SAMHSA Is Seeking Comments on a New Unified Application for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block Grants

SAMHSA announces a new approach for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SAPTBG) and the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHSBG). Under this new approach, the grant applications will merge, providing states and territories the opportunity to use block grant dollars for prevention, recovery supports, and other services that supplement services covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance.

The block grant funds will be directed to four purposes:

  • Fund priority treatment and support services for individuals without insurance or for whom coverage is terminated for short periods of time.
  • Fund those priority treatment and support services that demonstrate success in improving outcomes and/or supporting recovery for low-income individuals and are not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance.
  • Fund primary prevention—universal, selective, and indicated prevention activities and services for persons not yet identified as needing treatment.
  • Collect performance and outcome data to determine the ongoing effectiveness of behavioral health promotion, treatment, and recovery support services and plan the implementation of new services on a nationwide basis.

SAMHSA will work with states and territories to plan for and transition the block grants to these four purposes. In redesigning their plans, states will consider new factors: conducting a needs assessment of their behavioral health system, developing collaborative plans for health information systems, forming strategic partnerships to provide individuals better access to behavioral health services, and redesigning systems and services to increase accountability and improve the performance of services funded. SAMHSA invites your comments on the proposed grant application.