SAMHSA Announces $29 Million Funding Opportunity for Integrating Primary Care and Behavioral Health

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced it’s accepting funding applications to advance integration of behavioral health into primary care. Eligible applicants, including states and state agencies such as Medicaid, can access over $29 million in funding to further integrated behavioral health programs within their state. Applications are due May 22, 2023 and funds will be awarded August 31, 2023.

Startup costs are often a major barrier for providers and practices looking to implement integrated care models. However, grants like this one provide opportunities for programs to become financially stable through reimbursement or value-based arrangements. By leveraging this funding, providers can develop the infrastructure and processes needed to integrate behavioral health into primary care settings, ultimately improving outcomes for patients and reducing overall healthcare costs. With the right support and resources, integrated care programs can successfully address the complex needs of underserved populations and create a more equitable healthcare system.

Read the full integrated behavioral health funding announcement here. We’ve highlighted key requirements for funding below.

Two Types of Programs Are Eligible for Funding

The first eligible program track will focus on integrating behavioral health and physical health care in Community Health Centers and Community Mental Health Centers which typically serve low-income, uninsured, or under-insured populations. The second program track will establish integrated care models, including psychiatric collaborative care, in at least five provider or primary care practices. SAMHSA’s full announcement outlines key requirements and progress milestones that each program track must meet.

Practices Must Be Evidence-Based

One of the requirements is that integrated care programs must implement evidence-based practices. An evidence-based practice (EBP) refers to approaches to prevention, treatment, or recovery that are validated by documented research evidence.

Recipients Must Measure Program Performance

In addition, award recipients are required to report performance on National Outcomes Measures (NOMs) and Infrastructure Development, Prevention, and Mental Health Promotion (IPP) Indicators. Collecting these measures will allow award recipients to understand the impact of integrated care programs through improved health outcomes, patient engagement, and other key metrics.

Some of the required measures include:

  • The number and percentage of individuals receiving mental health or related services after referral
  • The number of individuals contacted through program outreach efforts
  • The number of persons served by age, gender, race and ethnicity
  • Reduced utilization of psychiatric inpatient beds
  • Decreased rate of readmission to State psychiatric hospitals within 30 days and 180 days

Further Integrated Behavioral Health Funding Requirements

Those submitting for integrated behavioral health funding must align their programs with SAMHSA’s values. The first core value is that programs are recovery-oriented, recognizing that recovery does not just entail improvement in an individual’s health, but also improvement or stability in home-life, in the individual’s purpose, and in his community or relationships. Stability in all four domains leads to sustained recovery.

Second, programs must be trauma-informed, meaning that providers recognize and respond to the lasting effects of experiencing a traumatic event. For example, NeuroFlow trains response services coordinators in trauma-informed practices so that when they contact individuals in crisis, they lead with empathy and understanding to accommodate individuals’ needs.

Finally, programs developed through this grant must be equity-based. This means that programs provide access to high-quality care regardless of individuals’ race, age, ethnicity, gender, disability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or geographical location. The goal of creating equity-based programs is to reduce behavioral health disparities in underserved populations by addressing social needs alongside mental and physical well-being. 

Technology will play an important role in supporting states launching integrated care programs, from identification of behavioral health needs to providing clinical decision support to care team members. Learn how NeuroFlow supports Medicaid populations and their care teams by enabling behavioral health integration in care management, improving health outcomes, and lowering costs.

Ellen Harvey is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at NeuroFlow. She has over nine years of experience writing about technology and innovation for business leaders. At NeuroFlow, she writes about prominent trends in behavioral health and illustrates how NeuroFlow's technology helps healthcare, payor, and government organizations improve the well-being of their constituents.

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