Paramus-based Care Plus NJ recently announced it was awarded two federal grants over for years from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) totaling $8 million, to enhance its Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) services in Bergen County as well as expand the program to establish CCBHC services in Essex County.
The funding will allow CarePlus NJ to address disparities in rapid access to behavioral health services and better integrate them with primary care to improve health outcomes, with a focus on underserved populations.
As a CCBHC certified by the State of New Jersey, since 2017, CarePlus NJ has been providing person- and family-centered integrated services in Bergen County to support recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorders (SUD) by providing access to high-quality mental health and SUD services, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
“As one of State of New Jersey’s first CCBHCs established in 2017, we are acutely aware of the critical need to enhance and expand access to integrated primary and behavioral health care, especially for historically underserved populations including communities of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” Brigitte Johnson, president and CEO, CarePlus NJ said. “The funding will allow us to build on our agency’s goals of improving health equity and embedding DEIB in all areas of the organization to ensure we are continuing to enhance access to integrated care for the populations who need it most.”
In Bergen County, CarePlus NJ will build upon its integrated behavioral health treatment services for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), serious emotional disturbance (SED), substance use disorders (SUD), and co-occurring disorders (COD), focusing on individuals with behavioral health needs including adults who are not securely connected to primary care, children ages 5-17 with SED and/or SUD, low-income individuals, those who self-identify as LGBTQ+, those who are diagnosed with SMI, and the general population, including active military and veterans. CarePlus NJ will use the funding to improve diagnostic and treatment planning, care coordination, and case consultation to promote integrated primary and behavioral healthcare as well as better pathways to urgent and emergent healthcare.
In Essex County, CarePlus NJ will establish CCBHC services to address care disparities among historically underserved populations including those who self-identify as Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ+. CarePlus NJ’s CCBHC services in Essex County will address disparities in rapid access to behavioral health services for these populations by conducting a community needs assessment, establishing a walk-in rapid access behavioral health center, and increasing community outreach, training, screening, assessment, and linkages to care.
“Our Bergen County CCBHC has made substantial progress over the past several years yet there is still significant unmet need this funding will enable us to address. The expansion of our CCBHC services to Essex County will also be vital in addressing the lack of behavioral and mental health services in the county, which ranks 17 out of 21 in the state in both health outcomes and health factors,” Johnson added.