The Behavioral Health Integration grants are funded with revenues from Proposition 56, a 2016 measure to support Medi-Cal through tobacco taxes. The state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced the program in late 2019 as a way to incentivize improvement of physical and behavioral health outcomes, care delivery efficiency, and patient experience.
PHC encouraged all eligible providers to apply, and 41 organizations – including clinics, hospitals, substance use providers, telehealth, counties, and mental health providers – submitted applications. DHCS selected 30 organizations from that group and determined the funding amounts. The BHI projects were scheduled to begin in April 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DHCS delayed the start until January 2021.
The funded projects address the following categories: basic behavioral health integration; maternal access to mental health and substance use treatment; medication management for co-occurring chronic medical and behavioral diagnoses; diabetes screening and treatment for those with serious mental illness; improving follow-up after hospitalization for mental illness; and improving follow-up after emergency visits for behavioral health diagnoses.