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Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic: Delivering Whole-Person Care for All


In 2017, Citizen Advocates was one of only thirteen Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) in New York. The certification has helped pave the way for greater access to vital health care, including mental health and substance use disorder care. As models of health care continue to advance and improve, Citizen Advocates is proud to continue its mission as a CCBHC, providing mental health and substance use disorder care in a community-based setting to all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. Here is how the CCBHC model works and what it means for those who are designated.

According to the National Council, CCBHC models transform substance use and mental health care delivery systems while “alleviating decades-old challenges that have led to a crisis in providing access to mental health and addiction care.” These challenges include long wait times, lack of crisis response on the weekends or in the middle of the night, and patients not being seen because they can’t afford care.

As a CCBHC, Citizen Advocates is a center that ensures patient access to services, including 24/7 crisis response, regardless of financial status. 

Because CCBHCs are funded by an enhanced Medicaid reimbursement, Citizen Advocates is able to offer services that are important for behavioral health, but are not always eligible for reimbursement from insurance providers. This includes patient outreach and education as well as collaboration with community partners to improve health outcomes and reduce criminal justice involvement.

What This Means for Citizen Advocates

More recently, Citizen Advocates was awarded a $4 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), allowing them to continue to expand their services.

“This grant was awarded so we can expand delivery of comprehensive services through an innovative program that focuses on the treatment needs of individuals with serious mental health and addiction conditions,” said Kati Jock, Chief Operations Officer at Citizen Advocates. “We are committed to providing the outstanding whole-health services that we are known for and this grant allows us to expand and to serve all people, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Using grants like this, Citizen Advocates was recently able to expand their CCBHC program into Ogdensburg, increasing the reach of their person-centered therapeutic services and continuing to support workforce development initiatives by hiring qualified staff.  

Why This Matters

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults has a mental health condition, yet fewer than half received treatment in the past year.

Federally-funded CCBHCs have been proven to address the needs of people with mental illness and to increase treatment options. In order to receive the federal grant to open a clinic, CCBHCs are required to provide a number of services, including 24/7 crisis care, which helps someone in crisis receive immediate care instead of landing in an emergency room or in prison. 

At Citizen Advocates, we believe that more CCBHCs will improve access to quality mental health and addiction. 

“COVID-19 has heightened an already significant mental health and addiction crisis in our community,” said Mr. James Button, CEO of Citizen Advocates. “We are deeply grateful for this funding award from SAMHSA that will bolster our response and ability to deliver the essential, safety net services needed to enhance the health and wellbeing of the North Country.”

To learn more about CCBHCs, please visit: