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HHS Announces New Funding Opportunity to Strengthen Behavioral Health Services in Nursing Homes and Other Long-Term Care Facilities

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Center of Excellence Will Improve Staff Training on Residents’ Mental Health Needs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing a funding opportunity of nearly $15 million for a three-year federal grant to establish a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) program that will strengthen the delivery of behavioral health care to residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), this program will establish a Center of Excellence for Building Capacity in Nursing Facilities to Care for Residents with Behavioral Health Conditions (Center of Excellence). This builds on President Biden’s State of the Union emphasis on the critical importance of ensuring residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities receive high-quality care.

The Center of Excellence is expected to improve overall health care in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities by providing direct consultation to staff to increase understanding, improve awareness, reduce stigmatization, and build knowledge and skills for effective resident care. Ultimately, the Center of Excellence will strengthen and sustain effective behavioral health practices and achieve better outcomes for residents who have serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use issues, or co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions. It will also ensure accessibility of evidence-based training and technical assistance focused on mental health disorder identification, treatment, and recovery support services.

“Physical health and mental health are equally important and should be treated as such, including in our nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The program’s goal reflects two commitments of the Biden-Harris Administration—to transform our mental health and crisis care systems so this type of care is provided holistically and equitably, and to improve the quality of our nursing homes and other long-term care facilities so the people living there get the care they deserve.”

“People living in nursing homes and other long-term facilities who are coping with mental and substance use conditions deserve access to the full continuum of quality, evidence-based care,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “With funding from our partner CMS, this first-ever grant program will bring into sharper focus residents’ behavioral health needs and provide free training and assistance for our nation’s nursing home and facility workforce.”

“This grant and our partnership with SAMHSA provide access to prevention and treatment for substance use issues, mental health services, crisis intervention, and pain care,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Making behavioral health care a priority in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities supports a person’s whole emotional and mental well-being, promotes person-centered behavioral health care, and advances our CMS Behavioral Health Strategy.”

The program will be funded with CMS’ Civil Money Penalty (CMP) funds, which come from collected CMPs that are imposed against nursing homes and other long-term care facilities when they are not in substantial compliance with one or more Medicare and Medicaid program participation requirements for long-term care facilities. These funds may be reinvested to support activities that benefit nursing home residents and that protect or improve their quality of care or quality of life.

Funding of up to $4,962,223 each year for three years will be awarded to one grantee in late FY 2022. View the COE-Nursing Facilities notice of funding opportunity.

Anyone seeking treatment for mental health or substance use issues should call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or should visit

For the CMS Behavioral Health Strategy, please visit:

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.

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