County Behavioral Health Landscape

America’s 3,069 counties are integral to America’s behavioral health system. Counties annually invest $83 billion in community health systems, including behavioral health services. Through 750 behavioral health authorities and community providers, county governments plan and operate community-based services for persons with mental illnesses and substance use conditions. County-based behavioral health systems exist in 23 states that represent 75 percent of the U.S. population.

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On April 10, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) published a draft Policy Information Notice (PIN), which proposed critical guidance to improve health outcomes for justice-involved individuals reentering their communities. By leveraging Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs), the policy aims to provide essential health services to incarcerated individuals during the 90 days prior to their release. This initiative seeks to enhance care coordination, reduce recidivism and alleviate the financial burden on county health systems.

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Congress reintroduces the Michelle Alyssa Go Act, a critical step for county behavioral health systems

On May 28, the Michelle Alyssa Go Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation aims to increase the number of federal Medicaid-eligible in-patient psychiatric beds from 16 to 36, providing critical support for individuals seeking treatment for mental health and substance use disorders.

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Advocacy

County Countdown – June 3, 2024

Every other week, NACo’s County Countdown reviews top federal policy advocacy items with an eye towards counties and the intergovernmental partnership.