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Innovative one-stop-shops for behavioral health care face uncertain future

Federal pilot ends in July; action required for successful model to continue

4/18/2019 11:03:39 AM

A successful new mental health program and five others like it are at risk . Today, state officials visited one of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) to highlight the value of the model, which combines substance use disorder treatment, mental health care and a range of other services under one roof.

The clinics need federal approval, and matching federal funds, to continue operating after the demonstration period ends on June 30. Governor Tim Walz has proposed moving CCBHCs from a demonstration project to an on-going Medicaid-reimbursable service model, allowing for expansion beyond the six demonstration sites.

Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey and State Rep. Robert Bierman of Apple Valley toured People Incorporated’s Stark Mental Health Clinic in Minneapolis to see one of the models in action and to hear from staff about the impact it is having.

“CCBHCs are in many ways the future of mental and chemical health care, because they offer a wide range of services together in one place,” said Lourey. “It is critical that patients not only receive the care and services they need, but that their care and services are coordinated. That’s the beauty of CCBHCs—they provide a high level of coordination between providers, social services agencies, counties and other key resources, which helps to ensure the best possible results for each individual.”

Before CCBHCs, rarely could someone obtain both mental health and substance use disorder treatment through the same agency. A person with a mental illness or substance use disorder typically would need to work with several providers to obtain different levels and types of care.

Stark Mental Health Clinic, on the other hand, provides a comprehensive set of mental health and substance use disorder services for both children and adults, including screening, assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning, outpatient and rehabilitative services.

“People Incorporated is proud to be providing a truly integrated service model through our CCBHC initiative;  delivering care as it should be to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Jill Wiedemann-West, CEO of People Incorporated.

During their visit to Stark Mental Health Clinic, the state officials heard about promising results statewide from CCBHCs, which served more than 17,000 children and adults in the first year of the pilot. Early results show improved access to care, reduced wait times, improved coordination, expanded scope of services and improved ability to meet individual needs.

“It is critical that CCBHCs not only continue, but expand to more areas to serve more people in need,” said Lourey. “CCBHCs need to become one of the foundations of our mental health system.”

The 2014 federal Excellence in Mental Health Act established an eight-state demonstration project to test the CCBHC model. The 2015 Minnesota legislature provided funding to support planning and, in December 2016, Minnesota was chosen to be one of eight states to pilot CCBHCs.

Minnesota’s six CCBHC pilot sites are:

  • People Incorporated in the Twin Cities metro area
  • Northern Pines Mental Health Center in the north-central part of the state
  • Northwestern Mental Health Center, serving seven northwest counties
  • Wilder Mental Health and Wellness in the Twin Cities metro area
  • Ramsey County Mental Health Center in the Twin Cities metro area
  • Zumbro Valley Health Center in Olmstead and Fillmore counties in southeast Minnesota.

Additional providers are interested and ready to start providing CCBHC services, but current state law only allows the existing six clinics to continue operating under this model and payment structure after the federal demonstration period ends.

Congress recently approved grant funding to support two additional CCBHCs in Minnesota—Western Mental Health Center in Marshall and the Human Development Center in Duluth—but only for two years. State legislation will be needed for these two additional CCBHCs to continue after the grant funding runs out.

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