HHS awards up to $22.9 million in grants for community behavioral health clinics

Oct. 20, 2015

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in conjunction with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), today awarded a total of $22.9 million to support states throughout the nation in their efforts to improve behavioral health of their citizens by providing community-based mental and substance use disorder treatment.

“The planning grants will help states strengthen payment for behavioral health services for Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) beneficiaries, and will help individuals with mental and substance use disorders obtain the healthcare they need to maintain their health and well-being” says Vikki Wachino, Deputy Administrator, CMS, and Director, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services.

Authorized under Section 223 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, the planning grants are part of a comprehensive effort to integrate behavioral health with physical healthcare, utilize evidence-based practices on a more consistent basis, and improve access to high quality care.  The planning grants will be used to support states to certify community behavioral health clinics, solicit input from stakeholders, establish prospective payment systems for demonstration reimbursable services, and prepare an application to participate in the demonstration program.

The criteria used to certify community behavioral health clinics emphasize high quality and evidence based practices.  Populations to be served are adults with serious mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbance, and those with long term and serious substance use disorders, as well as others with mental illness and substance use disorders.

“We see this program as a game changer in our efforts to improve care, quality, and access to services,” says Kana Enomoto, Acting Administrator, SAMHSA. “Today’s awards will assist states in working closely with community clinics to bring together essential behavioral health services, integrate primary care services and improve quality and data reporting systems.”

The planning grants are the first phase of a two-phase process.  When the planning grant phase ends in Oct. 2016, awardees will have an opportunity to apply to participate in a two-year demonstration program that will begin Jan. 2017.  Under the demonstration program, no more than eight states with certified community behavioral health clinics will provide behavioral health services to eligible beneficiaries and be paid using an approved prospective payment system.

For more information on the Planning Grants for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, visit: