Grants will help integrate physical and behavioral health
at 147 locations statewide
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2023
Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
Denver, CO - The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) has awarded grants to 81 organizations to improve access to integrated primary care, mental health and substance use services. These grants were made possible by the Primary Care and Behavioral Health Statewide Integration Grant Program created by HB22-1302, which focuses on rural and frontier locations to increase the number of communities with access to behavioral health services. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the need for accessible behavioral health services statewide, and the state legislature prioritized funding to increase these services in primary care offices. The grant prioritizes Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members, yet provides funding for practices serving all Coloradans.
From 2023-2026, the 81 grants totaling $29 million will improve, increase, or add integrated behavioral health services at 147 locations throughout Colorado. The program also funds behavioral health providers who want to offer primary care services, so patients can access whole person care where they get their mental health and substance use treatments.
Grantees can use their awarded funds for projects such as:
- New models of care that help an office build special care teams and connect with psychiatrists and addiction medicine specialists and social programs
- Advancing telehealth platforms, electronic health records systems, and billing systems
- Increasing workforce - such as hiring behavioral health providers and training existing providers on effective mental health and substance use programs
- Creating provider space - such as redesigning rooms to provide individual or group counseling
- Training, education, and licensing/credentialing for primary care teams
For patients, this means they can get behavioral health counseling, medications, and integrated care support close to home. This also helps address the workforce shortage, improving primary care offices’ ability to serve people with behavioral health needs.
“Coloradans, especially those in rural and underserved areas, need more access to behavioral health care,” said Cristen Bates, Director of HCPF’s Office of Medicaid & CHP Behavioral Health Initiatives & Coverage. “These grants will provide the fuel many organizations need to meaningfully increase the amount and quality of behavioral health care they can provide and in a setting where many patients feel more comfortable - in the office of their family doctor.”
The state received hundreds of applications, showing strong interest from local communities to build access in their region. For more information on the grant recipients, where they are and how they’ll be putting the grant dollars to work, visit hcpf.colorado.gov/integratedcare and watch this webpage for updates on how the grant project evolves.
About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), Child Health Plan Plus, and other programs for Coloradans who qualify. These health care programs now cover about one in four Coloradans. For more information about the Department, please visit hcpf.colorado.gov.