June 3, 2024

RI Congressional Delegation Announces $40.7 Million to Expand Behavioral & Mental Health Services

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, along with Congressmen Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo, today announced that Rhode Island is projected to receive $40.7 million in federal funding over the next two years to improve access to behavioral and mental health services.  The federal funding is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center Program, or CCBHC.

The CCBHC model provides integrated mental health, substance use disorder, behavioral health, and medical care as well as 24/7 access to crisis intervention services.  Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics aim to swiftly treat any patient in need of care, regardless of diagnosis or insurance status.  CCBHCs are specially designated mental health clinics that must meet rigorous federal standards, providing 24/7 crisis services, and delivering developmentally appropriate care to children and youth.  They must meet strict criteria for staffing, availability and accessibility of services, care coordination, scope of services, quality and other reporting and organizational authority.

Last year, Rhode Island was awarded a $1 million planning grant to lay the groundwork for expansion into the CCBHC Demonstration program, which provides reimbursement through Medicaid for the full cost of services that CCBHCs provide, at higher, more competitive rates than community mental health centers previously received for Medicaid eligible individuals. This sustainable funding also ensures CCBHCs can provide a more comprehensive range of services rather than fragmented services driven by separate billing codes.

“This designation and the accompanying federal funding will strengthen the state’s network of mental health care and substance use treatment centers.  It will ensure more Rhode Islanders – especially those experiencing severe mental health issues or addiction disorders — can access the timely support and treatment they need,” stated Reed, Whitehouse, Magaziner, and Amo in a joint statement.  “The state can use this federal funding to help expand access to integrated, evidenced-based addiction and mental health services to meet the needs of people in their communities.”

In addition to Rhode Island, the nine other states entering into the CCBHC Demonstration Program are: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Vermont.  They join eight other states already implementing the program: Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Oregon, which were added between 2017 and 2021. 

According to HHS, CCBHCs have been shown to reduce homelessness and substance use among the people they serve and decrease use of emergency rooms and hospitalization.  

The new federal funds are made available under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a major public safety and mental health package that Senators Reed and Whitehouse helped pass in 2022 and was signed into law by President Joe Biden. 

CCBHCs must ensure access to a comprehensive range of services, providing care coordination when needed and incorporating evidence-based practices and other supports based on a community needs assessment.  This includes crisis services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. CCBHCs are also required to provide routine outpatient care within 10 business days.

In 2017, the first CCBHCs were funded under Medicaid, with 67 clinics operating across eight states. Today, there are more than 500 CCBHCs across 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, most of which are supported through SAMHSA’s CCBHC Expansion Grant program.

To learn how to get support for mental health, drug or alcohol issues, visit FindSupport.gov.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921