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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 20, 2020
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936, (406) 461-3757, jebelt@mt.gov
                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391, (406) 461-8367, hcouncil@mt.gov


DPHHS Announces $33 Million in Grant Funding for Behavioral Health Providers

Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Sheila Hogan announced today $33 million in new grant funding created in response to the economic challenges faced by the hundreds of Montana behavioral health providers impacted by COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on Montana behavioral health providers and I’m hopeful these grants will provide a much-needed financial boost,” Hogan said. “I want to commend these providers for their efforts to adapt under difficult circumstances to continue providing essential treatment services in communities across the state.”

 Hogan said despite an impressive uptick in the delivery of mental health and substance use treatment services via telemedicine during the public health emergency, behavioral health providers across the country and in Montana are experiencing significant revenue loss as a result of COVID-19.

“When you pair dramatic drops in patient revenue with increased COVID-19 related expenditures, the result is causing significant challenges for a critical segment of Montana’s health care system,” Hogan added.

DPHHS has kept in close contact with Montana providers over the past many months about how the public health emergency is impacting them and, in turn, the clients they serve. “We all recognize how important it is to have accessible behavioral health services across all parts of Montana and we look forward to awarding this funding in the coming weeks,” Hogan said.

Hogan said grants are available for Montana licensed behavioral health providers. The grant aims to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Each eligible provider may only be awarded one behavioral health grant. Funding is being made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Providers are encouraged to learn more and apply at covidrelief.mt.gov.

Hogan stated providers have expressed the reasons for revenue loss are many. Some services are provided in congregate care settings, necessitating extra safety measures. Further, services for young children, such as play therapy, are challenging to provide remotely and the duration of a session has been shortened in many instances. 

However, Hogan noted Montana has been fortunate in the role Medicaid expansion has played in covering and paying for the treatment of behavioral health.

Eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:

  • Montana licensed behavioral health provider operating prior to February 15, 2020.
  • Demonstrated loss in patient revenues due to COVID-19.

Providers can receive a maximum grant of up to 8% of their annual Montana patient revenues OR demonstrated lost Montana patient revenues between March and June 2020 (whichever is the lesser amount).

The grants can be used to support payroll, rent, accounts payable and expenses related to shifts in operations in order to retain existing Montana programs and services, retain current employees or retain organizational viability for provision of future services and operations.

Hogan said providers will be required to provide several documents in their application including:

  • Financial statements listing calendar year 2019 and 2020 behavioral health patient revenues by service type and payor source.
  • Financial documentation demonstrating the loss in Montana behavioral health patient revenue for dates of service from March 2020 to June 2020 by service type and payor source.
  • List of the National Provider Identifiers included in the financial statements. 

Providers will be required to complete a final report to DPHHS on how the grant was helpful.

Once the funding is awarded, it will be made public online at covidrelief.mt.gov. For questions, applicants are encouraged to call DPHHS at 1-888-333-0461.