The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Assisted Outpatient Treatment Grant Program for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness (Short title: Assisted Outpatient Treatment [AOT]). This 4-year pilot program is intended to implement and evaluate new AOT programs and identify evidence-based practices in order to reduce the incidence and duration of psychiatric hospitalization, homelessness, incarcerations, and interactions with the criminal justice system while improving the health and social outcomes of individuals with a serious mental illness (SMI). This program is designed to work with families and courts, to allow these individuals to obtain treatment while continuing to live in the community and their homes.
This pilot program was established by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA), Section 224, that was enacted into law on April 1, 2014. Within the Act, AOT is defined as “medically prescribed mental health treatment that a patient receives while living in a community under the terms of a law authorizing a state or local court to order such treatment.”
Grants will only be awarded to applicants that have not previously implemented an AOT program. “Not previously implemented” means that even though the state may have an AOT law, the eligible applicant has not fully implemented AOT approaches through the courts within the jurisdiction that they are operating in.
In addition, grants will only be awarded to applicants operating in jurisdictions that have in place an existing, sufficient array of services for individuals with SMI such as Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), mobile crisis teams, supportive housing, supported employment, peer supports, case management, outpatient psychotherapy services, medication management, and trauma informed care. A portion of the grant funding may be used to enhance the array of services.
AOT (also known as involuntary outpatient commitment, conditional release, and other terms) involves petitioning local courts to order individuals to enter and remain in treatment within the community for a specified period of time. AOT is intended to facilitate the delivery of community-based outpatient mental health treatment services to individuals with SMI that are under court order as authorized by state mental health statute.
The AOT grant program aligns with SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiatives on Trauma and Justice and Recovery Support. For more information on SAMHSA’s six strategic initiatives, you can visit http://www.samhsa.gov/about-us/strategic-initiatives.
The AOT grant program is one of SAMHSA’s services grant programs. SAMHSA intends that its services grants result in the delivery of services as soon as possible after award. Service delivery should begin by the 4th month of the project at the latest.
AOT grants are authorized under Section 224 of PAMA. SAMHSA has consulted with the National Institute of Mental Health, the Department of Justice, the HHS Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation and the Administration for Community Living on the FOA. This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Topic Area HP 2020-MHMD and Substance Abuse Topic Area HP 2020-SA.