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Shelley Starkey

Push to Expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Continues

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The National Council for Behavioral Health has been at the forefront of developing a national model for mental health and addiction treatment called Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), created under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. CCBHCs have been filling the gap in the unmet need for addiction care, supporting local criminal justice systems by providing effective diversion and reentry solutions, and increasing access to evidence-based behavioral health treatment across the country. As the end of the CCBHC demonstration looms, the National Council remains committed to expanding this critical and effective model.

THE PATH FORWARD FOR CCBHCS

Demonstration Expiration: The CCBHC Medicaid demonstration is set to end on March 31, 2019 in Oregon and Oklahoma, and on June 30, 2019 in Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania should Congress fail to act and extend the program. The result will be program closures, staff layoffs, and reduced mental health and addiction treatment access for patients with the greatest need. However, hope remains as Congressional champions of the CCBHC model are set to introduce expansion legislation next week.

Bill Introduction: On Thursday March 14, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) are expected to introduce legislation to extend and expand the CCBHC initiative. The bill is expected to add two years to the demonstration in the existing eight states while adding 11 more states to this groundbreaking program. These legislative champions will host a press conference to mark the introduction and are inviting constituents from CCBHCs to help draw attention to this important initiative. Upon introduction, nearly two dozen bipartisan legislators are expected to sign on as original co-sponsors in support of extending and expanding the program.

Supporting Partners: Over 100 local, state and national level organizations have stepped forward to advocate for this legislative effort to expand CCBHCs, spanning a wide range from the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Families USA to the New York State Sheriffs Association and the Mayors of the Cities Thrive Mental Health Coalition led by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray.

Press: National and local publications and news outlets have reported on the CCBHC program’s positive impact and the impending deadlines including the Washington Post, POLITICO, The Hill, TheChronicle.Com (serving northeast Oregon).

How Can You Help?: The National Council will continue its push for Congress to support the extension and expansion of CCBHCs, and you can help. Reach out to your legislators to encourage their support for CCBHCs and bring your stories of how the new model has made an impact on you or your community. Every letter, every tweet, every Facebook post, every phone call, and every email makes a difference. Keep up to date with the latest on CCBHCs with the Capitol Connector each week to learn how you can use your voice to help expand this successful program.