Transitions of Western Illinois to be included in Illinois’ CCBHC Medicaid demonstration program

Transitions new

QUINCY — Illinois recently was selected as one of 10 states to participate in the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid Demonstration Program designed to expand and improve access to coordinated mental health care and substance use services, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week.

Transitions of Western Illinois in Quincy is one of 15 community mental health centers in Illinois that will be part of this demonstration program. 

The CCBHC Demonstration Program provides reimbursement through Medicaid for the full cost of services that CCBHCs provide, and at higher rates than community mental health centers previously received for Medicaid customers. HHS anticipates this program will bring an additional $150 million into Illinois’ behavioral health system.

Mark Schmitz, executive director at Transitions, explained in a press release the impact of being involved in this project.

“It is no secret that the need for behavioral health services has grown in recent years, stretching the capacity of community organizations across the state,” he said. “For agencies like Transitions of Western Illinois, the adoption of the CCBHC model holds the promise of helping us grow in our capacity to provide the volume and types of services to meet that need.  Being selected for participation as a CCBHC provider also represents the culmination of a huge effort on the part of agencies, like Transitions, to meet the rigorous certification standards required for participation in the program.”    

CCBHCs must serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use conditions. Transitions has always provided mental health services to anyone who needs such services. Being involved in this demonstration project, however, will enable the agency to increase its range of mental health services to include care coordination services, expanded evidence-based treatment practices, expanded substance use treatment services, expanded services for veterans and their families, and other services based upon community needs.  

CCBHCs are required to provide routine outpatient care within 10 business days following the request for services, as well as expanded walk-in urgent care services. 

“These urgent care services and requirements for the timely meeting of the treatment needs of those who request services will address mental health access issues that have existed in our community,” Schmitz said.  

Transitions plans to provide more intensive team-based treatment and support services to those who have a serious mental illness and those who are in crisis.  

“CCBHCs are required to provide care coordination services that improve coordination between behavioral health services and primary care services,” Schmitz said, “They also encourage the development of community support teams, a team of providers who will provide intensive services to those who have a serious mental illness.”

CCBHCs are expected to expand crisis services from the existing mobile crisis services already provided to include places for people to go when they need crisis support.  This will enable alternatives to hospitalization. 

Illinois is one of the 10 new states chosen for the CCBHC Demonstration Program, along with Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Oregon already are part of the program.

Transitions is a not-for-profit community mental health center founded in 1955 as the Adams County Mental Health Center.  The agency employs almost 200 people and has service locations in 10 locations throughout the community.  The agency primarily serves Adams County but provides mobile crisis services to Hancock, Brown, Pike and Schuyler counties. The agency serves approximately 6,500 area residents annually.

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