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On April 1, 2014, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) was signed into law which requires the establishment of demonstration programs, known as certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs), to improve community behavioral health services and to be funded as part of Medicaid. PAMA specifies criteria for CCBHCs to participate in demonstration programs, which fall into six areas: (1) staffing, (2) availability and accessibility of services, (3) care coordination, (4) scope of services, (5) quality and other reporting, and (6) organizational authority. Program activities aim to integrate behavioral health with physical health care, increase consistent use of evidence-based practices, and improve access to high-quality care.


The CCBHCs represent an opportunity for states to improve the behavioral health of their citizens by: providing community-based mental and substance use disorder services; advancing integration of behavioral health with physical health care; assimilating and utilizing evidence-based practices on a more consistent basis; and promoting improved access to high quality care.


CCBHCs are to provide services to all who seek help, but it is anticipated the CCBHCs will prove particularly valuable for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), those with severe substance use disorders, children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance (SED), and those with co-occurring mental, substance use or physical health disorders. Those who are most in need of coordinated, integrated quality care will receive it from CCBHCs.  The statute directs the care provided by CCBHCs be “patient-centered.” It is expected that CCBHCs will offer care that is person-centered and family-centered, trauma-informed, and recovery-oriented, and that the integration of physical and behavioral health care will serve the “whole person” rather than simply one disconnected aspect of the individual.


Enhanced federal matching funds made available through this demonstration for services delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries offer states the opportunity to expand access to care and improve the quality of behavioral health services. Although the CCBHC demonstration program is designed to work within the scope of state Medicaid Plans and to apply specifically to individuals who are Medicaid enrollees, the statute also requires the CCBHCs not to refuse service to any individual on the basis of either ability to pay or place of residence. These conditions, together with the fact that improving access to and the quality of health care for the Medicaid population also may positively affect the health of others through changes in overall methods of care delivery, means the CCBHC demonstration program may have long lasting and beneficial effects beyond the realm of Medicaid enrollees.

 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Demonstration Project

Certified Community Behavioral Clinics CCBHC Contact List


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