April 13, 2024


Extraordinary care

New HHS program boosts behavioral health in nursing homes, long-term care centers

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HHS has announced funding of approximately $15 million for a 3-year federal grant to establish a program to strengthen behavioral health care for residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

The HHS revealed in a release that the new Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration program, funded by CMS, will help establish a Center of Excellence for Building Capacity in Nursing Facilities to Care for Residents with Behavioral Health Conditions.

Doctor and patient smiling

Source: Adobe Stock.

“Physical health and mental health are equally important and should be treated as such, including in our nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the release.

The new center will provide direct consultation to staff to increase understanding, improve awareness, reduce stigmatization, and build knowledge and skills for effective resident care. In turn, those skills are expected to strengthen and sustain effective behavioral health practices and achieve better outcomes for residents dealing with serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use issues or concurrent mental health and substance use conditions.

The program will be financed through CMS’ Civil Money Penalty funds, which come from collected civil money penalties levied against nursing homes and other long-term care facilities when they are not in substantial compliance with one or more Medicare and Medicaid program participation requirements.

“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,” Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, HHS assistant secretary for mental health and substance use and the leader of SAMHSA, said in the release.