opportunity announcement released this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The National Council has long advocated for increased funding for the grant program. We also have been a forceful advocate for expansion of CCBHCs to all 50 states. Not only does the $200 million SAMHSA will make available this year represent a $50 million increase from 2019, the funding is now available to clinics nationwide – an important step toward expanding the CCBHC model across the country.

The CCBHC program supports clinics in expanding access to a comprehensive array of mental health and addiction services in community-based settings, while improving their ability to coordinate care with other health system partners and collect and report on quality metrics.

Clinics applying for Expansion Grants are eligible for two-year grants of up to $2 million per year. Organizations in all 50 states may apply for grants, though priority will be given to clinics in the 24 states that received CCBHC planning grants in 2016.

The National Council will host an informational call to provide more details about CCBHC status, training opportunities, and lessons learned from prior cohorts. Stay tuned for more details and registration information.

SAMHSA has established a March 10 deadline for grant applications. Read the official SAMHSA announcement for more information on the program requirements.

Our website includes more information on CCBHCs, which remain among the National Council’s highest priorities.

See our blog for more details.

National Council Logo for Website

On Friday, leaders of the Senate Finance Committee reached an agreement on a 2-year extension and more than doubling the current program by adding 11 additional states to the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Medicaid program. This agreement was announced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), the two lead negotiators on a year-end package of health care bills.

While this is an exciting development, there is still work ahead before this legislative package becomes law. The package must still be voted on by both the House and Senate before going to President Trump for his signature.

The National Council thanks its dedicated advocates for their work in building nationwide support for CCBHCs. Your voices have been heard!

Please see below for a statement on today’s announcement from National Council President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia.

“We applaud the members of Congress who worked so hard on this agreement to fund and expand our nation’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. Extending and expanding this successful program is vitally important to people who rely on the mental health and addiction services provided by CCBHCs. It’s crucial that the delivery of care not suffer from disruption, and this agreement would ensure programs and services continue uninterrupted.

“Just as importantly, expanding the program means more people in more states will benefit from access to high quality care provided by CCBHCs. In a nation reeling from an opioid and suicide crisis, that is welcome news. While the mental health and addiction crisis continue to devastate the lives of people across the country, CCBHCs represent our nation’s best response. Expansion of the program is both a fiscally responsible decision and a compassionate response from lawmakers who understand the impact CCBHCs provide in communities across the country. Expansion represents a profound opportunity to help people and heal communities.

“We understand there are many hurdles to overcome before this agreement to provide funding and expand the CCBHC program becomes a reality, but we want to applaud the leadership of those responsible for championing the CCBHC program – Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Representatives Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).

“We also want to thank our partners in the field who joined forces with us in this shared mission. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare and many others have served as leaders in championing this vital program.”

From the National Council:

Behavioral Health Provider Participation in Medicaid Value-based Payment Models: An Environmental Scan and Policy Considerations

In recent years the drumbeat message has been that healthcare payments as we know it will change. No longer will payments remain strictly fee-for-service, with no accounting for quality of care; instead they will move towards value-based payment models that hinge payments, to one degree or another, on outcomes.

This has certainly been the case for physical health services, but what about behavioral health?

In the spring of 2019, the National Council for Behavioral Health partnered with the Center for Health Care Strategies to conduct an environmental scan of value-based payment models for behavioral health services. The culminating report, Behavioral Health Provider Participation in Medicaid Value-based Payment Models: An Environmental Scan and Policy Considerations, details existing models, where they are being adopted and highlights lessons learned and recommendations for state and federal policymakers.

Check out the report today and join us for a discussion of findings with the lead authors and reactions from panelists within the healthcare delivery system:

Value-Based Payments and Behavioral Health: Results of a Nationwide Environmental Scan
Wednesday, September 11 from 1:00 pm–2:00 pm ET.

The school was one of 35 selected by the National Council for Behavioral Health with support from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

Philadelphia, PA (September 9, 2019) – Pennsylvania was selected as one of the first expanded pilot sites for teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA). The program will be hosted at Roxborough High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this fall. The training is the first of its kind developed for high school students in the US.

“This first-of-a-kind program will truly make a difference in our communities, and we are excited that our state was chosen to introduce teen Mental Health First Aid to local communities,” said RCPA President/CEO Dr. Richard S. Edley, a member of the National Council for Behavioral Health — which represents 3,100 member organizations across the United States. “It is our hope that this training program will encourage students to take action when they spot early signs of a problem and empower them to support a friend who may be in distress or struggling with a mental health or substance use issue, so they can get the help and treatment they need.”

tMHFA is an in-person training designed for high school students to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, particularly how to identify and respond to a developing mental health or substance use problem among their peers. Similar to CPR, students learn a 5-step action plan to help their friends who may be facing a mental health problem or crisis, such as suicide.

The course specifically highlights the important step of involving a responsible and trusted adult. To ensure additional support for students taking the training, Roxborough High School has also trained a number of school staff in Mental Health First Aid for Adults Working with Young People.

“We’re thrilled Roxborough High School is one of the first US high schools to participate in teen Mental Health First Aid,” said Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “Teens trust their friends, so they need to be trained to recognize signs of mental health or substance use problems in their peers. The number one thing a teen can do to support a friend dealing with anxiety or depression is to help the friend seek support from a trusted adult.”

“With teen Mental Health First Aid, we like to say, it’s okay to not be okay,” said Lady Gaga, co-founder of Born This Way Foundation, as she spoke with 16 students who completed the first tMHFA pilot in eight schools across the country.

“Together, Born This Way and the National Council have put this program in eight schools. I know for certain that I’m not stopping here,” Lady Gaga continued. “I want the teen Mental Health First Aid program in every school in this country.”

“Through this pilot, Roxborough High School is taking an important step towards ensuring their students are able to recognize when a friend or peer might be struggling and to feel confident that they know what to do to help,” said Cynthia Germanotta, president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation. “Knowing how to spot the signs that someone in our lives is experiencing a mental health challenge and understanding how we can support that person is a basic life skill we all need to have — especially teenagers.”

tMHFA is an evidence-based training program from Australia. The National Council adapted the training with support from Born This Way Foundation and Well Being Trust. The pilot program is being evaluated by researchers from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health to assess its effectiveness. The training will be made available to the public following analysis of the pilot study. For more information, please contact Shemiah Cooper.

(Message from Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health)**

After much debate and political back and forth, the House and Senate today passed a short-term extension of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid demonstration program.

As was announced last week, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation to extend the original eight CCBHC demonstration states through December 2021. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 371-46. Despite tremendous bipartisan support in the House, efforts to extend the original eight states and expand CCBHCs to two new states stalled in the Senate. To provide themselves more time, House and Senate members agreed to a two-week extension, continuing the program through the 4th of July recess.

While we cannot guarantee a path forward beyond this short-term extension, we have every reason to believe that upon its return Congress will pass another continuation of the program through the end of September 2019. As we have throughout this legislative process, the National Council will keep you informed and do its very best to make you aware of opportunities for action and advocacy at every turn.

Thank you all for your outstanding efforts these last few years. Through your hard work and advocacy you have expanded access to individuals in need, transformed how these services can and should be delivered in your communities and built a strong network of allies who believe in the promise of CCBHCs and have worked with us to support their continuation.

**NOTE: OMHSAS/DHS are in the process of confirming the full extent of this announcement and its impact on PA CCBHCs moving forward.

The Washington Post hosted an event recently, focused on the mental health and addiction crisis in America, where Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) joined actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close to speak about the importance of expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCHBCs). See video excerpts below:

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At this point, you’ve probably heard about the move toward value-based payment (VBP) models.

The promise – better quality care at a lower cost. But, what does this mean for behavioral health providers? With all the uncertainty around if, when and how VBP will be implemented, what is the best way to proceed? And, what can you do to influence the policy decisions being made in your state?

Join the National Council on Thursday, November 15 from 2 to 3 p.m. ET for VBP: Adoption Rates, Policy Pitfalls and Provider Readiness to get the answers to these questions and more. During this webinar, speakers will discuss trends and current approaches in adopting VBP models, lessons learned from a state’s past and what behavioral health organizations can do to adopt a culture of value amid uncertainty.


  • Nina Marshall, Assistant Vice President of Healthcare Finance, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Richard Edley, President and CEO, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA)
  • Echo Shumaker-Pruitt, Vice President of Quality Improvement and Data Analytics, The Mental Health Association of Westchester

Register today and walk away with concrete actions you can take to shape the policy discussions in your state and prepare for VBP.