HHS Announces $15M in Funding For Behavioral Healthcare In Nursing Homes


On May 16, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced via a press release funding of nearly $15 million for a three-year federal grant to establish a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) program that will support the delivery of behavioral healthcare to residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

The release says that “Funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), this program will establish a Center of Excellence for Building Capacity in Nursing Facilities to Care for Residents with Behavioral Health Conditions (Center for Excellence). This builds on President Biden’s State of the Union emphasis on the critical importance of ensuring residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities receive high-quality care.”

That said, “The Center of Excellence is expected to improve overall health care in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities by providing direct consultation to staff to increase understanding, improve awareness, reduce stigmatization, and build knowledge and skills for effective resident care. Ultimately, the Center for Excellence will strengthen and sustain effective behavioral health practices and achieve better outcomes for residents who have serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use issues, or co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions. It will also ensure accessibility of evidence-based training and technical assistance focused on mental health disorder identification, treatment, and recovery support services.”

The program, according to the release, will be funded with CMS’ Civil Money Penalty (CMP) funds. CMP funds are imposed against nursing homes and other long-term care facilities when they are not in compliance with one or more Medicare and Medicaid program participation requirements for facilities. The funds can be reinvested into activities that benefit the residents of the facilities and protect their quality of care and life.

Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA, was quoted in the release saying that “People living in nursing homes and other long-term facilities who are coping with mental and substance use conditions deserve access to the full continuum of quality, evidence-based care. With funding from our partner CMS, this first-ever grant program will bring into sharper focus residents’ behavioral health needs and provide free training and assistance for our nation’s nursing home and facility workforce.”

The funding totals up to $4,962,223 each year for three years and will be awarded to one grantee laster this year. More information can be found here.

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