Shot of two businesspeople discussing something on a digital tablet

Advocating for Sustainability and Expansion: What You Can Do to Help CCBHCs Survive

The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) care model has had a profound impact on behavioral health treatment throughout the United States. Despite the success, numerous CCBHCs are at risk of losing funds and disappearing. CCBHC expansion grants begin expiring in 2022, and the Medicaid-funded demonstration program is set to end in 2023. The recently signed “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” (better known as the “Gun Bill) provides that. Beginning July 1, 2024, and continuing every two years thereafter, up to 10 additional states may apply for and (if approved) join the CCBHC demonstration initiative. With these new demonstrations, CCBHCs will receive four years of an enhanced Medicaid matching rate from the federal which will help them get their programs launched. The law also includes 40 million dollars in FY 23 for planning grants. This will provide technical assistance to states to plan and develop their strategy for the CCBHC. This is great news for those CCBHCs in a state that opts for and is approved to become one of the new Demonstration states. The bill also provides funding for the current Demonstration CCBHCs. Federal Legislators have expanded funding multiple times, but more is needed for the expansion CCBHCs to survive.

With the success of more than 430 CCBHCs nationwide, many are pushing for a more permanent funding model to sustain them now and in the future. In the words of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, CCBHCs have “dramatically increased access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment expanded states’ capacity to address the overdose crisis, and established innovative partnerships with law enforcement, schools, and hospitals to improve care, reduce recidivism and prevent hospital readmissions.”[1] In short, when done well, the model works and makes a difference in the communities they support.

Saving the CCBHCs that are succeeding today and expanding access to that care to places it currently does not exist, however, is no small task for states and provider agencies. Providers often need to adopt modern technology to support integrated, coordinated care delivery. New compliance demands require new tools. Program expansions carry significant staffing, administration, and technology costs. With limited funding opportunities available ahead, many are at risk of disappearing and leaving their communities without the valuable services they provide.

By advocating for CCBHCs to stakeholders and lawmakers, you can help build a more sustainable future for your organization and many others. Here’s how:

Connect With Stakeholders Across the Spectrum

Strong relationships are at the heart of effective advocacy. Try researching and reaching out to stakeholder groups in your area. These can include executive agencies, legislators, healthcare partners, law enforcement, and others.

When communicating, try and use targeted data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the CCBHC model. You will also have a chance to share common needs with those who can help address them.

Advocate for the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act

Many CCBHCs depend on short-term, limited grant funding, and time is running out. The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act can expand the CCBHC demonstration model to all states if it becomes a law. By writing your legislators and voicing support for this Act, you can raise awareness of the need for CCBHC expansion. You will also give policymakers actionable steps they can take to meet those needs.

Encourage State Legislation to Expand CCBHCs in Alignment with the Demonstration Model

Medicaid waiver and State Plan Amendment authorities can help expand CCBHCs within your state. For that to happen, the state, Medicaid, and behavioral health agencies must file plan amendments for those implementations. When writing to your representatives, emphasize that your state’s implementation of CCBHCs should align with the federal model. This ensures consistent, effective design of new initiatives. It also helps to promote the efficient use of state resources.

Advocate for State-Specific Grants and Budget Allocations

Some states have allocated funding to study and plan CCBHC implementation initiatives without federal grants or support. Other states have passed “bridge grants” to support the continuation of the model beyond the end of federal grants. Encouraging these state initiatives gives existing CCBHCs time and policymakers concrete steps to move toward sustainability.

Participate in Data Collection Initiatives

The use of data has been critical in swaying policymakers towards expansion. By participating in data collection initiatives, your organization can help policymakers develop greater support for the model.

The National Council CCBHC Impact Report is one such project. By answering questions about your CCBHC’s activities, caseload increases, and other details, you can contribute to a positive initiative that has had tangible effects on policy.

Connect With Your State Behavioral Health Association on Advocacy Efforts

State Behavioral Health Associations have played a key role in moving states towards Medicaid implementation of the model. If you are not connected with your state’s BHA, reaching out is a wonderful way to get engaged and add your voice to advocacy efforts.

Despite funding challenges, considerable progress has been made in expanding the CCBHC model. Eleven states currently have a CCBHC model active within Medicaid. Five are engaged in implementation efforts and legislative mandates. Even more, have appropriated study or planning funds for CCBHC development. Through ongoing advocacy and building awareness, you can help establish a more sustainable future for CCBHCs nationwide.

If your organization is a CCBHC or is looking to become one in the future, you can schedule a free consultation with our CCBHC Program Manager to find the technology that is right for you. Please contact us today at to learn more.