HHS Awards Planning Grants to 15 States for Medicaid-Funded Behavioral Health Clinic Demonstration

This week, HHS announced that it awarded 15 states each with $1 million, one-year Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) planning grants in support of state efforts to join the Medicaid-funded CCBHC demonstration program. Awardees include: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

As we’ve previously written about on Say Ahhh!, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act included a number of provisions related to Medicaid and mental health including a provision expanding the Medicaid-funded Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program nationally and providing HHS with $40 million in funding for purposes of awarding planning grants and providing technical assistance to states.

By way of background, the CCBHC Medicaid demonstration was created in 2014 under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act to provide demonstration states with enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds (equal to the CHIP matching rate) for services provided to individuals covered by Medicaid at CCBHCs. As part of the demonstration, states are also required to establish prospective payment systems for Medicaid services delivered at the CCBHC and ensure the clinics meet federal standards for a range of services like providing 24-hour crisis services and routine outpatient care, ensuring that services for children and youth are family-centered, youth-guided, and developmentally appropriate, and serving anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay. (A full list of the latest CCBHC criteria which was also released this week can be found here).

Initially limited to 8 states (and subsequently expanded to 10 states), the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act opened the demonstration up to all interested states under a phased-in approach under which 10 new states will be allowed to participate in the four-year demonstration every two years, starting in 2024. Announcement of this new round of planning grants, which haven’t been available since the program began in 2015, is the first major step in the national expansion of the demonstration program.

As highlighted in the announcement, up to 10 of the 15 states that received planning grants will be eligible to participate in the CCBHC demonstration program and receive enhanced federal Medicaid funding in 2024 with states having another chance to join the CCBHC demonstration in 2026. The announcement also notes that this is the first of two rounds of planning grant awards with another notice of funding opportunity to award 15 additional states with planning grants expected in fiscal year 2024.

For the full award announcement from HHS, click here.

Anne Dwyer is an Associate Research Professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families.