CCBHC: A Pillar of Value-Based Care and Community Health

Group of friends taking a groufie

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) play more than just a crucial role in the behavioral health landscape; they also serve as pivotal cornerstones within their communities. This is primarily because a CCBHC upholds an open-door policy, providing services to everyone, irrespective of insurance coverage. 

These community-based clinics provide comprehensive, integrated, high-quality care for those with mental health and substance use disorders. A CCBHC provides a wide range of evidence-based services, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery support services.

Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at how CCBHCs work, their benefits, challenges, and the innovative solutions shaping their future. You’ll learn the essential role of community behavioral health clinics and how they compare to Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC). We'll also explore the impact of CCBHCs on patients, employees, and communities and how the right technology supports the operations and goals of a CCBHC.

How a CCBHC Delivers Value-Based Care at the Community Level

The objectives of CCBHC programs share many of the same goals as value-based care, such as expanding access to care, improving care quality, and fostering integration with primary care and social services. An important part of their success rests on their commitment to offering evidence-based care over a wide range of behavioral health, including:

  1. Crisis services for mental health: Provides 24-hour mobile response teams, emergency crisis intervention, and stabilization.
  2. Screening and evaluation: Includes triage, ongoing and periodic reassessment, and diagnosis.
  3. Patient-centered treatment planning: With patient input, a CCBHC develops personalized care plans specific to each patient’s needs. 
  4. Outpatient mental health and substance use services: Involves psychiatric care, counseling, therapy, and medication management. 
  5. Primary care screening and monitoring: Screenings for primary care issues like chronic illness and co-morbid conditions prevalent among patients with behavioral health issues.
  6. Population health: Screenings for communicable diseases like Hepatitis C, HIV, and tuberculosis.
  7. Targeted case management: Coordinates care and assists individuals in receiving medical, social, and educational services.
  8. Psychiatric rehabilitation: Supports recovery and improves the quality of life for members with serious mental illness; may include skills training and environmental adaptations.
  9. Peer, caregiver, and family support: Assists, educates, and encourages family members or caregivers by offering peer support and outreach.
  10. Veterans services: Focused services for current and former military personnel that considers their unique experiences and needs.
  11. Care coordination: Integrates services between health systems, behavioral health and human services (BHHS), and criminal justice.

Community Mental Health Centers vs. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics

While both types of organizations play crucial roles in delivering mental health services to the community, there are essential differences regarding scope, funding, quality, and accountability.

Scope and Services

CCBHCs have a broader mission compared to CMHCs. In addition to mental health care services, CCBHCs also treat substance use disorders and offer a range of social support services, such as assistance with housing, employment, and skills training. CCBHCs also provide smoking cessation programs that include counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

Furthermore, according to information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics provide these services regardless of their ability to pay, where they live, or their involvement with the criminal justice system.

Model of Funding

CCBHCs were granted a more sustainable funding stream to cover the broad range of services they provide, which addresses the chronic underfunding that often burdens these clinics. 

Funding that’s based on a fee-for-service model often limits an organization’s capacity to provide individualized care. On the other hand, a CCBHC receives funding on a per-person-per-month model that considers the full cost of providing care for patients to serve all community members who seek care. 

The funding mechanism contributes to a CCBHC’s ability to offer an abundance of services. Most clinics get funding through the Medicaid “demonstration” program or via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant program. Some states are now implementing their own programs based on the CCBHC model or mirroring other value-based models.

The key to success is using a prospective payment system (PPS). The PPS model ensures that clinics get funding based on the costs of the services provided and factors in the anticipated increase in clients, which gives clinics more flexibility to deliver person-centered care. 

Quality and Accountability

CCBHCs operate under a comprehensive system of accountability using a set of mandatory, state-defined quality measures they must meet and document to maintain certification. This emphasizes a shift toward high-quality care, transparency, and improved outcomes. While CMHCs may also report outcomes data, it’s not necessarily tied to funding and certification.

Integration and Coordination

A CCBHC takes collaboration to the next level by emphasizing fully integrating behavioral and physical health care. This includes coordinating services and may involve bringing in community resources to provide whole-person care. To meet these challenges, interoperable technology is a must-have. 

How Do CCBHCs Impact Patients, Employees, Communities, and Outcomes?

CCBHC: patients having a group therapy

CCBHCs provide many tangible benefits for patients, employees, and communities. They also help improve overall health outcomes. 

Benefiting Patients

First and foremost, CCBHC services improve access to care. By providing mental health and substance use disorder services in the same location, patients can receive preventive medicine and primary care. CCBHCs eliminate many of the roadblocks behavioral healthcare patients face. 

Ensuring the continuum of care is crucial to prevent patients from slipping through the cracks. By using an integrated electronic health record system to manage patient care across multiple specialties and social services, clinics reduce the likelihood of missing any important details.

Lastly, the whole-patient approach addresses the physical, mental, and social aspects of health for better outcomes and a greater quality of life for patients. 

Enhancing the Employee Experience

With proper training and technology support, employees may find that a CCBHC provides a rewarding work environment that values multidisciplinary collaboration. In addition, the community-building aspect of these clinics fosters a sense of connection and belonging among staff and patients alike.

Serving Communities

CCBHCs make significant contributions to the communities they serve. They’re often the epicenter of behavioral health, social services, health departments, and primary care. They go beyond addressing the individual health concerns of patients by addressing homelessness, managing crises, and interacting with schools, trade and skills centers, and the criminal justice system.

Improving Outcomes

By promoting and delivering value-based care consistently, CCBHCs have the opportunity to make an indelible impact on the healthcare system at large. The comprehensiveness and accessibility of these clinics can improve health outcomes by lowering costs, reducing inpatient admissions, decreasing emergency room visits, and managing chronic conditions in a timely manner. 

CCBHC Requirements: Reporting and Compliance 

The government requires that CCBHCs report on a set of quality measures to ensure they’re delivering on their promise of high-quality, comprehensive, and person-centered care. Several quality indicators include:

  • Continuity of care
  • Screening and prevention
  • Preventive care
  • Patient engagement
  • Care coordination
  • Evidence-based practices 

Data collected through the reporting process helps maintain compliance with program requirements and continually informs new strategies for improvement. In addition to reporting, CCBHCs must also comply with organizational authority and staffing standards. 

These requirements ensure that clinics have a diverse, multidisciplinary team of qualified professionals. Compliance is enforced through regular audits and ongoing performance. Non-compliance can result in loss of certification and reduced or withheld funding. 

What Technology Supports CCBHCs?

CCBHC: manager using a tablet

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are at the forefront of care integration and patient-centricity. Having the right technology is critical to support these ambitious goals. Fortunately, two technologies can support the work of CCBHCs: electronic health records (EHRs) and patient engagement platforms. 

An Interoperable EHR Solution With Advanced Reporting Features

Electronic health record systems are vital for helping CCHBCs securely manage and store patient data. A robust EHR system should provide a comprehensive view of a patient’s journey through different care services. EHR solutions that feature interoperability and integration should seamlessly document the continuum of care from initial contact through all stages of treatment. 

Interoperable cloud-based EHR systems allow healthcare professionals to share patient data with other systems. This allows better coordination because service providers can view, submit, and annotate records from anywhere at any time. In this way, EHRs support the mission of CHCBCs to achieve better health outcomes. 

Additionally, your EHR software should support the reporting requirements and be able to track and record data across a range of quality measures. Look for technology that can help you automate data collection and reporting to make the process more efficient and ironclad. 

Patient Engagement Software

While “patient engagement” isn’t mentioned explicitly as a standalone requirement for certification, the National Council for Wellbeing discusses patient engagement in its guide, The Comprehensive Healthcare Integration (CHI) Framework

Patient engagement plays a significant role in several areas of the certification criteria. For example, under the care coordination requirement, clinics must collaborate with patients and their families when planning and implementing care. Similarly, the guidelines require involving patients in developing care plans. 

In both of these cases, patient engagement software can help you reach the criteria. Additionally, patient education facilitates patient activation and empowerment, which helps patients take responsibility for their own health outcomes. 

To support CCBHC patients, it’s critical to have specialty patient engagement software built for behavioral health and human services. Patient engagement platforms should feature education, self-care, self-management, and communication tools.

Patient engagement software supports other CCBHC requirements, such as risk stratification and care management. For instance, look for features that track patient-reported outcomes, risk assessments, and personalized care planning. 

Leverage BHHS Technology to Meet CCBHC Requirements

The CCBHC model is transformational and aimed at improving the overall health and quality of life for behavioral health services patients, families, caregivers, and communities. Designed to offer comprehensive, coordinated, and patient-centered care, CCBHCs exemplify value-based care ideals. 

When supported by the right technology, this approach brings a number of benefits not only to patients but also to employees. Technology like comprehensive EHR systems and patient engagement platforms help CCBHCs fulfill their mission to expand access to care and help them meet eligibility requirements around data collection and reporting. 

ContinuumCloud’s comprehensive EHR system and CaredFor patient engagement platform are primed to meet the complex needs of modern behavioral health and human services clients, including CCBHCs. If you’re considering applying for CCBHC certification, we want to help. 

To learn how ContinuumCloud can help you deliver high-quality integrated care, connect with us today

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