Thirteen Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) in Michigan will be fully funded by Medicaid this month in the same way as community health centers are funded for physical care, according to a recent press conference. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will also allocate $26.5 million state and federal dollars to support all CCBHCs.
The initiative will allow for a sustainable flow of funding to these CCBHCs, which will allow CCBHCs to plan for future expansions, reduce jail time for those in crisis, and create job security for providers.
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The press conference included Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, and Elizabeth Hertel, director of MDHHS. Hertel said:
“Everybody deserves access to quality, affordable health care when and where they need it. And it is just as important that someone have access to care to treat behavioral health as it is to treat physical health. … I’m excited about the expansion of this program and the potentially life changing, or even lifesaving, benefits it will provide to people across this state.”
CCBHCs are integrated health centers which provide mental health, substance use treatment, and physical health to all, regardless of the ability to pay. Michigan’s demonstration project for CCBHCs started Oct. 1, with 33 total CCBHCs in the state in 18 service areas.
CCBHCs are federally qualified and are required to offer specific services to receive grants and funding. These nine required services include 24/7 crisis intervention services, outpatient mental health, substance use, and primary care screenings, and targeted case management.
Nancy Baum, health policy director for the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT), said the sustainable flow of funding to CCBHCs was most important and imperative. Baum said CCBHCs were having to “chase grants” to receive funding to keep the clinics open.
This sustainable flow of funding will allow for providers to feel comfortable working in CCBHCs, knowing they have job security. Baum said it will also allow them to plan for the future of expanding services and creating lasting and efficient teams.
“When you have sustained funding, you can say ‘we are investing in you’ [to employees] and we [can] have predictable services for our community. Sustained funding allows for planning, and it allows for organizations to think about how [they] can do what [they] do even better, instead of spending all their energy just looking for sustainable funding.”
Baum said CCBHCs continue to struggle with workforce shortages, and anything they can do to retain or recruit health care professionals should be considered. The basic intervention — like job security — is very important to addressing this workforce crisis, said Baum.
Medicaid will reimburse the CCBHCs for what their costs actually are versus what the state or federal government thinks their costs should be, said Baum. This cost-based reimbursement will allow the CCBHCs to stay afloat and provide the best services for their patients.
“Today is a monumental moment. This is the most significant step forward we have taken in decades to transform how we deliver behavioral health services in our community. No person struggling with mental health issues or addiction should ever go without the treatment they need because grant funding runs out. Health care is health care – whether it is above the neck or below the neck. That’s why I have been so dedicated to creating a way to fund all health care needs as part of our health care system. Now we are finally making that a reality.”