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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

Senate Leaders Call for CCBHC Extension & Expansion

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On Friday, bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee reached an agreement on a 2-year extension and more than doubling the current program by adding 11 additional states to the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid program. This agreement was announced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), lead negotiators on the year-end package of health care bills.

Over the program’s two years, CCBHCs have dramatically improved access to care, strengthened the response to the opioid crisis, and significantly reduced appointment wait times. Through CCBHCs, access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and emergency psychiatric services have saved lives and reduced hospital emergency department utilization. Patients have received highly effective community-based treatment instead of incarceration in county jails, placement in homeless shelters, and crisis psychiatric services.

While this agreement on CCBHCs is an exciting development, it is still very early in its progress toward being enacted into law. The package must still be voted on by both the House and Senate before going to President Trump for his signature.

In a statement, the National Council’s President and CEO, Chuck Ingoglia, highlighted the importance of extending and expanding the CCBHC program:

“We applaud the members of Congress who worked so hard on this agreement to fund and expand our nation’s CCBHCs. Extending and expanding this successful program is vitally important to people who rely on the mental health and addiction services provided by CCBHCs…

We want to applaud the leadership of those responsible for championing the CCBHC program – Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Greg Walden (R-OR) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ).”

Also included in this package are extensions of Money Follows the Person, funding for the Puerto Rico Medicaid program, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as a delay of disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) payment cuts, among others.