Supporting Behavioral Health Quality for CCBHCs

April 4, 2024 · Andy Reynolds

  • NCQA is launching a program for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) in July 2024. 
  • This program will provide a streamlined solution for CCBHCs to demonstrate their adherence to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) standards. It will also reduce the burden on these clinics by providing a standardized blueprint for success.
  • You can help shape the future of NCQA’s CCBHC program. Send feedback on NCQA’s proposed standards by April 12. We want your expertise to enhance our approach.

 CCBHCs Expand Behavioral Healthcare

In 2014, federal legislation championed CCBHCs as a new model of care.

CCBHCs were developed to be a one stop shop for all behavioral health conditions, regardless of diagnosis, condition severity, age, or insurance status.

Since 2017, over 500 CCBHCs have been established in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Funding comes from state grants, SAMHSA planning grants and Prospective Payment System (PPS) Medicaid Demonstration programs.

 Needed: A Complete Approach

  • Clear and Comprehensive Evidence. CCBHCs provide a full range of mental health and substance use condition services, including 24-hour crisis care, outpatient treatment and care coordination. To keep getting funding, they need to document their value and constantly improve.
  • Potential Funding Shifts. Recent federal legislation expanded the number of states that can participate in PPS Medicaid Demonstration programs for CCBHCs by ten every two years. This change may signal a shift in CCBHC funding towards Medicaid. CCBHCs currently rely on self-attestation to receive funding. The new rules might require clinics to show their quality and value to secure sustained funding from Medicaid.
  • Limited Comprehensive Programs. Not all programs are designed to help CCBHCs meet standards are comprehensive. Some are just checklists or offer little practical aid. NCQA wants to give CCBHCs a better way to evaluate their services and prove their effectiveness. This may help them keep getting funding.

NCQA Develops a Solution

Using our Recognition and Accreditation experience, we’ve built a blueprint to help CCBHCs meet government guidelines.

Our program offers:

  • A centralized evidence collection portal: One easy place for clinics to upload proof they meet standards.
  • A straightforward surveyor process: Simple evaluations to avoid overwhelming clinics.
  • Timely technical support: Quick help from our experts if clinics get stuck.

Our Proven, Adapted Approach 

We have extensive experience creating and running accreditation and recognition programs, giving us insight into the needs of funders and clinics.

  • Site-Level Program Support Experience. For almost 20 years, NCQA PCMH Recognition has helped thousands of primary care practices transform how they operate. We offer training for staff, expert guidance for clinic changes, and tools to help make the process smooth and track progress. Our CCBHC program adapts many of the processes used in our PCMH program to fit the unique needs of CCBHCs and ensure they meet SAMHSA’s standards as well as demonstrate the value of their work.
  • Credibility with Funders. NCQA has decades of collaboration with Medicaid agencies, including accreditation of almost 300 Medicaid health plans. This experience could give Medicaid officials confidence that CCBHCs participating in NCQA’s program merit funding.
  • Collaborative Design Approach. NCQA’s program was designed with input from a diverse set of stakeholders to help ensure our new program meets the needs of CCBHCs, states and SAMHSA.

How You Can Help

Public participation is crucial to our CCBHC program’s success. Here’s how to get involved:

  • Give us feedback. Help shape the future of CCBHC care by commenting on the proposed standards by April 12.
  • Learn more about CCBHCs. To find out about CCBHCs, and the role they play in behavioral healthcare, visit the SAMHSA website.
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