Legislative and Administrative Changes Needed in Community Mental Health Centers Program

HRD-79-38: Published: May 2, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1979.

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A review of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) community mental health centers program discusses problems in monitoring the program as well as problems encountered by HEW, the States, and the individual centers in complying with legislative provisions. Responsibility for administering the program has been delegated to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), under HEW.

Administrative and legislative changes must be made if the goal of a national network of community mental health centers is to be realized in the foreseeable future. The centers visited were experiencing many problems which hampered their effectiveness due, in part, to the limitations on the geographic areas served, the complexity and inflexibility of legislative requirements, and the multitude of funding mechanisms imposed by HEW. State, local, and third-party reimbursements must increase to assure the financial viability of existing centers and the development of new centers. Conversion and financial distress grants have been ineffective as a means for establishing or expanding services on a long-term basis. Administrative changes are needed to improve the efficiency of the grant review, approval, and monitoring process.

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