Stimulus Debate Largely Overlooks Behavioral-Health Funding
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
AUGUSTA, Maine -- Federal stimulus funding is barely helping states such as Maine with their behavioral-health needs, also called mental-health and substance-use treatment. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, the majority of targeted CARES Act funding went to fewer than 5% of behavioral-health organizations.
Malory Shaughnessy, executive director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services in Maine, said most of the CARES Act money went to 160 or so "certified community behavioral health clinics," a federal program launched in 2015. Shaughnessy said these community clinics are seeing positive results.
"They're seeing reduced emergency-room visits, they're seeing reduced crisis services, they're seeing reduced high-end costs through having a more comprehensive, preventive and treatment-oriented system," Shaughnessy said.
Basically, these federally certified clinics offer affordable, 24/7, comprehensive mental-health and substance-use services, all in one place. But 17 states don't have certified community behavioral health clinics yet -- including Maine.
Both the House and Senate stimulus plans call for several billion dollars for behavioral health -- more than the CARES Act.
Shaughnessy said the mental-health providers' association urged Maine to apply for a planning grant back in 2014, but the governor's administration did not do so. She thinks one big benefit of these certified clinics is their payment structure: The federal government pays them before they incur costs, rather than afterwards.
"What we've seen around the country, because the setup is different, of the way the funding goes, these centers have been able to get past the workforce crisis that has been plaguing many community behavioral health centers across the country," she said.
Unfortunately, Gov. Janet Mills' administration wasn't able to help several organizations apply for a similar planning grant in early March, just as COVID was starting to spread in the U.S. The Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services is asking Mills to create a COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund from state CARES Act money so that services can continue through this crisis.
Disclosure: Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…
SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…
INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …
Health and Wellness
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …