The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has awarded Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton (CCDoT), a two-year grant to expand its Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program in underserved areas of Mercer and Burlington counties.
The expansion grant, in the amount of $2 million each year, will enable the agency to strengthen healthcare services for those who most need it – vulnerable people whose complex needs have historically left them out of the system. CCDoT will use the funding in two ways:
- To expand access and provide more comprehensive, family-focused, outpatient mental health services for adults and children and rapid access to the full continuum of adolescent and adult addiction treatment in eastern Mercer County.
- To provide access to critical services in Burlington County, especially for military veterans. Burlington is New Jersey’s largest county yet has limited community-based crisis and substance-abuse services, relative to the community’s needs.
What are CCBHCs?
CCBHCs are a new provider type in Medicaid, part of a national initiative to expand Americans’ access to mental health and addiction care in community-based settings. Components of care include 24-hour crisis care, use of evidence-based practices, care coordination, and integration with physical health care.
CCDoT now serves nearly 600 people in several CCBHC programs targeting four populations – people with serious mental illness, those struggling with substance abuse, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and children with serious emotional disturbance, said Susan Loughery, CCDoT’s director of operations (pictured at right).
“Our goal is to fill the gaps in community health systems, so that access is available to all those who need it. We are thrilled to receive this funding, which will allow us to grow our services and help more people lead healthy lives,” Loughery said.
“For too long, people with serious mental illnesses or those struggling with addiction have encountered barriers to recovery, due to the complexity of their care and years of funding cuts that have poked holes in their safety net,” Loughery added. “In just the one year since we implemented our CCBHC program, we have been able to provide evidence-based, trauma-informed services to more vulnerable people than ever. We are better-equipped to fight the opioid crisis and serve veterans. And we are successfully partnering with hospitals, schools, and other community agencies to meet the needs of this complex population.”
How the funding is spent
CCDoT’s CCBHC program already focuses on mental health and substance abuse services (outpatient, partial care, intensive outpatient, ambulatory detox, and medication-assisted treatment); housing (supported, forensic, medically enhanced, and Rapid Rehousing); crisis services (Early Intervention Support Services [EISS] and Mobile Crisis Response and Stabilization [for children]); domestic violence services; supported employment and supported work programs (including Self-Help Riverbank Transportation Peer Services); and El Centro (CCDoT’s BIA-accredited immigration services and community resources for those whose primary language is Spanish).
For example, Catholic Charities partners with several community agencies to assist pregnant, homeless (or at risk of becoming homeless) women struggling with addiction as they work toward recovery in the new CCBHC program For My Baby and Me (client, center, pictured with staff in photo at right).
The new funding will add or expand crisis services; screening, assessment, and diagnosis; patient-centered treatment planning; outpatient mental health and substance use services; outpatient primary-care screening and monitoring of key health indicators and health risk; clinical monitoring for adverse effects; targeted case management; psychiatric rehabilitation services; social supports; comprehensive community recovery supports; armed forces/veterans; Assertive Community Treatment (ACT); relationships with judicial officials/court systems; and an advisory work group.
The expansion grant comes nearly two years after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services picked New Jersey and seven other states to demonstrate CCBHCs, a new model of care intended to expand access to intensive community-based services for people with untreated severe mental illnesses or addiction. CCDoT was one of seven providers in New Jersey selected to partner with the state under the two-year demonstration program.
Just about 43 percent of all people living with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and major clinical depression, receive behavioral health care, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health. The rest rely on homeless shelters, Medicaid-financed hospital emergency rooms and penal institutions for psychiatric care, according to the council.
In a 2016 report, then-Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy found that while one in seven people in the U.S. is expected to develop a substance abuse disorder, only one in 10 will receive treatment.
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