CCBHCs increased number of individuals receiving care by an average of 10%
WASHINGTON, DC (October 6, 2021) – Amidst widespread staffing shortages and other workforce challenges across the mental health and substance use treatment system, new data released by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing found the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model enables clinics to hire more staff to respond to surging demand for services, in addition to expanding access to treatment and reducing emergency department visits. The data reflects outcomes in the eight original demonstration states following the 2017 launch of the innovative health care delivery model.
These data are the first to consider the full scope and lifetime of the eight-state demonstration program from 2017-2021. This is a key metric when evaluating the model’s effectiveness, as clinics typically spend much of the first year putting new infrastructure into place to meet program requirements. It also comes on the heels of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found CCBHCs are proven to increase the number of individuals receiving care and provide an increased array of services in their communities.
“State officials in the demonstration program credit the CCBHC model and its funding for allowing them to build the system capacity and infrastructure required to meet rising levels of need. These data further reinforce that CCBHCs work – they expand access, reduce emergency department visits, enable clinics to hire more staff and reduce the burden of response for law enforcement,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.
“But right now, not every organization that wants to adopt the model has the option to do so. This must change. Every community deserves access to high-quality care and the expanded services CCBHCs uniquely provide, and every clinic that wants to become a CCBHC deserves the chance to adopt the model. We urge Congress to include the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021 in the reconciliation package. The legislation would allow any state the option to apply to join the CCBHC demonstration program and establish a payment rate that covers the real cost of expanding access.”
Key highlights from the National Council’s survey of state CCBHC officials:
- The CCBHC demonstration increased access to mental health and substance use care, largely due to increased availability of same-day appointments, expanded hours of operation facilitated by increased hiring and concerted efforts to conduct outreach to underserved groups.
- States reported reductions in emergency department and hospital visits among CCBHC clients, leading to cost offsets.
- The CCBHC demonstration helped states mitigate the effects of the mental health and substance use service workforce shortage by enabling clinics to hire and retain vital staff.
- The CCBHC demonstration increased access to a comprehensive, evidence-based services to curb the opioid crisis, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the gold standard of care.
- The CCBHC demonstration resulted in improved integration of physical care with mental health and substance use treatment, with CCBHC sites in some states exceeding program requirements to offer onsite primary care services.
The findings in this report were primarily based on semi-structured interviews with state officials from the eight states participating in the CCBHC demonstration; review of reports, program data and other documents shared by state officials; and review of other publicly available evaluation reports on the CCBHC program.
Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of nearly 3,500 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.