Gary Bess Associates (GBA) congratulates our long-time client, Chinatown Services Center, for its recent approval of $4M in funding awarded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for implementation of a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). GBA played a role in the drafting of the CCBHC proposal to SAMHSA and will serve as evaluators on the project. Chinatown Services Center is a non-profit community health center, social services center, and youth center located in Los Angeles serving vulnerable populations for nearly 50 years, including immigrants and the uninsured. With SAMHSA funding, Chinatown Services Center will implement a CCBHC at its current site in Alhambra. The $4M grant, awarded in May 2020, is for two years. Services will begin by September 1, 2020.
A CCBHC is a new model of care, or Medicaid (Medi-Cal) provider type, for the delivery of behavioral health care, as established by Section 223 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA). The goal is to establish behavioral health clinics that are eligible to receive enhanced Medicaid reimbursements, similar to the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) program. Besides being eligible for enhanced reimbursement, CCBHCs are different than clinics that provide behavioral health services because there are nine (9) mandated services to which a CCBHC must adhere. The most critical service is a 24-hour crisis and suicide intervention/crisis stabilization services in partnership with law enforcement, hospital emergency departments, and inpatient psych facilities. Care coordination is also key to the CCBHC program, as this strategy provides a comprehensive, wide-array of care/services to meet the needs of consumers with complex, multi-faceted conditions. Additional required services include targeted case management; outpatient mental health and substance use disorder services; psychiatric rehabilitation services; peer and family support services; services for members of the armed forces and veterans; primary care screening and monitoring; screening, assessment, and diagnosis; and patient-centered treatment planning. Like the FQHC program, partnerships and collaborations are needed to successfully implement the CCBHC program.
While there are more than 200 CCBHCs operating in 33 states, there currently are no established CCBHCs operating in California. Chinatown Services Center, along with four (4) additional new California CCBHC grantees, are the first CCBHCs to be established in the state. GBA anticipated that the CCBHC program will prove to be a successful model for the delivery of behavioral healthcare, especially for organizations already established as FQHCs and already providing behavioral healthcare services. Because there are no CCBHCs established in California, the state offers no formal “certification.” However, CCBHCs in California must still meet all “certification” criteria, as outlined in the federal guidelines, through an “attestation” process. GBA is pleased to be assisting Chinatown Services Center with this complex process; criteria for certification or attestation must be met within four months of award.