RHD joins behavioral health providers across PA to advocate for vital CCBHC services
December 9, 2019
It’s time for Pennsylvania to pull down millions in available federal dollars for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents and support a national movement toward high-quality, standardized behavioral health care
RHD was among the Pennsylvania Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) who today joined together to call upon Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller to release millions of dollars in available federal funds for vital behavioral health services for our most vulnerable citizens: persons with mental health and substance use disorders.
Pennsylvania was one of eight states to embrace the CCBHC model as the best practice in behavioral health care. Yet Pennsylvania is the only state that has not pulled down the funds. By simply drawing down federal funding already set aside to provide care for people living with mental health challenges and people in addiction recovery, Pennsylvania can reimburse providers for important care and services delivered to individuals in our community.
If the governor and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services do not accept this federal funding, RHD and other CCBHC providers will have no choice but to cut services, eliminate the jobs that went toward providing them, and leave thousands of people without life-saving behavioral health care services.
“People’s lives are at stake,” said Courtney Reed, director of RHD’s Lower Merion Counseling and Mobile Services program (LMCMS). “This is not just an RHD issue. The effects are devastating and are being felt every day by people, families, providers, and in communities across Pennsylvania. Now is the time for Pennsylvania to take action and do what’s best for the our most vulnerable residents. Bring back the funds.”
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LMCMS is a program of national human services nonprofit Resources for Human Development. In 2017 RHD was among the first organizations in the nation to participate in a new program aimed at improving behavioral health services through the CCBHC model. LMCMS is a community-based outpatient mental health treatment center where psychiatrists, therapists, case managers, and certified peer specialists provide comprehensive mental health and drug and alcohol services to individuals, families, and groups.
Last year alone, LMCMS was able to expand services to 724 new patients, and now serves more than 600 people each month. LMCMS has consistently kept wait times from inquiry to initial appointment at seven days or less, with 93 percent of referrals contacted within two business days. Of the new patients receiving services at LMCMS, 62 percent reported significant improvement in their mental health.
Perhaps most significantly, LMCMS was able to open a new Child & Family Center, serving children, adolescents, and families with holistic and compassionate behavioral health treatment in a safe and engaging environment. Each year more than 100 children and adolescents receive specialized care at LMCMS. These services are entirely due to the CCBHC model, and will be at risk if Pennsylvania does not accept federal CCBHC funding.
The six Pennsylvania CCBHCs and their primary service areas include:
- Resources for Human Development (RHD) in Montgomery County
- Berks Counseling Center in Berks County
- CenClear Child Services in Clearfield and Jefferson Counties
- NorthEast Treatment Centers (NET Centers) in Philadelphia County
- Pittsburgh Mercy in Allegheny County
- The Guidance Center in McKean County.
Pennsylvania’s behavioral health care leaders say the creation and implementation of the CCBHC model was a first, important step in a national movement to ensure communities across the commonwealth have access to high-quality, standardized behavioral health care that was centered around the needs of the whole person. CCBHCs are required to meet certain standards regarding scope of services, staffing, and timeliness of access to evidence-based care.
In the first two years under the innovative federal CCBHC model, Pennsylvania CCBHC providers expanded access to services, dramatically reduced wait times, improved quality and coordination of care, implemented new programs, and met reporting requirements that enabled participating states to track and benchmark outcomes.
Individuals and families served by Pennsylvania’s CCBHC providers have sent thousands of letters, phone calls and emails to Gov. Wolf, Sec. Miller, and state representatives and senators. CCBHC leaders have requested multiple times to meet with Gov. Wolf, Sec. Miller, and others in their administration regarding this issue. To date, their requests have gone unanswered.
More information, including how people can add their voices to this issue, is available at www.rhd.org/lmcms