The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has received a $1 million planning grant to expand access to high-quality, evidence-based, and trauma-informed behavioral health services. DHHS will use the funding to plan for a new, more integrated approach to community-based services in New Hampshire—called the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic model—that has been associated with numerous positive outcomes in other states, including reduced emergency department visits and hospital readmissions. The funding will support the efforts of the State’s community mental health centers (CMHCs) to expand infrastructure and capacity. New Hampshire is one of only 15 states to receive the grant from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
“In New Hampshire, we take mental and behavioral health seriously,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “We’re happy to be one of 15 states to receive a grant to expand community based services, a model that has proven to be effective.”
“This highly-competitive federal award signals the next chapter in bold integration and innovation in the State’s community-based behavioral health system. It is also a recognition by the federal government of New Hampshire’s existing strengths,” said DHHS Interim Commissioner Lori Weaver. “The grant will allow the State to enhance our efforts to reconfigure the community-based model with a greater focus on the mental health and substance use needs of children and families, reductions in wait times as well as readmissions, and payment methodologies that will enable more competitive salaries and alleviate workforce shortages. Given the behavioral health needs in New Hampshire, this funding is a historic opportunity.”
By the end of the planning year, three CMHCs will have completed their community needs assessment, expanded services according to local need, completed their cost estimate, and provided data and quality reports. DHHS will support all other NH CMHCs in developing the knowledge and capacity necessary to begin implementing the model through similar supports geared to their introductory needs: learning communities, consultation and technical assistance.
The funding will enable DHHS to obtain stakeholder input, develop infrastructure to support CMHCs, develop new payment systems, and improve data and metrics tracking. Through these DHHS and CMHC activities, New Hampshire will be prepared to implement the new behavioral health service system and be eligible to participate in a national demonstration project.