An estimated 200 community health centers across the U.S. will be able to use the new Department of Health and Human Services funding, made available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to establish or expand behavioral health services for people living with mental illness and drug/alcohol programs. In particular, community health centers will be able to use the funding to:
- hire new mental health and substance use disorders professionals,
- add mental health and substance use disorder services, and
- employ team-based models of care.
According to Mary K. Wakefield, PhD, RN, Health Resources and Services Administration administrator, “most behavioral health conditions are treatable, yet too many Americans are not able to get needed treatment. These new ACA funds will expand the capacity of our network of community health centers to respond to the mental health needs in their communities.”
From a workforce perspective this is an enormously important issue. While community health centers are the health care safety net for many Americans, 30 percent of these centers currently don’t provide mental health services and 45 percent don’t provide substance abuse services.
More information can be found here.