Recently, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded nearly $4 million in System of Care Expansion Planning grants to more than 10 different recipients. SAMHSA, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency, distributes the SAMHSA grants to help encourage the development of a more sustained system of coordinated care for those with emotional disturbances, with a special emphasis on children and youth.
“Systems of care help coordinate resources and supports in communities to improve all aspects of a young person’s health and well-being, which includes their emotional and behavioral health,” said Pamela Hyde, a SAMHSA administrator. “The planning that will occur through these grants will improve services and systems intended to meet the behavioral health needs of families and entire communities.”
Among the grantees are the State of Nebraska, the City of Pasadena, Calif., the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and the Native American tribe, the Ho-Chunk Nation, from Black River Falls, Wis., among others.
Earlier in July, SAMHSA also announced that it would award up to $750,000 to help opioid treatment programs develop behavioral and mental health EHR systems. This specially designed software would enable the treatment programs to meet regulatory requirements and reach interoperability with other EHR systems, creating a continuum of coordinated care. According to Hyde, in health information exchange is an essential feature of the opioid treatment programs’ EHR software, since it provides the necessary care to yield better behavioral health and the potential for recovery.
SAMHSA awarded 15 of the one-year grants, each approximately $50,000, to various programs across the U.S. in states from Massachusetts to Kansas to California.
Despite age or addiction, SAMHSA’s goals are to create a continuum of care for mental and behavioral health patients. Services like mental health EHR and other coordinated care processes can make a difference, improving clinical and financial outcomes, while creating a smoother workflow for medical professionals. The SAMHSA grants offer communities the tool sets to get started.