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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.

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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.

Speakers:

  • 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.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is helping to connect some of our members with some researchers. Western Michigan University is conducting an NIH-sponsored study to better understand the usefulness of evidence-based program registries in behavioral health care.

Are you an executive or senior staff member who is involved in selecting and/or implementing behavioral health care interventions at your agency? If so, the study would like to conduct a short telephone interview with you. If not, we are asking that you forward this email to an appropriate colleague at your agency.

The interviews are confidential; no individual or agency names will be associated with responses. In appreciation, you or your agency can receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate, as allowable.

To schedule a telephone interview and/or for more information, please email
eval-nihstudy@wmich.edu and include your agency’s name and state. Responses will come from one of the study’s collaborating organizations: The Evaluation Center, Kercher Center, Rady Hospital, or DSG Inc.

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The Senate has released its version of the American Health Care Act and it is worse than we feared. The Senate bill will cut Medicaid even more than the House bill in the future, putting tremendous pressure on safety-net services and providers.

But there is still time to act! The Senate is gearing up for a vote in the coming days, so NOW is the time to speak up and protect Medicaid.

unite-4-bhTaking action is easy:

  1. Dial this number: 202-224-3121
  2. Ask for your Senator.
  3. Share with them this message:
    • Your Message: I am calling to ask the Senator to vote NO on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Cutting Medicaid and rolling back the Medicaid expansion will have a devastating effect on people with mental illnesses and addictions who rely on Medicaid for lifesaving treatment. Please vote NO. I’m calling from [city, state, and zip] and my name is [first and last name].
  4. Call your other Senator and share the same message!

Thank you to all who have taken action on this issue so far this year. We appreciate your hard work and dedication and ask that you continue to mobilize and advocate on this critical issue! Together, we can protect and preserve Medicaid for millions of Americans in need.


 

Questions, contact Jack Phillips.

Until today, it was hard to imagine a bill could be worse for Americans living with addiction and mental illness than the AHCA bill passed last month by the House of Representatives.

The Senate version of the American Health Care Act purports to be a “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act, but is really a draconian restructuring and gutting of Medicaid, the program that covers 20% of Americans and is one of the primary payers of addiction and mental health treatment in the U.S.

Instead of “repeal and replace,” it is “wreck and wreak havoc.”

The bill’s supporters have said that their newest proposal would “soften the landing” for Americans who will lose Medicaid coverage. In reality, the landing would be catastrophic. There is nothing “soft” about ripping health care away from the 11 million Americans enrolled in the Medicaid expansion. The new bill also shifts hundreds of billions of dollars in costs to states—leaving them with a Sophie’s Choice of which populations and benefits to cut in order to close their budget shortfalls. Seniors? Pregnant woman? People with a preexisting condition, like cancer or a heart attack? Who do we help, and who do we turn our back on?

The Senate bill also slices and dices Medicaid enrollees into the deserving and the undeserving, exempting some populations with disabilities from the caps while leaving other vulnerable individuals—like people with addictions—out in the cold. Lawmakers must remember that people with addictions do not qualify as “disabled” under a Gingrich-era change that excluded them from Social Security Disability. The proposed cuts to Medicaid would disproportionately harm those who rely on Medicaid for lifesaving opioid addiction treatment, at a time when mortality from the opioid epidemic is growing at devastating speed each year. We are facing a national emergency on opioids – now is hardly the time to reduce our efforts.

The bill’s feeble attempts to bolster psychiatric treatment while stripping health care away from millions are paltry at best. While the outdated law prohibiting Medicaid funding for services provided in residential or inpatient treatment settings deserves to be changed, the small tweak to this payment exclusion that is included in the bill will do nothing to mitigate the loss of Medicaid coverage for millions—nor does it provide for important outpatient care serving people in their own communities. The proposed one-year grant fund for mental health and addiction treatment in 2018 doesn’t come close to meeting the real—and growing—need for care. Grants are not a substitute for health coverage. We don’t rely on grants for the treatment of heart disease or cancer, and addiction and mental health should be no different.

Congress has made incredible strides in advancing access to care for mental illness and addiction in recent years. It is shocking that members of Congress – many of whom have family members who would be affected and all of whom represent constituencies who would be gravely harmed – would even consider a bill that would obliterate these gains, returning us to the days when people with mental illness or addiction couldn’t access treatment.

This is not our vision for America. Slashing billions of Medicaid dollars from state budgets would cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The National Council urges the Senate to vote down this reprehensible bill.

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The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with 2,800 member organizations, it serves more than eight million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. The organization is committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained more than 1 million individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities. To learn more about the National Council, visit the official website.