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CCBHC Expiration Presents “A Looming Crisis” for Addiction Care

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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

CCBHC Expiration Presents “A Looming Crisis” for Addiction Care

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Since launching in mid-2017, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) have dramatically improved access to community-based addiction care in the eight states where they operate, particularly opioid addiction services. CCBHCs have hired hundreds of new addiction-focused clinicians, expanded medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other addiction services, and reduced patient wait times. However, with the CCBHC program set to end in mid-2019, access to lifesaving treatment could be lost. A new National Council report shows that the end of the CCBHC demonstration would result in massive program closures, staff layoffs and reduced addiction treatment access for patients. The National Council is calling on Congress to act quickly to extend the life of this critical program.

Due to the passage of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act, sixty-six CCBHCs launched in eight states (MN, MO, NV, NJ, NY, OK, OR, PA) starting in 2017. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) were designed to fill the gaps in the unmet need for addiction and mental health care and expand access to comprehensive, community-based treatment. Early results from the program clearly show how the model has positively impacted clinics’ addiction service array, quality, delivery and workforce.

LOOMING CRISIS

Now our communities face a looming crisis in access to care with the CCBHC demonstration set to end on March 31, 2019 in Oregon and Oklahoma and June 30, 2019 in Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. According to a new National Council survey of CCBHCs, the end of the CCBHC program means:

  • 9,100 patients will lose access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • 3,000 clinicians and staff will be laid off
  • 77% of CCBHCs will have to re-establish waitlists for services
  • 81% of CCBHCs will be forced to close programs and services
  • 55% of CCBHCs will be forced to turn people away from care
  • CCBHCs will have to halt newly-formed partnerships with law enforcement, hospitals and primary care clinics

The CCBHC model advances addiction care by establishing a sound fiscal footing for certified clinics, reimbursing them for the full range of required addiction services and enabling them to expand service lines and patient caseloads to begin to address the unmet need in their communities. Unfortunately, under current law, the demonstration is limited to eight states over just two years and the two-year timeframe means that current CCBHCs will see their progress in expanding access to addiction and mental health care stripped away when the program ends.

ACTION NEEDED

Congressional action is needed to authorize an extension of the scope and length of the CCBHC demonstration. The National Council urges Congress to take quick action to extend the life of this critical addiction treatment program by passing the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 1905/H.R. 3931). To urge your representatives in Congress to expand the CCBHC program, click here.

Read the full survey report: A Looming Crisis Threatens Access to Opioid Addiction Care.

©2018 National Council for Behavioral Health. All Rights Reserved.
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