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Shelley Starkey

Advocates Head to Capitol Hill in Support of CCBHCs

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On Wednesday, the National Council hosted nearly 90 advocates from 20 states to continue the legislative momentum to extend and expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program. The CCBHC Medicaid demonstration is currently operating in 8 states with clinics in 13 additional states receiving grant funding to implement the CCBHC model. The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/ H.R. 1767) would extend the demonstration in the original 8 states for two years, while expanding the program to the other 11 that applied but were not originally selected. The CCBHC program is currently set to expire on May 22, 2019 without Congressional action.

Equipped with the National Council’s newly-released report, “Hope for the Future: CCBHCs Expanding Mental Health and Addiction Treatment,” advocates met with over 100 Congressional offices to urge extension and expansion of the program. The report highlights the early impact of CCBHCs as they change the way mental health and addiction treatment services are provided, such as the following:

  • CCBHCs have expanded their patient caseloads by an average of 25%, making inroads against the high levels of unmet need that leave 90% of Americans with an addiction and 67% of those with a mental illness without access to services.
  • Nearly all CCBHCs (84%) offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), an evidence-based treatment modality that is largely considered the gold standard of addiction treatment when paired with counseling services.
  • CCBHCs are reducing the burden on jails, first responders, hospitals and emergency departments by providing around-the-clock crisis care and intensive services designed to reduce recidivism and hospital readmission.
  • CCBHCs are improving outreach and access to care for veterans, with 64% of CCBHCs expanding services to veterans.
  • CCBHC clients report a 61.6% reduction in hospitalization and a 62.1% reduction in emergency department visits.

To bolster advocates’ messages, the National Council also hosted a Congressional staff briefing featuring stories from Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) as well as Kim Scorza, President/CEO, Seasons Center for Behavioral Health, Spencer, Iowa, Kelly S. Rowe, Sheriff, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department, Lubbock, Texas, and Stacy Care, Certified Recovery Specialist, Centerstone, Indianapolis, Indiana.