Impacts of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Demonstration on Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration is designed to increase access to comprehensive ambulatory care and crisis services, which may reduce emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. This study examined whether the demonstration had an impact on ED visits and hospitalizations in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
This difference-in-differences analysis used Medicaid claims data from 2015 to 2019 to examine service use during a 12-month baseline period and the first 24 months of the demonstration for beneficiaries who received care from CCBHCs and beneficiaries who received care from other behavioral health clinics in the same state, representing care as usual. Propensity score methods were used to develop treatment and comparison groups with similar characteristics.
In Pennsylvania and Oklahoma, beneficiaries who received care from CCBHCs had a statistically significant reduction in the average number of behavioral health ED visits, relative to the comparison group (13% and 11% reductions, respectively); no impact on ED visits in Missouri was observed. The demonstration was associated with a statistically significant reduction in all-cause hospitalizations in Oklahoma, when the analysis used a 2-year rather than a 1-year baseline period, and also in Pennsylvania, when hospitalizations were truncated at the 98th percentile to exclude beneficiaries with outlier hospitalization rates.
The CCBHC demonstration reduced behavioral health ED visits in two states, and the study also revealed some evidence of reductions in hospitalizations.