Improved Mental Health and Fentanyl Treatment Options Coming to Auburn, Longview, Yakima, and Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood

Four CCBHCs — clinics focused on mental health and substance use treatment for low-income patients — each receive grants of approx. $1M

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four communities in Washington state will be served by expanded Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) thanks to federal funding announced today by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Sen. Cantwell helped create the CCBHC program and worked to secure $8.6 billion in funding for CCBHCs over the next 10 years through 2022’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Four U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health & Substance Abuse Service Grants of approximately $1 million each have been awarded to fund certifications and expansions of CCBHCs in Auburn, Longview, Yakima, and Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The four grants announced today are going to these organizations:

Sound Mental Health, Auburn ($940,298) & Capitol Hill ($940,298)

These grants will fund planning, development, and expansion to make Sound’s Auburn and Capitol Hill clinics certified as CCBHCs. The projects will fund improved behavioral treatment for the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and veterans populations in King County. This will include support for opiate addiction recovery, including medication assisted treatment.

“Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics provide essential tools to help patients avoid emergency room visits and get on a path to recovery,” said Sen. Cantwell. “More low-cost services like medication-assisted treatment and outpatient care options will now be available at Sound’s Seattle and Auburn locations thanks to these new CCBHC certifications.”

In June, Sen. Cantwell held a press conference at Sound Capitol Hill, one of the CCBHCs receiving the funding announced today. During the visit, she called on more facilities statewide to apply for funding.

Columbia Wellness, Longview ($999,470)

The grant will fund improvement and advancement at this existing CCBHC.

“For years, Columbia Wellness in Longview has provided residents with low-cost, effective treatment plans for folks battling opioid addiction and living with mental health disorders,” said Sen. Cantwell. “These investments in Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics across our state will help increase capacity and expand services, ensuring more Washingtonians can access the care they need.”

Comprehensive Healthcare, Yakima ($1,000,000)

This existing CCBHC will use the grant to create an integrated physical health clinic onsite to work with clients who have no primary care, make it possible for people suffering from opioid use disorder to start medication assisted treatment more quickly, and expand outreach at homeless sites to provide primary care.

The State of Washington’s fentanyl crisis hit Yakima hard,” said Sen. Cantwell. “This investment in Yakima’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic will get folks struggling with addiction into medication assisted treatment faster, create an onsite health clinic, and give providers the resources they need to better treat unhoused patients.”

CCBHCs fill a gap in the health care system by ensuring access to coordinated comprehensive behavioral health care. CCBHCs treat anyone – regardless of their ability to pay – and focus on Medicaid patients. In Washington state, 17 individual local health centers are active CCBHCs.

Sen. Cantwell was a key Congressional champion of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act, which passed as part of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act and created the CCBHC initiative in 2014. The initiative allows qualified and eligible clinics to attain a CCBHC designation in return for enhanced Medicaid payments. Under the program, both states and individual local health centers or organizations may apply for grants.

As of October 2022, more than 500 CCBHCs served 2.1 million patients nationwide. Since Congress created the grant program for CCBHCs, Sen. Cantwell has worked with her colleagues to ensure clinics in Washington state are eligible for funding and has worked with clinics throughout the state to help them procure funding through the program.

According to updated figures released by the CDC last week, 106,275 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12-month period ending in April 2023 – a figure that the CDC projects will increase with additional reporting – and a staggering 67% of overdose deaths in 2022 involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.  Overdose deaths in Washington increased by 31.3% during that time, the highest increase of any state.  In June, researchers at the University of Washington reported that in 2022, fentanyl was involved in 90% of opioid overdoses in Washington state and 65% of all overdose deaths.

Sen. Cantwell has been conducting a listening tour across Washington state to hear from people on the front lines of the fentanyl crisis. She has made nine stops on the tour so far. In May, Sen. Cantwell hosted a fentanyl crisis roundtable discussion in Pierce County followed by a second roundtable discussion in Snohomish County in June; in July, she convened a roundtable in the Tri-Cities, a roundtable in downtown Seattle and a roundtable in Spokane. Last month, Sen. Cantwell hosted roundtables in Vancouver, WAPort AngelesWalla Walla, and Yakima.

In addition, in August, Sen. Cantwell attended and spoke at the National Tribal Opioid Summit, a gathering of approximately 900 tribal leaders, health care workers, and first responders from across the country.  The summit was organized by the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and the National Indian Health Board and hosted by the Tulalip Tribes and followed a first-ever statewide summit hosted by the Lummi Nation. At the national summit, Sen. Cantwell heard powerful stories from Tribal community members with lived experience and discussed the scope and impact of the fentanyl crisis, as well as the pressing need for greater federal assistance for Tribes.