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HHS announces new funding opportunity to strengthen behavioral health services in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

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    HHS announces new funding opportunity to strengthen behavioral health services in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

    On May 16, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new $15 million funding opportunity for a three-year federal grant to establish a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) program that will strengthen the delivery of behavioral health care to residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. 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 of Excellence).

    The Center of Excellence is aimed to improve overall health care in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities by providing free and direct consultation to staff to increase understanding, improve awareness, reduce stigmatization and build knowledge and skills for effective resident care. This includes accessibility of evidence-based training and technical assistance focused on mental health disorder identification, treatment and recovery support services.

    SAMHSA reports that the nursing home and geriatric workforce are not routinely trained in how to recognize and effectively address serious mental illness, which results in the behavioral health needs for older adults often being overlooked and stigmatized. Recent workforce shortages attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated gaps in resident care that promote overall wellness. The Center of Excellence will provide counties with much needed support to strengthen and sustain effective behavioral health practices and help achieve better outcomes for older adults who have serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use issues, or co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.

    County-owned health facilities are directly eligible to apply for the funding, which would provide up to $4.96 million per year for three years to one grantee later this fiscal year. To view the full notice of funding opportunity and application instructions, click here.

    In addition to HHS’ recent announcement, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing focused on providing mental health care for older adults. During the hearing, lawmakers highlighted the bipartisan PACE Expanded Act (S.3626) which would increase the availability of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) nationwide. To view the hearing, click here.

    Across 40 states, counties own or directly support 758 nursing homes. County governments depend on partnerships at the federal level that will establish a strong health care workforce in long-term care in nursing environments to provide the highest level of care to our most vulnerable residents. Counties support federal efforts to ensure all residents receive a full continuum of high-quality health care in local facilities.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

    • One Pager: Behavioral Health Matters to Counties
    • NACo Blog: U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee releases bipartisan mental health and substance use disorder legislation
    • NACo Brief: Nursing Homes & COVID-19
    HHS announces new funding opportunity to strengthen the delivery of behavioral health care to residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
    2022-05-20
    Blog
    2022-05-25
HHS announces new funding opportunity to strengthen the delivery of behavioral health care to residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities Counties support enhanced funding to improve behavioral health services for older Americans

On May 16, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new $15 million funding opportunity for a three-year federal grant to establish a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) program that will strengthen the delivery of behavioral health care to residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. 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 of Excellence).

The Center of Excellence is aimed to improve overall health care in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities by providing free and direct consultation to staff to increase understanding, improve awareness, reduce stigmatization and build knowledge and skills for effective resident care. This includes accessibility of evidence-based training and technical assistance focused on mental health disorder identification, treatment and recovery support services.

SAMHSA reports that the nursing home and geriatric workforce are not routinely trained in how to recognize and effectively address serious mental illness, which results in the behavioral health needs for older adults often being overlooked and stigmatized. Recent workforce shortages attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated gaps in resident care that promote overall wellness. The Center of Excellence will provide counties with much needed support to strengthen and sustain effective behavioral health practices and help achieve better outcomes for older adults who have serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use issues, or co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.

County-owned health facilities are directly eligible to apply for the funding, which would provide up to $4.96 million per year for three years to one grantee later this fiscal year. To view the full notice of funding opportunity and application instructions, click here.

In addition to HHS’ recent announcement, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing focused on providing mental health care for older adults. During the hearing, lawmakers highlighted the bipartisan PACE Expanded Act (S.3626) which would increase the availability of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) nationwide. To view the hearing, click here.

Across 40 states, counties own or directly support 758 nursing homes. County governments depend on partnerships at the federal level that will establish a strong health care workforce in long-term care in nursing environments to provide the highest level of care to our most vulnerable residents. Counties support federal efforts to ensure all residents receive a full continuum of high-quality health care in local facilities.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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