Early Results from the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Pilot Shows Increases in Services and Workforce

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The National Council released early results for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration Pilot program that officially launched in 2017. Found in eight states, including New York, this program is meant to bring expanded access to a more comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services to individuals with untreated severe mental illness or addiction. CCBHC services emphasize 24-hour crisis care, utilization of evidence-based practices, care coordination, and integration with physical health care. CCBHCs receive an enhanced Medicaid reimbursement rate based on their anticipated costs of expanding their services.

Operations at the CCBHC sites began in April and July 2017. Surveys on the initial impacts were administered in November 2017 with 70% of participating CCBHCs responding. The findings show expanded access and increased range of services. According to a responding CCBHC site there is an “overall improvement in service quality – our services are more comprehensive, client-centered and trauma-informed than they were prior to CCBHC”.

The results show a key goal of the CCBHC initiative, the increased ability to expand workforce, is being met. 100% of sites reported the hiring of new staff for a total of 1,160 new staff nationwide. The CCBHCs noted the ability to hire qualified staff at a competitive rate of compensation helped clinics both recruit and retain the staff needed for expanded services.

With the growing opioid crisis, expanding addiction treatment is another key component of the CCBHC demonstration. 85.1% of the CCBHCs reported that the new staff hired had an addiction specialty or that they were able to train existing staff in new addiction-focused competencies, increasing their opioid treatment capacity. Over half of the reporting CCBHCs trained their staff or community partners in the administration of naloxone. Additionally, the CCBHCs were able to implement screening protocols for opioid use disorder and have begun offering or expanding their Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs.

Capacity for delivery services such as crisis care, veteran services, and implementing new technologies improved and broadened through the CCBHC demonstration. Over 70% of reporting CCBHCs have been able to adopt technologies such as electronic health records (EHR) upgrades, mobile apps, web platforms, and telehealth. While these and other innovations are known to improve outcomes, many of these activities had not been reimbursable previously and thus not widely used.

Because of the demonstration the capacity to hire outreach workers and care coordinators has expanded. This has enhanced the ability of the CCBHCs to improve outreach within the communities they serve and collaborate more closely with partner organizations. 78.7% of CCBHCs report improved outreach. A survey respondent commented that “CCBHC [status] has provided the opportunity for us to collaborate more closely with hospital partners and opioid overdose recovery programs creating a horizontally integrated community treatment system”.

The newly implemented “no turn away” policies and same-day access protocols have increased the number of clients that CCBHCs are seeing. This, along with  nearly 50% increase in new programs, service lines, locations, and the expanded reach with mobile units continues to positively impact the communities served by CCBHCs. One respondent reported “because we are now getting better results with our clients, our community values us more than ever”.

Source: Early Results Show Expanded Access to Care, Increased Scope of Services by National Council November 18, 2017