Report finds financial strain could close many treatment clinics

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The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic puts community behavioral health organizations (CBHOs) treating mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) patients in danger of closing.

“We are only one month into this pandemic, and it already has crippled the ability of behavioral health care providers to offer lifesaving treatment and services to patients,” Chuck Ingoglia, National Council for Behavioral Health president and CEO, said. “If we can’t handle demand from people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or substance use disorders today, there is no way we will be able to handle the crushing demand for behavioral health care we know is on the way.”

The council and ndp | analytics surveyed 880 behavioral health organizations nationwide from April 6 to April 12.

A total of 46.7 percent of CBHOs had reduced or plan to reduce their staff, and 62.1 percent are only financially able to remain operational for three months or less under the current conditions.

The survey also found 92.6 percent of CBHOs have reduced their operations, 61.8 percent have closed at least one program, and 31 percent have cancelled, rescheduled, or turned away of patients.

In addition, 82.9 percent of CBHOs do not have enough personal protective equipment for two months of operation.

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