Centers get $500K to expand behavioral health services

Two health centers in Maryland each received $250,000 from federal officials to expand behavioral health services, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced.

The Community Clinic Inc. in Silver Spring and Baltimore Medical System Inc. will together be able to serve 2,100 Marylanders, HHS officials said.

The $500,000 infused into Maryland is just the latest in a string of grants awarded to providers in this state and nationwide as part of a broader federal program to bolster community health resources, particularly primary care.

The Affordable Care Act established the Community Health Center Fund to dole out $11 billion in grants over five years for the operation, expansion and construction of health centers across the country.

This week’s funding round focuses on behavioral health. Federal officials awarded $54.6 million in funding to 221 centers, including the two in Maryland, in 47 states and Puerto Rico to establish or expand services.

Recipients will use the money to hire new mental health professionals, add additional substance abuse services and/or implement models for “integrated primary care,” which has become a trend in health care.