Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) provide a comprehensive range of mental health and addiction treatment services at a time of unprecedented demand and scarce resources. Eight states are participating in the CCBHC demonstration program authorized by the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act, and 21 states have clinics that have received CCBHC expansion grants. CCBHCs are making a significant impact on access to care.
A survey by the National Council for Behavioral Health showed that in the first year alone, CCBHCs cared for more than 400,000 people with serious mental illness or addiction disorders. Caseloads increased by nearly 25% with expanded staffing and new programs, such as immediate screening and risk assessment, 24/7 crisis services, and expanded care coordination with primary care providers and community-based partners. Many beneficiaries of these expanded capabilities were persons seeking help for the first time. All CCBHCs have either launched new addiction treatment services or expanded their scope of addiction care, with 92% expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders. Without Congressional action by May 22, funding for the CCBHC demonstration program will expire and communities will lose funding needed to continue these significant life-changing services.
We are privileged to be the technology partner for 18 CCBHCs, which serve more than 70,000 individuals through 2.25 million visits to these providers in the past year. One of those CCBHCs is Care Plus NJ, a full-service community behavioral health center founded in 1978 with headquarters in Paramus, N.J. Care Plus NJ provides services for the entire continuum of care spanning residential, conventional outpatient care, individual and group therapy, medication monitoring and more.
Netsmart joined Care Plus NJ and more than 80 other provider participants in a National Council CCBHC Advocacy day March 11 on Capitol Hill to urge passage of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/H.R. 1767). This legislation would extend the current 8-state CCBHC demonstration program and expand it to 11 additional states. We linked with Care Plus NJ staff and board members for meetings with the offices two New Jersey members of Congress, Sen. Bob Menendez and Cong. Albio Sires. The goal was to educate them on the benefits of the CCBHC program and the benefit to the clients served as part of the program. Care Plus NJ provided examples of substantial enhancements in services that have occurred and would be eliminated or curtailed without a CCBHC funding extension:
A survey in 2019 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on key substance use and mental health indicators in the U.S. found that only two-thirds of individuals living with serious mental illness receive behavioral health care. In addition, only one in 10 Americans with an addiction disorder receives treatment within a given year.
Netsmart participated in other Hill meetings and we continue to collaborate with our clients and National Council on further advocacy for this critical legislation.
Lisa Holt, Care Plus NJ board member
Lisa Montuore, Care Plus NJ Associate VP, Hospital Division
Paul Meyer, Care Plus NJ board member
Brigitte Johnson, Care Plus NJ Exec. Sr. VP, External Affairs
Victoria Madden, Care Plus NJ Clinical Director, Outpatient
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