New Jersey will be one of eight states to test a new, multi-discipline approach of care for people with mental or emotional challenges, or substance abuse problems.

The two-year Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) pilot program operates under the auspices of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Shore Representative Frank Pallone (D-6) announced New Jersey's participation today.

The program integrates behavioral and physical therapies, incorporates a high degree of evidence-based practices, and aims to improve access to quality care.

“Improving the quality and scope of healthcare is critical to ensuring that individuals and families struggling with mental illness or substance use disorders get the tools they need to meet those challenges,” Pallone said in prepared remarks.

Congressman Frank Pallone (Townsquare Media)

“I am excited about the prospects of this demonstration project, and I hope it will improve health outcomes across New Jersey.”

CCBHCs were created through the Protecting Access to Medicare Act. Section 223 of the measure, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, focuses on improving access to community treatment services, and improving Medicare reimbursements for them.

In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $22,900,000 in funding. HHS's aim was to involve 24 states. However, the language of the legislation reduced the number to eight. New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, MInnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon and Oklahoma will be the testing grounds.

States have until June 30, 2017, to launch their demonstration programs.

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