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Closing Access Gaps with CCBHCs: Bringing Care and Prevention to Communities

Four County Mental Health Center, Inc., (FCMHC), a Qualifacts Credible customer, with various locations in Kansas, is a leading voice for the transformative care that Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs) deliver in their communities, by providing crisis services, screening, diagnosis and risk assessment, psychiatric rehabilitation services, outpatient primary care screening and monitoring, targeted case management, outpatient mental health and substance use services, person and family-centered treatment planning,  community-based mental health care for veterans and 9 peer and family support services.

Steve Denny, Deputy Director of FCMHC, recently testified in Washington, DC, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to highlight the strengths of the CCBHC model and his commitment to expanding CCBHC care in his state and across the country. “Since our CCBHC implementation, our organization provides 70% of admissions on the same day that they seek services. For those who do have to wait, the average wait time is 3 days compared to the national average of 48 days. Individuals in our care receive enhanced care coordination with primary care,” Denny testified.

Those advances are made possible by the CCBHC treatment model and by the enhanced reimbursement that providers gain from their adoption of the complex programs and services that CCBHC requirements mandate.

Denny and FCMHC have been leaders in CCBHC programs and services in the state, and he and his agency are working toward sustainment and expansion of the model: “I have had the privilege of bearing witness to the milestones that created the rapid development of CCBHCs in Kansas,” Denny testified. “By July 1st, 2024, our goal is to have all Kansas Community Mental Health Centers become CCBHCs.”

Denny and FCMHC accomplished their CCBHC journey supported by a new implementation of the Credible EHR platform from Qualifacts. Their successes and their achievements in transforming their organization to enable it to provide CCBHC programs and services includes the configurability and flexibility to update, revise, and revamp their workflows, documentation, metrics and analytics themselves as they continue to expand and develop their services. The platform also provides required CCBHC analytics and metrics for compliance reporting, and organizational metrics to evaluate success and progress.

CCBHC Mandate Examples

Addressing the Care Access Gap

Access to mental health and substance abuse services has long been a challenge for many communities across the country. Access has been exacerbated by the shortage of healthcare professionals. CCBHCs improve access by offering 24/7 crisis services, and by offering integrated, evidence-based, and person-centered care with shorter wait times (often same day access). That includes services for veterans in need: “Our organization serves an average of 140 unduplicated veterans each quarter, which is a 51% increase from baseline all while improving our working relationship with two Veterans Administration facilities,” Denny testified.

Holistic Approach to Care

CCBHC programs and services include 24/7 crisis intervention, outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment, peer support, and targeted case management, supported by wraparound services and primary care integration. Improving coordination between providers drives better outcomes, fewer hospitalizations, and reduced emergency room visits. “When individuals do not have a primary care provider or require additional referrals, care coordinators work hard to close the referral loop,” Denny testified.

Quality and Evidence-Based Care

Programs and services mandated under CCBHC models are tied to evidence-based care, and outcomes and clinical quality measures are required to be tracked and reported. The model is aligned with industry trends toward value-based care, which also seeks to track outcomes to understand the effectiveness of services, using clinical data. The commitment to evidence-based care translates into improved outcomes for clients, increased efficiency for staff, and reduced healthcare costs. The reduced healthcare costs are realized by leveraging preventative services that lessen the need for ED visits and inpatient stays.

Prevention and Early Intervention Through School Based Services

“Youth suicide rates in Kansas increased by 63.8% in the most recent 15-year period (Kansas Health Institute), outpacing the national average, which is also rising,” Denny testified. “We started a robust school-based program along with long standing programs that offer rehabilitation services to youth with more intensive needs. We are currently serving 9 school districts with CCBHC staff embedded in schools. We anticipate that opportunities to serve our youth will increase under the CCBHC model.”

Mobile Crisis Services

“As we look ahead to CCBHC implementation in Kansas, we need to develop more mobile crisis services in partnership with the national 988 crisis hotline. Mobile crisis services reduce the number of emergency room visits,” Denny testified. “National data indicates that the CCBHC model reduces emergency room admission percentages by 68%. In addition, the CCBHC model emphasizes care coordination agreements between the CCBHC and the hospital. This improves partnerships and helps individuals from falling through the cracks upon discharge to the community.”

The CCBHC model brings transformative care coordination, primary care integration, mandated services, evidence-based treatments, clinical quality measures, and enhanced payment model that includes wraparound services to communities. As we continue to recognize the importance of mental health, CCBHCs stand as a critical component in addressing disparities in behavioral healthcare and prevention services they need.

At Qualifacts, we embrace the mission of CCBHCs and offer our customers our support in their CCBHC journey, from first-time grant applicants to agencies who participate in the original demonstration model. Our subject matter experts and our peer leadership cohorts offer hands-on partnership, leadership and expertise every step of the way.