First round of Clinical Supervision Program grants opens


Aaron Kunkler


The Oregon Health Authority has opened its first round of solicitations for the clinical supervision program, intended to provide financial awards to expand clinical supervision for behavioral health providers working towards receiving a license.


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The program is especially geared toward Tribal members, members of Black communities and other communities of color, and those who identify as LGBTQ+. The program was created following the passage of HB 2949, which provides $20 million in grants to support supervised clinical experience to associates or others who already have the required education, but still require supervised clinical experience to obtain a license to practice. The first round of grants will provide $3.5 million for community mental health programs, and $3.5 million for private behavioral health providers, according to a press release from the Oregon Primary Care Office.

HB 2949 requires the Health Authority to provide ways to increase recruitment and retention of mental health care workers, including pipeline development, scholarships, loan repayment and retention activities. The funding for these loans will go to licensed practitioners to pay for the cost of providing supervision in a private practice to help those seeking qualifications get licensed. The grants can be distributed for providers who practice in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, clinical social work, behavioral health disciplines as prescribed by the law.

In total, the bill provides $20 million for the biennium budget which began this July. It provides $7 million to county mental health programs, another $7 million to private practitioners, and $6 million for the authority to spend as needed to facilitate the program. The bill also provides another $60 million for employers to increase recruitment and retention in the behavioral health care workforce.

During 2021, the legislature invested a total of $474.4 million into a behavioral health bill package. Some $121 million went to certified community behavioral health clinics, which provide mental health and substance abuse treatment regardless of insurance coverage, according to previous coverage. Another $130 million was set aside to increase capacity for licensed residential facilities for people with behavioral health needs.