CMHC: Health Organizations Applaud Lawmakers for Enacting Critical Mental Health Legislation

Monday, March 21, 2022 at 3:54 PM

By Community Mental Health Center, news release

HEA 1222 continues a critical grant program that has expanded access to urgently needed mental health and substance use disorder treatment services.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law Thursday, March 10, House Enrolled Act 1222, legislation that will continue a critical grant program that has expanded access to urgently needed mental health and substance use disorder treatment services across the State of Indiana.

The program is known as the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (or CCBHC) program. CCBHCs are designed to provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services to vulnerable individuals, with an emphasis on the provision of 24-hour crisis care, utilization of evidence-based practices, care coordination, and integration with physical health care.

In Indiana, there currently are 18 CCBHC grantees throughout the state that are recipients of federal grants designed to jumpstart the CCBHC program. Initial outcomes for patients and communities served by Community Mental Health Center, Inc. are promising for the future of the initiative in CMHC’s service area, which encompasses Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland counties in Southeastern Indiana. HEA 1222 will help CMHC build on these successes.

“Around the State, our community providers have seen demand for services skyrocket,” said Zoe Frantz, Chief Executive Officer for the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers. “That’s why announcement of Governor Holcomb signing the CCBHC legislation into law is such incredible news for the continued work of these programs and the people they serve every day. Ultimately, this program gives providers more tools to ensure that those in need will get the help they need when they reach out.”

According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, CCBHCs have played a transformative role in addressing workforce shortages, creating a more integrated care delivery system, and ensuring providers meet quality metrics. Providers advocating for HEA 1222 see the legislation as an opportunity to provide better access and higher quality care throughout the state.

“Nationwide, 2020 was the deadliest year on record for fatal overdoses. Drug overdose deaths continue to be on the rise according to a report released in January by the CDC. In Indiana, our numbers reported this past year rose by 23.4%, higher than the national increase of 15.9%.” said Suzanne Koesel, Regional Chief Executive Officer for Centerstone and Board President for the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers.

“On one hand we have this urgent, growing need for services. On the other hand, we have less workforce to meet that demand. Programs such as CCBHCs give community behavioral health agencies more tools successfully recruit and retain additional staff members as well as resources to ensure that consumers have access to critical, evidence-based services,” said Ms. Koesel.

Greg Duncan, President & Chief Executive Officer of Community Mental Health Center, Inc., said CMHC now is in the second year of its first two-year CCBHC grant. CMHC has developed a number of initiatives coming out of this grant funding, including expanded primary care services, mobile crisis services, and assertive community-based treatment services for some of the agency’s most vulnerable patients.

“We are working toward integration of behavioral health care and primary health care as we continue development of our CCBHC grant,” said Mr. Duncan. “We want to help patients of all ages in our communities by offering services that will meet their health and wellness needs now and in the future.”

Behavioral health advocacy organizations throughout the State also are pleased to see HEA 1222 signed into law by Governor Holcomb.

“The legislation that has been signed into law requires the state to develop a plan for the expansion of the CCBHC program by November 1, 2022,” said Steve McCaffrey, Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health America of Indiana. “The behavioral health community has already seen demonstrable results from the CCBHC program and looks forward to supporting the Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) in developing a statewide infrastructure that meets the growing need for mental health services in Indiana.”

“We are grateful for the leadership of Representative Cindy Ziemke, Representative Ann Vermilion, Senator Mike Crider, and other members of the Indiana General Assembly, the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, and Governor Holcomb for the passage of this critical mental health legislation,” said Mr. McCaffrey.

For more information about CCBHCs, please visit the website of the CCBHC Success Center at https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/ccbhc-success-center/ccbhcta-overview/.

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