May 23, 2023
In just a few short years since the first Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) opened their doors in 2017, the movement has revolutionized behavioral health in the U.S. This innovative model is delivering impressive results, dramatically increasing access to mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, expanding states’ capacity to address the drug overdose crisis, and strengthening partnerships between law enforcement, schools, hospitals, and behavioral health organizations. Today there are over 2 million people served by over 500 CCBHCs operating across the U.S., with a presence in all but a handful of states.
But what is a CCBHC? How are CCBHCs funded? And how can becoming a CCBHC help your organization raise the bar for high-quality, evidence-based mental health care? Let’s take a look.
The CCBHC model was designed to address the skyrocketing demand for mental health and substance use disorder treatment in the U.S. CCBHCs make it easy for people to access high-quality, integrated care, no matter where they live. As specially designated and government-funded clinics, CCBHCs serve anyone who walks through the door, regardless of their diagnosis and insurance status.
Certified by the Joint Commission, CCBHCs must meet the highest standards for quality, safety, and efficacy of care. CCBHCs must meet several requirements, including:
The certification process is intensive, and ensures that each clinic is compliant with applicable regulations, as well as consistent with established CCBHC standards for operations, cost reporting, and performance measurement.
At a minimum, CCBHCs must deliver nine core services to be certified, including:
CCBHCs can deliver services either directly or through partnering with other designated collaborating organizations (DCOs) in the community.
CCBHCs are government-funded through a variety of sources:
CCBHCs are paid for services using a prospective payment system, or PPS, rather than the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) model. The PPS approach is specific to each clinic and the needs of their local community. This funding approach ensures that clinics can more effectively cover the anticipated costs of care. With PPS, organizations get greater flexibility to hire new or specialized staff as needed, implement the technology and data collection tools needed, and add new services in response to the unique needs of their local service area. Clinics can prioritize services that best suit the needs of their patients, rather than those that offer the highest margins.
The PPS approach also means that clinics can be reimbursed for non-billable activities, like care coordination and outreach, as well as time spent building more effective partnerships with community partners, like hospitals, and police. Since insurers are now required to cover core services under the CCBHC model, becoming a CCBHC can enhance relationships with other payers as well.
The CCBHC model is helping organizations across the country address health disparities, improve access to care, and alleviate the behavioral health workforce shortage. According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s 2022 CCBHC Impact Report conducted by The Harris Poll, CCBHCs:
For employees, CCBHCs can improve the overall employee experience. With CCBHC funding, organizations can increase staffing levels, which reduces workplace stress and burnout for employees. They can use CCBHC funding to increase employee retention with higher salaries and training opportunities for evidence-based practices. Many employees also experience increased job satisfaction from working within a model that delivers higher quality care and meets more needs, where resources were previously limited.
For patients, the impacts are equally dramatic. With ready access to a comprehensive range of fully integrated services, patient experience care outcomes improve significantly. For example, CCBHCs are diverting people in crisis from hospitals, emergency departments, and jails, including
The results make clear that the CCBHC model delivers impressive benefits for all: the organizations that adopt the model, the employees that deliver the services, and the patients who access the services to improve their mental health and well-being, and their lives.
The CCBHC model requires efficient care coordination across the provider ecosystem, as well as detailed, data-driven reporting on care delivery and treatment outcomes. Technology is so critical to successful CCBHC adoption that 94% of current CCBHCs either already conduct electronic information sharing with care coordination partners or intend to do so.
Adopting the CCBHC model can fundamentally change an organization’s technology infrastructure, with new requirements for the tech stack, including:
To participate in a CCBHC program, an organization must establish a healthcare IT system certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Health IT Certification Program. With behavioral healthcare solutions from OnCall Health and Qualtrics, organizations can ensure they have the healthcare IT they need to be successful in CCBHC adoption.
The CCBHC model is proving to be a game-changing solution for behavioral health. Having an integrated technology stack in place is essential for successful implementation. Healthcare IT solutions, such as Qualifacts EHR and Qualifacts OnCall telehealth and online patient portal solutions, are the backbone of CCBHCs. Integrated IT for behavioral health enables organizations to provide accessible and high quality care for all patients—including those from diverse backgrounds and underserved areas. It also empowers providers and staff with comprehensive data to monitor, manage, and optimize service delivery. With the right healthcare IT stack, organizations can realize all the benefits of a CCBHC model, including accessible treatment, coordinated care, improved case management, and better quality outcomes . Ready to learn more about how the right technology can help you adopt the CCBHC model and make a real difference in your community?