How States Can Conduct a Needs Assessment

States with CCBHCs should conduct a needs assessment to identify current conditions and desired services or outcomes.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has developed criteria for certified community behavioral health clinic (CCBHC) certification – 2016 (PDF | 789 KB). The criteria require that states develop an initial needs assessment and that CCBHCs regularly update it. A needs assessment is a systematic approach to identifying community needs and determining program capacity to address the needs of the population being served.

A needs assessment can help identify current conditions and desired services or outcomes. It can identify the strengths of a program and the challenges faced in meeting the service needs of those served. A needs assessment should be objective and include input from consumers, program staff, and other key community stakeholders.

Key Steps in a Needs Assessment

  • Define the goals for the assessment
  • Articulate the purpose of the assessment
  • Identify the target populations for the assessment of needs and services
  • Determine how data will be collected and used
  • Determine the timeline for the process
  • Determine the strategic use of the findings

Implementing the Results of a Needs Assessment

Needs assessment results should be integrated as a part of an organization’s ongoing commitment to quality services and outcomes. The findings can support the organization’s ongoing strategic planning and ensure that its program designs and services are well suited to the populations it serves.

Resources for Conducting a Needs Assessment

Several tools and approaches are available for gathering input and data for a needs assessment. These include use of demographic and publicly available data, interviews, and focus groups to collect stakeholder input, as well as targeted and focused data collection using surveys and other measurement tools.

The following resources can help guide your needs assessment process:

Requirements From the Criteria

The criteria include the following requirements related to conducting a needs assessment:

Program Requirement: Staffing

  • 1.a.1. As part of the process leading to certification, the state will prepare an assessment of the needs of the target consumer population and a staffing plan for prospective CCBHCs. The needs assessment will include cultural, linguistic, and treatment needs. The needs assessment is performed prior to CCBHC certification to inform staffing and services. After certification, the CCBHC will update the needs assessment and the staffing plan, including both consumer and family/caregiver input. The needs assessment and staffing plan will be updated regularly, but no less frequently than every three years.
  • 1.a.3. The Chief Executive Officer of the CCBHC maintains a fully staffed management team as appropriate for the size and needs of the clinic as determined by the current needs assessment and staffing plan.
  • 1.b.2. The CCBHC staffing plan meets the requirements of the state behavioral health authority and any accreditation standards required by the state. The plan is informed by the state’s initial needs assessment, and it includes clinical and peer staff.
  • 1.d.4. The requisite languages (for materials provided to consumers) will be informed by the needs assessment prepared prior to certification, and as updated.

Program Requirement: Availability and Accessibility of Services

  • 2.a.2. The CCBHC must provide outpatient clinical services during times that ensure accessibility and meet the needs of the consumer population to be served, including some nights and weekend hours. The needs assessment will determine what services are provided, by what staff, and when. During the needs assessment, the states are encouraged to ask consumers about their preferred days and times, including evening and weekend hours. States also should inquire about barriers to accessing services, including transportation issues.

Program Requirement: Scope of Services

  • 4.f.2. Based upon the findings of the needs assessment as required in program requirement 1, states must establish a minimum set of evidence-based practices required of the CCBHCs.
Last Updated: 05/17/2019