June 15, 2018
HHS makes $350 million available to fight the opioid crisis in community health centers nationwide
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of $350 million in new funding to expand access to substance use disorder and mental health services at community health centers across the nation. These funds will support health centers in implementing and advancing evidence-based strategies, including expanded medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services, and are expected to be awarded in September of this year by HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“Local communities have played a vital role in combating our country’s opioid crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “The contributions of HRSA-funded health centers in particular have been invaluable. These new grants, provided by the government funding bill President Trump signed earlier this year, will allow centers to expand their important work providing high quality substance abuse and mental health services.”
The Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services funding opportunity supports HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy, launched in 2017 to empower local communities on the frontlines to combat the crisis. These funds will make a significant impact in furthering community-driven efforts to reduce opioid use and increase access to mental health services.
Primary care settings, like the community health centers supported by HRSA’s Health Center Program, have increasingly become a gateway to integrated care for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) and primary care needs. HRSA support enables community health centers to enhance access to primary care-based SUD services, including MAT services, as well as pain management and other prevention services. In 2017 alone, nearly 65,000 health center patients received MAT.
“HRSA’s recent investments in substance use disorder and mental health services have significantly increased the capacity of health centers to provide critical care to their communities,” said HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas. “For example, the number of health center clinicians providing MAT increased by 75% between 2016 and 2017, from 1,700 to nearly 3,000 in 2017. This is just one way that health centers are in a unique position to make a significant impact in combatting the opioid crisis, and this new funding will further that impact.”
The Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services funding opportunity invests in personnel and one-time infrastructure enhancements to enable health centers to address immediate barriers they have faced to implementing or expanding SUD and mental health services. It also builds on the $200 million investment made last year to 1,178 community health centers across the US to increase access to SUD and mental health services.
HRSA’s Health Center Program provides grant funding to community-based health centers in underserved areas. Nearly 1,400 community health centers operate more than 11,000 sites, providing care to nearly 26 million people across the nation, in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.
Throughout the country, community health centers employ more than 200,000 people, and with this new funding opportunity, they will be able to increase personnel to help expand access to SUD and mental health services.
Applications for the Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services award are due July 16, 2018.
For more information about the SUD-MH funding opportunity, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/sud-mh
For additional information on how HRSA is addressing the Opioid Crisis, visit HRSA’s Opioid Crisis Webpage
To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about
To find a health center in your area, visit: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov