December 10, 2013
HHS announces Affordable Care Act mental health services funding
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that it plans to issue a $50 million funding opportunity announcement to help Community Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services for people living with mental illness, and drug and alcohol problems. Community Health Centers will be able to use these new funds, made available through the Affordable Care Act, for efforts such as hiring new mental health and substance use disorder professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder services, and employing team-based models of care.
“Most behavioral health conditions are treatable, yet too many Americans are not able to get needed treatment,” said Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “These new Affordable Care Act funds will expand the capacity of our network of community health centers to respond to the mental health needs in their communities.”
“These new funds will further the Department’s work to develop integrated primary and behavioral health care services to better meet the needs of people with mental health and substance use conditions,” said Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde.
It is estimated these awards will support behavioral health expansion in approximately 200 existing health centers nationwide.
Over the past year the Obama administration has taken a number of steps to reduce the barriers that too often prevent people from getting the help they need for behavioral health problems.
The Affordable Care Act expands mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections for approximately 60 million Americans.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget includes a new $130 million initiative to help teachers recognize signs of mental illness in students and refer them to services, support innovative state-based programs to improve mental health outcomes for young people ages, and train 5,000 more mental health professionals.
The Administration has also finalized rules under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Because of these parity protections, many insurance plans will now include coverage for mental health and substance use conditions that is comparable to their medical and surgical coverage.
The Administration also launched www.mentalhealth.gov a new website featuring easy-to-understand information about basic signs of mental health problems, how to talk about mental health, and how to find help.