Summary and Purpose
The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) provides grant funds to establish or expand an organized community-based system of care for providing non-Title XIX mental health services to children with serious emotional disturbances (SED) and adults with serious mental illness (SMI). States are required to submit an application for each fiscal year the State is seeking funds. These funds are used to: (1) carry out the State plan contained in the application; (2) evaluate programs and services, and; (3) conduct planning, administration, and educational activities related to the provision of services. Much of the MHBG-funded services in California are provided to individuals that otherwise may not have public or private health insurance.
DHCS distributes MHBG funding to participating county mental health departments and encourages counties to implement innovative programs and services that may not be funded by typical mainstream mental health programs. Counties are allowed full flexibility (within the limits of allowable activity requirements) to fund programs that provide maximum impact and positive outcomes to their residents. MHBG funds support over 150 unique programs in California.
Source of Funds
The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant is funded through the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). CMHS is one of three centers within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
The California State Department Health Care Services (DHCS) administers the block grant and allocates the funds each year to the 58 local county mental health plans (MHPs). The MHPs and their contracted providers deliver a broad array of treatment and support services that include over 150 individual programs supported by the block grant.
In order to receive the formula allocation, each county is required to submit an annual application or expenditure plan that includes a narrative detailing their intended use of the funds. In addition, the county application must include a Federal Grant Detailed Provider Budget for each program, and signed assurances accepting the Block grant funds under the conditions established by governing federal and State laws, regulations and guidelines, as well as specific conditions included in their county application.
Each county must provide financial reporting on a quarterly basis and also an annual cost report. Additionally, counties are required to submit a one-page data sheet for each program funded with the block grant. That data sheet is used to provide information to the federal government as part of the State Plan.
Federal statute requires independent peer reviews to assess quality, appropriateness, and efficacy of services utilizing Block Grant funding. The former Department of Mental Health entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Mental Health Planning Council to conduct the reviews. No fewer than 5% of counties will be reviewed annually.
Public Comment Process
Under the authority of the Public Health Service Act, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), awards block grants to states to establish or expand an organized community-based system for providing mental health services for adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances. States are required to submit bi-annual applications and an annual plan update for MHBG funding. The funds awarded are to be used to carry out the State Plan contained in the application, to evaluate programs and services set in place under the Plan, and to conduct planning, administration and educational activities related to the provision of services under the Plan.