National Council Member Testifies in Support of Extending CCBHCs
On Tuesday, Mary-Catherine Bohan of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), a National Council member and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in support of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/ H.R. 1767). The legislation would extend the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid demonstration program in its original eight states for two years and expand the program to 11 other states that applied but were not originally selected. The CCBHC program is set to expire on June 30th, 2019 if Congress does not act.
Entitled “Investing in America’s Healthcare,” the hearing covered public health care topics ranging from diabetes to individuals and families with special needs. Mary-Catherine Bohan shared the second panel with witnesses including Thomas Barker, Michael Waldrum, and Fred Riccardi, all testifying to support extending important Medicaid and Medicare programs.
During her testimony, Bohan illustrated the vital need to extend the CCBHC program funding beyond the June 30th deadline by highlighting the successes achieved by Rutgers UBHC: “For Rutgers, CCBHCs have been the vehicle that has allowed us to finally offer integrated services and provide holistic care to those we serve.” Bohan shared a few key highlights of how the CCBHC model has benefitted patients:
- Rutgers UBHC increased the number of individuals served from 3,300 to 5,000 in the first year of the CCBHC program, an increase of over 65 percent.
- Prior to the CCBHC program, 30 individuals received medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for their opioid use disorder. Rutgers UBHC has since tripled this number.
- The average wait time for first appointment was 21 days, with a 50 percent no-show rate before becoming a CCBHC. UBHC now offers same day/next day access—now their no-show rate is 24 percent, and is still falling.
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), a lead sponsor of the bill, also emphasized the integral role of CCBHCs in providing integrated health care, highlighting that CCBHCs across the country have reported similar successes in drastically reducing wait times and increasing the scope of their MAT services. Matsui, citing the recent National Council survey of CCBHCs, stated the “results offer hope in our nation’s battle against the opioid epidemic.”
Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) offered their support for the bill, especially in regards to addressing the opioid crisis. During her closing statement, Chairwoman Eshoo addressed Mary-Catherine Bohan individually, applauding UBHC’s success: “The numbers in your program are really stunning…that’s exactly what we need in our country.”
Watch the full hearing here.
As Bohan emphasized in her testimony, “We cannot go back to business as usual.” Congress has until the end of June to work to extend and expand the CCBHC program. While Committee members on both sides of the aisle demonstrated their commitment to extending the CCBHC funding, the National Council asks all advocates to reach out and speak up in support of CCBHCs. Taking action is easy – just click here!