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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Draft Block Grant Application Outlines Changes in Use of Funds; National Council Releases Summary

February 5, 2015 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Proposed changes in next year’s block grant application could affect the way funds are used for addiction and mental health services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s draft of the FY2016-2017 Block Grant application introduces several important changes from prior years, including placing greater emphasis on data collection and integration while also introducing a provision that would allow the Substance Abuse and Prevention Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant to be used to cover co-payments for people in substance use treatment.

The National Council has released a summary of the draft application. Highlights from the summary include:

  • A detailed outline of where block grant funds should be directed, including: priority treatment and support for individuals without insurance or those not covered by Medicare or Medicaid; primary prevention for persons not identified as needing treatment; and to collect performance and outcome data to determine the ongoing effectiveness of behavioral health promotion.
  • A reminder from SAMHSA on the restrictions on the use of block grant funds, including cash payments to intended recipients of health services and providing financial assistance to any entity other than a public or nonprofit entity.
  • An initial draft set of quality measures are being discussed with states and other stakeholders. States must identify its current and future capacity to report these measures, types of adjustment to current and future state-level data collection efforts necessary to submit the new streamlined performance measures, technical assistance needed to make those adjustments, and perceived or actual barriers to such data collection and reporting.

Comments are due to SAMHSA by March 9, 2015 and can be submitted via email to The National Council will be submitting comments on the draft application; please contact us at if you would like to share your thoughts on what should be included in our comments.

Mental Health Block Grant-only applications are due no later than September 1, 2015.  SAPT Block Grant-only applications are due no later than October 1, 2015.  A combined application for MHBG and SAPT funding is due no later than September 1, 2015.