CMHC, mental health organizations and providers applaud Indiana lawmakers for approving mental health legislation – WRBI Radio
LAWRENCEBURG, EN — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law House Enrolled Act 1222 on Thursday, March 10, legislation that will continue a critical grant program that has expanded access to treatment services for mental health and addictions disorders including the need is urgent across the state of Indiana.
The program is known as the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (or CCBHC) program. CCBHCs are designed to provide a full range of mental health and substance use disorder services to vulnerable people, with an emphasis on the provision of 24-hour crisis care, the use of practical evidence-based, care coordination and integration with physical health care.
In Indiana, there are currently 18 CCBHC grant recipients statewide who are receiving federal grants designed to jump-start the CCBHC program. Initial results for patients and communities served by Community Mental Health Center, Inc. show promise for the future of the initiative in CMHC’s service area, which encompasses Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland in southeastern Indiana. HEA 1222 will help CMHC build on these successes.
“Across the state, our community providers have seen the demand for services skyrocket,” said Zoe Frantz, executive director of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers. “That’s why Governor Holcomb’s announcement of the signing of the CCBHC Act is incredible news for the continued work of these programs and the people they serve every day. Ultimately, this program gives providers more tools to ensure that those who need it will get the help they need when they reach out.
According to the National Council for Mental Wellness, CCBHCs have played a transformative role in addressing workforce shortages, creating a more integrated care delivery system, and ensuring that providers meet quality settings. Providers advocating for HEA 1222 see the legislation as an opportunity to provide better access and higher quality care across the state.
“Nationally, 2020 was the deadliest year on record for fatal overdoses. Drug overdose deaths continue to rise according to a January report from the CDC. In Indiana, our numbers reported last year increased by 23.4%, which is higher than the national increase of 15.9%. said Suzanne Koesel, regional general manager of Centerstone and chair of the board of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers.
“On the one hand, we have this urgent and growing need for services. On the other hand, we have less manpower to meet this demand. Programs such as CCBHCs give community behavioral health agencies more tools to successfully recruit and retain additional staff members as well as resources to ensure consumers have access to essential, evidence-based services,” said Ms. Koesel.
Greg Duncan, president and CEO of Community Mental Health Center, Inc., said CMHC is now in year two of its first two-year CCBHC grant. CMHC has developed a number of initiatives stemming from this grant, including expanded primary care services, emergency mobile services and vibrant community treatment services for some of the agency’s most vulnerable patients.
“We are working to integrate behavioral health care and primary health care while continuing to develop our CCBHC grant,” Duncan said. “We want to help patients of all ages in our communities by providing services that will meet their current and future health and wellness needs.
“Behavioral health organizations across the state are also thrilled to see HEA 1222 signed into law by Governor Holcomb.
“Legislation that has been enacted requires the state to develop a plan to expand the CCBHC program by November 1, 2022,” said Steve McCaffrey, CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana. “The behavioral health community has already seen demonstrable results from the CCBHC program and looks forward to supporting the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHA) in developing a statewide infrastructure that addresses the growing need for mental health services in Indiana.”
“We are grateful for the leadership of Rep. Cindy Ziemke, Rep. Ann Vermilion, Senator Mike Crider, and other members of the Indiana General Assembly, Mental Health and Addiction Division, and the Governor Holcomb for passing this critical mental health legislation,” said McCaffrey.
For more information on CCBHCs, please visit the CCBHC Success Center website at thenationalcouncil.org/ccbhc-success-center/ccbhcta-overview/.
(Community Mental Health Center, Inc. press release)