Landmark Legislation Introduced in Support of CCBHCs; GBA to Track Legislation
In pursuit of sustainability for our clients who are Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), Gary Bess Associates (GBA) is following a key piece of legislation that would offer permanent CCBHC certification/designation to these entities, rather than CCBHCs having to competitively re-apply to the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). GBA has observed that some CCBHCs that reapply for funding are not selected for a new award, likely due to the competitive nature of the grant application process, and limited number of awards given out.
For example, in FY 2022, there were 156 awards by SAMHSA to currently funded CCBHCs; yet, in FY 2023 only 62 awards were made. Despite a reduced number of awards, the number of CCBHCs across the nation has sky rocketed from a few hundred to more than 500 in 2022. It is imperative that Congress create a sustainable, reliable funding source for these entities. The work and services of CCBHCs are invaluable to the communities served, and it is challenging for clinics to become CCBHCs given the stringent regulatory requirements for certification. To commit to the rigorous process to become a CCBHC, only to lose funding at the end of the project period, is an injustice.
This new bill, which was introduced in Congress on September 28, 2023, is S. 2993: Ensuring Excellence in Mental Health Act, sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Michigan – D) and co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (Texas – R). The purpose of the bill is to amend the Social Security Act and the Public Health Service Act to permanently authorize certified community behavioral health clinics, among other purposes. The bill will establish CCBHC services as a Medicaid State Plan Option, and will establishing a Medicaid Prospective Payment System for CCBHCs, comparable to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).
On behalf of CCBHC clients, GBA is encouraging them to support this legislation by sending letters to their Congressional representatives where their CCBHCs are located, asking for a yes vote on the bill, should it pass through the review process and make it to vote. The bill was introduced and sent to the Finance Committee, where it is in review at the time of this article posting. Please reach out to Jetta Meadows, MSW, if you would like more information, or would like to participate in GBA’s efforts [email@example.com].
For full text of the bill, in its current draft (as of 10/30/23), please visit: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/118/s2993/text
Citation: “S. 2993 — 118th Congress: Ensuring Excellence in Mental Health Act.” www.GovTrack.us. 2023. October 27, 2023 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/118/s2993”