Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell Thursday announced $500,000 in Affordable Care Act funding to support two health centers in Nebraska to establish or expand behavioral health services for 2,389 Nebraskans.
Nationally, HHS awarded $54.6 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support 221 health centers in 47 states and Puerto Rico to establish or expand behavioral health services for over 450,000 people. Health centers will use these new funds for efforts such as hiring new mental health professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder health services, and employing integrated models of primary care.
“These awards will further reduce the barriers that too often prevent Nebraskans from getting the help they need for mental health problems,” said Secretary Burwell. “Health centers in Nebraska with these awards are on the front lines of better integrating mental health into primary care and improving access to care through the Affordable Care Act.”
The Affordable Care Act expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits for approximately 60 million Americans nationwide, including 402,301 Nebraskans. Thursday’s announcement gives those with newly expanded health coverage additional opportunities to access high quality care.
“These Affordable Care Act funds will enable community health centers to better meet the needs of people with mental health conditions in communities across Nebraska,” said Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.
Thursday, nearly seven health centers operate more than 38 service delivery sites that provide care to over 62,589 patients in Nebraska. In 2013, Nebraska health centers saw over 5,243 behavioral health patients. Nationally, nearly 1,300 health centers operate more than 9,200 service delivery sites that provide care to over 21.7 million patients in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. In 2013, health centers saw over 1.2 million behavioral health patients nationwide.