Congress Enacts 2012 Budget, Averts Feared Cuts to Behavioral Health

by Rebecca Farley on December 22, 2011

Overcoming a political impasse, Congress late last week approved the remaining nine bills that make up the 2012 budget. The “megabus,” as the 9-bill package was dubbed, includes several notable funding increases for behavioral health programs, a major victory given the massive reductions to behavioral health that were included in the budget proposal by the House of Representatives. Overall, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saw a $27 million cut, for a total of $3.5 billion in funding for the agency. This total amount is still subject to a 0.189% decrease that was included in the megabus bill. Details on how this cut will be applied are forthcoming.

Within the SAMHSA budget, several key programs received funding increases:

  • Mental Health Block Grant: $460.6 million (+$41 million vs. FY 2011)
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant: $1.8 billion (+21 million vs. FY 2011)
  • Primary Care and Behavioral Health Integration (PBHCI): $30.8 million for SAMHSA portion (+$3 million vs. FY 2011; this figure does not include the additional Prevention and Public Health Fund money that may be allocated to the program)
  • Primary Care and Behavioral Health Integration Technical Assistance: $2 million (this is a new line item in the budget; funding previously came from the PBHCI line item)
  • Project LAUNCH: $34.7 million (+10 million vs. FY 2011)
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network: $45.8 million (+$5 million vs. FY 2011)

Within the Center for Mental Health Services, the following programs were level funded from 2011: Children’s mental health services ($117 million); Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness ($64.9 million); Jail Diversion ($6.2 million); and Homelessness Prevention ($30.8 million). Youth violence prevention received a $54.3 million cut, from $77.5 in 2011 to $23.2 million in 2012.The Co-occurring State Incentive Grant, which received $2.2 million in 2011, was eliminated, as was the Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative.

Within the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, the agreement includes: $28.2 million for Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment (level vs. FY 2011); $98.5 million for Access to Recovery level vs. FY 2011), and $67.6 million for criminal justice activities (+$2.5 million vs. FY 2011).

Click here for more details about specific program funding levels (the section for SAMHSA begins on p. 39).


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