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Dale Jarvis

Dale Jarvis and Associates

BHCOE’s – What’s next?

April 15, 2014 | Community Impact | Comments
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what's next for behavioral health centers of excellence?

Last year the Stanford Social Innovation Review published a great piece, The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Strategy. The authors provide a brief history of strategic planning (2,000 years on the battle field; post-World War II in business), followed by two important points:

“The world has become a more turbulent place, where anyone with a new idea can put it into action before you can say ‘startup’ and launch widespread movements with a single Tweet.”

“To provide structure to this fluid approach” [you should focus on four questions related to]: “what vision you want to pursue, how you will make a difference, how you will succeed, and what capabilities it will take to get there.”

This is the spirit in which we began our behavioral health centers of excellence (BHCOE) crowdsourcing project. Our intent has been to work with BH365 blog readers to create a new nomenclature for the American Community Behavioral Health Center – a center of excellence that is known by the entire community as a great place to get care and a great place to work – and then identify what it will take to get there – the BHCOE elements.

Well, life has unfolded in exciting ways once again with the recent passage of the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which calls for the creation of “Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics”.

What does this have to do with BHCOEs? Quite a lot, actually.

You see, the BHCOE concept came out of the session Chuck Ingoglia and I did on Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Centers (FQBHCs) at the 2010 National Council Conference in Orlando. We saw FQBHCs as an important strategy for achieving parity with Federally Qualified Health Centers, creating a parallel structure to result in a single set of national standards that would serve as a blueprint for the Community Behavioral Healthcare Organization of the future.

What was in our 2010 picture of that national set of standards? All of the elements of a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) and most of the criteria for the new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC), including:



  • Easy Access
  • Availability and Accessibility
  • Comprehensive Care
  • Broad Scope of Services
  • Excellent Outcomes
  • Quality and Outcomes Reporting
  • World Class Customer Service
  • Coordinate Care Across Settings

What’s next for the behavioral health delivery system?

We have approximately eighteen months to up our game in order to be ready for the $25 million in state planning grants for developing applications to participate in the 2-year CCBHC demonstration programs that will be awarded to eight states to implement Medicaid Prospective Payment for these comprehensive services.

Centers need to be ready to hit the ground running so that their state’s planning grant application will be deep with substance, and for those states awarded grants, centers will have to be ready to succeed fabulously as representatives of the rest of the centers around the county. Success will likely lead to expansion on a national level, resulting in true parity at the delivery system level, including the likelihood of expansion of the funding that will be awarded to the pilot states.

How does your center up its game?

  1. Continue your participation in the online crowdsourcing effort.
  2. Join us at the BHCOE workshops at the 2014 National Council Conference in Washington, D.C., May 5-7.
  3. Get a copy of the final BHCOE Concept Paper when it is released at the Conference.
  4. Spread the word to your colleagues about the linkage between BHCOEs and CCBHCs.

But most importantly, begin to develop a strategy to ensure that your center is known by the entire community as a great place to get care and a great place to work.