A new mental health program and five others like it are at risk of ending unless the Minnesota Legislature approves funding to continue the services.

In mid-April state officials visited one of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) to highlight the value of the model, which combines substance use disorder treatment, mental health care and a range of other services under one roof.

The clinics need federal approval and matching federal funds to continue operating after the demonstration period ends on June 30. Gov. Tim Walz has proposed moving CCBHCs from a demonstration project to an on-going Medicaid-reimbursable service model, allowing for expansion beyond the six demonstration sites.

Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey and Rep. Robert Bierman (DFL-57A) toured People Incorporated’s Stark Mental Health Clinic in Minneapolis to see one of the models in action and to hear from staff about the impact it is having.

“CCBHCs are in many ways the future of mental and chemical health care, because they offer a wide range of services together in one place,” said Lourey. “It is critical that patients not only receive the care and services they need, but that their care and services are coordinated. That’s the beauty of CCBHCs – they provide a high level of coordination between providers, social services agencies, counties and other key resources, which helps to ensure the best possible results for each individual.”

Before CCBHCs, a person with a mental illness or substance use disorder typically would need to work with several providers to obtain different levels and types of care.

“It is critical that CCBHCs not only continue, but expand to more areas to serve more people in need,” said Lourey. “CCBHCs need to become one of the foundations of our mental health system.”

The 2014 federal Excellence in Mental Health Act established an eight-state demonstration project to test the CCBHC model. The 2015 Minnesota legislature provided funding to support planning and, in December 2016, Minnesota was chosen to be one of eight states to pilot CCBHCs.

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