Oklahoma Moves to Cover Funding for Clinics as Federal Mental Health Act Expires

Apr 1, 2019

State officials stepped in Monday to make up for now-expired federal funding for comprehensive mental health clinics spread across Oklahoma.

The three Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics were funded through a two-year program seeking to expand access to mental health and addiction treatment.

"So, this is a game-changer for rural Oklahoma, particularly, and allows us to provide a wide array of services to keep the person in the community and the families in the community," said Grand Lake Mental Health Center CEO Charles Danley. "So, the cessation of this program would be like going back to the Dark Ages."

The feds covered Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics in eight states for a two-year demonstration period, which just ended in Oklahoma and Oregon. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board approved a proposal to cover the clinics under the state's Medicaid plan. Oklahoma will cover $618,000 and ask for about $1 million more in Medicaid funds to cover CCBHCs for the next three months.

"We’re going to continue with the CCBHC as it currently is, and hoping and praying and believing in Washington, D.C., as well as the state that we’ll be able to be funded in a short period of time," Danley said.

There are plans to pay for the clinics longer if needed. They’re intended to increase access to mental health and addiction treatment.

Grand Lake, Red Rock and North Care offer mental health and addiction treatment services in Oklahoma, Greer, Caddo, Kiowa, Roger Mills, Canadian, Lincoln, Grady, Beckham, Kingfisher, Pottawatomie, Blaine, Nowata, Rogers, Craig, Washington, Delaware, Mayes and Ottawa counties.

Congressman Markwayne Mullin is helping push full reauthorization of the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which paid for the two-year demonstration, as part of a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers.

Mullin and Pryor police officials said last month the Grand Lake Mental Health Center has dramatically cut incarceration and the time officers must spend with people in mental health crisis.