Michigan’s CCBHCs open mental health access to all

May 8, 2023 | In The Media

CHRT’s work evaluating Michigan’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) was highlighted in a Second Wave Media article, “Michigan’s CCBHCs open mental health access to all.” The article features interviews with CHRT team members Erica Matti, senior health policy analyst, and Jonathan Tsao, research and evaluation project manager. 

CCBHCs provide whole-person care and aim to consider all aspects of a person’s health, including physical, emotional, and behavioral health, as well as social challenges such as financial and housing insecurity. To address these needs, CCBHCs provide a range of mental health and substance use disorder services to individuals, regardless of their income or insurance coverage. 

There are 34 CCBHCs in Michigan, including Washtenaw County Community Mental Health. Of those CCBHC sites, 13 are demonstration sites, which are full-service clinics where anyone can walk in and receive services. The federal government provides 75 percent of the funding for demonstration sites; the other 25% is provided by the state.

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing (NCMW) 2022 CCBHC Impact Report showed that CCBHC status enables clinics to: 

  • serve an average of 900 more people per year than they were able to serve before implementation and
  • increase hiring, with an average of 27 new staff per clinic hired as a result of being a CCBHC. 

The report estimates that in 2022, 2.1 million people were served across all 450 active CCBHCs and grantees nationwide, a 600,000-person (29 percent) increase from 2021.

As the designation of demonstration sites in Michigan is relatively recent, there’s not yet been any Michigan-specific evaluations conducted on the CCBHC model. Michigan recently received federal funding for this purpose and partnered with organizations, including CHRT, to carry out the evaluations. 

“There’s a number of findings that we’re really hoping to see in Michigan including improvements in staffing, training for staff, care, and care coordination,” says Erica Matti. “Care coordination is a huge one for the CCBHC model. the states that have had this for a long time have seen really good improvements in care coordination.”

Tsao outlined that the evaluations have three purposes. First, to understand why Community Mental Health (CMH) centers are implementing the CCBHC model, as well as their successes and challenges in doing so. Next, to deliver an outcomes evaluation of the impact on access to behavioral health services and sustainability. Finally, the evaluations will document lessons learned to help future CCBHC clinics.