Signed into law in 1963, the Community Mental Health Act significantly changed the delivery of mental health services, leading to the establishment of community mental health centers nationwide. Since then, Community Behavioral Health Centers have acted almost as the nation’s safety net behavioral health providers.
Community Behavioral Health Centers serve the more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illness and addition disorders by providing access to comprehensive, high-quality care for these individuals. Community Behavioral Health Centers face the challenges attendant to multiple funding sources, as CBHCs are partially funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and also work through the block grant program which varies on a state-by-state basis.
CBHCs provide outpatient services, including specialized outpatient services for children, the elderly, individuals who are chronically mentally ill, and residents of the CBHC’s mental health service area who have been discharged from inpatient treatment at a mental health facility; 24 hour-a-day emergency care services; day treatment, or other partial hospitalization services, or psychosocial rehabilitation services; and screening for patients being considered for admission to State mental health Community Mental Health Centers.
Between the increased emphasis on formal collaborations with primary care providers and the challenges of achieving mental health parity, in addition to the decrease in funding and reimbursement rates yoked with increased compliance oversight, Community Behavioral Health Center are constantly challenged with compliance, grant management and various other issues.
Our Health Law attorneys provide a number of services to help mitigate the problems afflicting CBHCs so that these health centers may retain their status as recipients of federal funds, retain their funds, and continue to fulfill their respective missions. Our attorneys can facilitate in establishing formal affiliations with other health care providers to expand access to services, achieve economies of scale, and conserve limited resources. When necessary, we have even implanted corporate consolidation with other community providers whereby the health care systems were merged. Our Health Law practice group also specializes in negotiating and implementing managed care contracts as well as formalizing partnerships with health homes and Accountable Care Organizations. When recipients of federal funding are unable to resolve their issues with federal grantor agencies, we help protect these clients from suspension, debarment, or termination.
With greater scrutiny being placed on grant recipients because of the continuing tightening of the federal budget, our Health Law practice group attorneys assist CBHCs in facing agency action and developing solutions to scarce funding.