2024 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference Recap  

As an advocacy coalition, we’re always looking for opportunities to enhance awareness of our key policy initiatives and highlight the solutions they represent to advancing Washington’s community behavioral health system.  

State of Reform provides an exceptional platform for us to do just that – and this year’s Washington Health Policy Conference, held in Seattle in early January, was no exception.  

From participating in an energizing panel discussion on Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) to passing out Fourfront Contributor-branded goodies, including stress balls and pens, at our exhibitor table, our team had a bolstered presence at this year’s conference, providing ample opportunity to meet with peer providers, policymakers, and other influential people in healthcare reform. 

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our table and attended the panel discussion on CCBHCs!  

ICYMI: the panel discussion featured Fourfront Contributor leaders, Tom Sebastian of Compass Health and Katrina Egner of Sound, and Joan Miller from the Washington Council for Behavioral Health, and was jam-packed with learnings from states that have implemented CCBHCs as well as updates on where Washington stands in terms of statewide adoption of the model.  

“When you look at what they’re [CCBHCs] able to accomplish and get people in the door and keep them there, they’re doing things in exciting new ways and the data speaks for itself.”

Katrina Egner, Sound CEO speaking on the CCBHC model. 

Some key takeaways from the discussion include:  

  • Washington state behavioral health providers are still facing a record workforce shortage – as well as unprecedented demand for services. To hire and retain the staff necessary to keep pace with growing demand, we need a solution that will allow providers to pay competitive wages – the CCBHC model is that solution. 

  • The CCBHC model is a nationally proven, evidence-based approach to ensure access to coordinated comprehensive behavioral health care; across the country, 12 states have adopted the CCBHC model. So far, these states are driving powerful outcomes such as: 
    • Expanding access to care – CCBHCs and grantees are, on average, serving more than 900 more people per clinic than prior to CCBHC implementation, representing a 23% increase. 
    • Investing in the workforce – An estimated 11,240 new staff positions were added across all 450 active CCBHCs and grantees active as of August 2022. 
    • Coordination and integration with primary care – CCBHCs aim to support whole person health by advancing integration of behavioral health with physical health care. 
      • 81% of respondents report increasing the number of referrals to primary care since becoming a CCBHC. 
    • Check out the full 2022 CCBHC Impact Report on The National Council’s website for more outcomes here
  • In Washington, Comprehensive Healthcare, a Fourfront Contributor member organization that has received two PDI CCBHC grants, is already seeing impressive results, including: 
    • Improved same-day access – screening to assessment has gone from 41 days to two days. 
    • Added key staff positions vital to delivering same-day access to care, including a care coordinator and a community health worker.  
    • Decreased no-show rate – service encounter rates have increased 88%. 
    • Hired two crisis case managers to deliver crisis support within 24 hours.  
    • Hired two peer support specialists to expand access to heavily attended group offerings, including Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) and Illness Management and Recovery (IMR).  
  • These outcomes and others are made possible through the payment system under which CCBHCs operate – the Prospective Payment System (PPS). In short, the PPS allows providers to forecast community needs and secure adequate funding to deliver the services necessary to meet those needs.  

Hear Katrina Egner, CEO of Sound, speak more to the impact of the CCBHC model in her installment of State of Reform’s What They’re Watching video series:  

For those of you who may have missed us, stay up to date with our organization by signing up for our newsletter here, and we’ll look forward to hopefully seeing you at next year’s conference!