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California Announces $430 Million In Awards To Improve State’s Behavioral Health Infrastructure

SACRAMENTO — The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) today announced awards of $430 million for projects that will increase mental health and substance use disorder treatment infrastructure in 21 counties. The awards are being made under the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program (BHCIP) Round 5: Crisis and Behavioral Health Continuum grants.

“These investments will build crisis care capacity so Californians can get the help they need when it may be needed the most. California continues to advance the health and well-being of all Californians and is maintaining critical investments to support the state’s most vulnerable communities, while delivering on our vision of a Healthy California for All,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: BHCIP is part of a broader Administration commitment to improve the state’s behavioral health and long-term care continuum infrastructure. The focus of this round of BHCIP funding was determined in part by the statewide needs assessment that found significant gaps in the availability of crisis services and supported an organized continuum of crisis services to reduce emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and incarceration. The list of BHCIP Round 5: Crisis and Behavioral Health Continuum awardees can be found on the BHCIP Data Dashboard.

KEY DETAILS: BHCIP Round 5: Crisis and Behavioral Health Continuum grant funding will support the addition of 29 new inpatient and residential facility sites with 774 new treatment beds, and 41 outpatient facilities with more than 84,000 new annual treatment slots. Of these facilities, the first BHCIP-funded Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) will be available in California’s behavioral health care continuum. The PRTF is a facility-type enacted by AB 2317 in 2022 and is designed to serve individuals age 21 and younger.

AWARDEES: One of this round’s grant awardees is WellSpace Health, a community health system providing comprehensive medical, dental, behavioral health, and supportive services to the Sacramento region’s vulnerable population and a foundational provider in the health care continuum. WellSpace Health’s BHCIP Round 5 award amount will fund an adult residential substance use disorder treatment facility with incidental medical services and DHCS/American Society of Addiction Medicine Level of Care 3.5 or 3.2 Designation for 200 beds.

“As a Medi-Cal provider, WellSpace Health is both the largest federally qualified health center system and biggest Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System in the region, and an innovator driving California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal’s (CalAIM) Enhanced Care Management and Community Supports,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg in his letter of support for the project. “WellSpace plays a critical role in Sacramento’s ongoing effort to address our crisis of unsheltered homelessness, mental illness, and addiction. The City of Sacramento has partnered with WellSpace on important initiatives to support people suffering from addiction. With the support of BHCIP Round 5 funding, I’m optimistic we can increase access to highquality comprehensive care, especially as it relates to the behavioral health crisis.”

Another grant awardee is the City and County of San Francisco, a behavioral health services agency overseeing the provision of all public behavioral health services to the county’s MediCal, indigent, Supplemental Security Income, low-income, undocumented, and uninsured client populations who present with moderate to severe mental health and/or substance use disorders. The project will fund behavioral health urgent care/mental health urgent care with 2,126 annual slots, a Narcotic Treatment Program Medication Unit with 250 annual slots, and office-based outpatient treatment with 1,690 annual slots.

“This site will provide a one-stop drop-in access point for urgent care, outpatient services, street outreach behavioral health services, pharmacy and office-based buprenorphine induction clinic services, CalAIM Enhanced Care Management, and care coordination. The services will be provided to behavioral health clients most at risk and with the fewest resources in an area of our county with the highest concentration of individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Dr. Hilary Kunins, Director of Behavioral Health Services and Mental Health San Francisco, in her letter of support for the project. “Our team will be adding additional operating hours into the evening and weekends to serve the county’s new mental health service center in a strategic location. The co-location and expansion of Enhanced Care Management and Office of Coordinated Care services, along with the proximity of co-located outpatient direct clinical services planned at the site, will improve coordination and services delivery.”

A third grant awardee is the Bakersfield American Indian Health Project, Inc. (BAIHP), an urban Indian organization serving urban American Indians and Alaska Natives in the greater Bakersfield/Kern County area, where a significant part of the population identifies as Indigenous. The project will fund a community wellness center with 150 slots for mental health, 145 slots for substance use disorder, and 350 slots for wellness/prevention.

“Services of this nature are truly needed in the Kern River Valley service area, especially with the added component of traditional and cultural services,” said Robert Gomez, Chairman of the Tubatulabal Tribe, in his letter of support for the project. “Our tribal community recognizes the need and benefit of the BAIHP’s holistic and cultural approach to their services. Our tribal community has worked, collaborated, and supported the BAIHP in the recent past and looks forward to working with them in the future.”

ABOUT THE GRANT: This historic investment, the fifth of six rounds of BHCIP funding, provides grants for crisis and behavioral health infrastructure to serve vulnerable Californians of all ages, including Medi-Cal members. Grant awardees of BHCIP Round 5: Crisis and Behavioral Health Continuum funding include counties, tribal entities, nonprofits, and for-profit organizations that serve target populations. Grantees were selected based on several state priorities, such as meeting the needs of vulnerable populations with the greatest barriers to access, including people experiencing homelessness and justice involvement. These funded projects can support other critical behavioral health initiatives, such as the implementation of AB 988 (Chapter 747, Statutes of 2022) and the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act, ensuring that care is delivered in the least restrictive settings by creating and enhancing a wide range of outpatient and residential settings. With all five rounds of BHCIP funding, DHCS has announced awards totaling $1.7 billion.

WHAT COMES NEXT: The remaining BHCIP grant funding, Round 6, totaling $480 million, will be released in state fiscal years 2024-2025 (Part I) and 2025-2026 (Part II). BHCIP Round 6 Part I is in development with an anticipated release of the Request for Application in January 2024 and award announcements in July 2024. This round of funding will focus on unmet needs and continue to expand behavioral health service capacity across the state. For more information about these grants, as well as past BHCIP funding rounds, please visit the Improving California’s Infrastructure website.