Marshall Announces Kansas Grant to Improve Behavioral Health

(Washington, D.C., March 16, 2023) – Today, U.S. Senator Marshall, M.D. (KS) announced the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded the state of Kansas a $1 million, one-year planning grant to expand certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) across the state. CCBHCs have shown to reduce hospital emergency services by providing timely access to coordinated comprehensive behavioral care, and they have also provided aid to local law enforcement agencies by providing 24-hour mental health crisis response. Senator Marshall led the Kansas delegation in sending a letter to SAMHSA in support of the state’s application.

“CCBHCs can help transform communities across Kansas by providing timely access to comprehensive behavioral and mental care,” said Senator Marshall. “I value how CCBHCs work collaboratively with hospitals to step in and reduce emergency department visits and aid law enforcement officers in responding to individuals suffering from a behavioral health crisis. I applaud the state legislature for laying the groundwork and passing comprehensive legislation to increase the number of CCBHCs in the state and congratulate KDADS and KDHE for being one of 15 states selected to participate in this pilot program. This has been a collaborative effort since we extended the federal pilot program in December 2020. I’ll continue to assist the state agencies and CCBHCs so they successfully serve Kansans in need.”

“We are honored to be one of the 15 states receiving this planning grant, the first step on the path toward Kansas ultimately being selected as one of 10 to SAMHSA’s CCBHC Medicaid Demonstration project,” said KDADS Secretary Laura Howard. “Participation in that project would highlight the significant work Kansas has put into strengthening and transforming the state’s behavioral health system one community at a time and hold us up as an example for the rest of the nation.”

“Kansas has been a leader in the CCBHC arena, launching its first CCBHCs almost a year ago,” said KDHE State Medicaid Director Sarah Fertig. “This planning grant will allow the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to build on its success and help drive better integration of primary care and behavioral health. This award would not be possible without close partnerships with providers and the support of our Congressional delegation.”

You may click HERE or scroll down to the read the full text of the letter.

January 25, 2022

The Honorable Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D.

Assistant Secretary

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, M.D. 20857

Dear Assistant Secretary Delphin-Rittmon:

We write in strong support of the Kansas Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Planning Grant proposal submitted to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).[1]  Since Congress provided an expansion of this grant program, we have been in communication with the state agencies – the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment – as well as the 26 community mental health centers. We commend the work of the state legislature that made this possible and the proposal submitted by the state agencies. If awarded, our communities will be empowered to transform mental health services to provide timely access to care and strengthen the mental health workforce.

The state of mental health in Kansas is among the worst in the country. According to a report from Mental Health America, a community-based research and advocacy organization, Kansas is ranked the overall worst across 15 measures.[2] In fact, the largest effects on the overall ranking were youths with substance use disorder, adults with mental illness, and adults with suicidal ideation. Observing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kansas had historically poor outcomes for its patients. In suicide, Kansas had among thehighest rate for people age 15-24 and 10-14 from 2016 to 2020.[3] Young Kansans reporting feelings of sadness and hopelessness increased from 25 percent to nearly 38 percent between 2016 to last year.[4] Several barriers have exacerbated the state of mental health care in our state including timely access to care in appropriate settings. More often than not, law enforcement and hospital emergency departments have been the first touch point for patients experiencing a mental health crisis. While essential, they are not appropriate professionals trained to care for people experiencing a mental health crisis or issues related to substance use disorder.

Based on findings from states that have implemented a CCBHC demonstration, we are confident that Kansas will see positive health outcomes for patients.[5] CCBHCs provide life-saving services such as crisis care, residential treatment, medications for serious mental illness, outpatient mental health and primary care services, and community re-entry support. CCBHCs have also proven to reduce hospital emergency services by providing timely access to coordinated care, and they have also provided aid to local law enforcement agencies by providing 24-hour mental health crisis response.

All levels of government in and representing Kansas have diligently worked to make the CCBHC model a potential solution. In 2021, Kansas passed comprehensive legislation to establish a process for certifying CMHCs as CCBHCs. Since then, nine CMHCs have been certified, and the remaining 17 CMHCs are on track to be certified as a CCBHC by 2024. Already, the initial nine are showing progress in increasing access to mental health and substance use disorder services, integrating behavioral health with physical health care, and utilizing evidence-based practices. Though still in early adoption, the expansion of CCBHCs at the initial nine CMHCs is proving to increase responsiveness and availability of mental health services to the Kansas communities they serve. We are confident that Kansas presents both the need for and the ability to capitalize on the opportunities afforded through this grant.

This grant would allow the joint applicants to lay critical groundwork to ensure that the CCBHC system is established effectively. Among other priorities, the applicants will use this planning grant to provide training and technical assistance to the CMHCs, MCOs, and key partners. In addition, the grant will also help in informing existing state regulations, finalize the prospective payment system selection according to new federal guidance, and submit a proposal to participate in a demonstration managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.[6]                                                                                                          

We appreciate your work in advancing mental health initiatives that empower our communities to provide better access to mental health care. We believe this expansion grant is essential in providing better access to mental health care. Thank you for considering this application.


Roger Marshall, M.D.

U.S. Senator

Jerry Moran

U.S. Senator

Ron Estes

U.S. Representative

Sharice L. Davids

U.S. Representative