Colorado Mental Health Centers Lead the Way in Expanding Access to Care


Doyle Forrestal
Chief Executive Officer
Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council


Two More Community Mental Health Centers Become Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics

Denver, Colorado – February 4, 2021 – At a time when we could all use mental health support, Colorado can now boast that two additional community mental health centers are joining the ranks as nationally recognized centers of excellence. The designation will allow them to expand community-based services for people who need mental health and substance use treatment. This week, Southeast Health Group and North Range Behavioral Health were awarded a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to become Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC). With this award, these two mental health centers join Mental Health Partners and Aurora Mental Health Center as the four clinics in our state that that can claim this status, joining others across the country.

As CCBHCs, these four clinics receive federal funding to create easier access to care and enhance services such as 24/7/365 mobile crisis teams, immediate screening and risk assessment, care for active military and veterans, and expanded care coordination.

“We are excited to officially be a part of this movement. Since first hearing about the CCBHC model in 2018, my team has contemplated the benefits it could offer to southeast Colorado. While we pride ourselves on striving to provide excellent care, we have experienced funding variability which has led to barriers for innovation. After several site visits in Colorado and across the United States, we saw the CCBHC model as an opportunity to explore more consistent funding and therefore customize our care to meet the specific and unique needs of our rural and frontier communities,” stated JC Carrica, CEO of Southeast Health Group.

These CCBHC expansion grants are designed to increase access to, and improve, the quality of care delivered in the community. Applying elements of this federal model in Colorado will give mental health centers the opportunity to offer structured and timely care and services to their communities.

“As we enter this exciting chapter with CCBHC funding, North Range Behavioral Health is eager to join other mental health centers from around the country in discovering new opportunities for serving the behavioral health needs of our communities. By providing a higher level of funding stability to behavioral health services, becoming a CCBHC will result in greater access to care for people throughout Weld County. I truly believe this funding is the way of the future. The spirit of CCBHC aligns with North Range’s commitment to continuous improvement. Our staff is thankful for the opportunity to commit resources and time toward analyzing current services and finding ways to make things better for those we serve,” said Larry Pottorff, Executive Director of North Range Behavioral Health.

Since 2018, Congress has appropriated $400 million for CCBHC expansion grants designed to further the reach of these effective and efficient organizations.

“These grants have provided organizations an opportunity to build upon current access to comprehensive mental health and addiction care to Colorado’s most vulnerable individuals,” stated Doyle Forrestal, CEO of CBHC. “We look forward to continuing to expand and innovate in partnership with our state and federal partners.

Through this grant, Colorado’s CCBHCs are required to broaden current services such as:

  1. 24/7/365 mobile crisis team services to help people stabilize in the most clinically appropriate, least restrictive, least traumatizing, and most cost-effective settings.
  2. Immediate screening and risk assessment for mental health, addictions, and basic primary care needs to ameliorate the chronic co-morbidities that drive poor health outcomes and high costs for those with behavioral health disorders.
  3. Easy access to care with criteria to assure a reduced wait time so those who need services can receive them when they need them, regardless of ability to pay or location of residence.
  4. Tailored care for active duty military and veterans to ensure they receive the unique health support essential to their treatment.
  5. Expanded care coordination with local primary care providers, hospitals, other health care providers, social service providers, and law enforcement, with a focus on whole health and comprehensive access to a full range of medical, behavioral and supportive services.
  6. Commitment to peers and family, recognizing that their involvement is essential for recovery and should be fully integrated into care.

To learn more about CCBHCs, The National Council for Behavioral Health has developed a resource that can be found here.


The Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC) envisions a state where all people have the opportunity to lead healthy, purposeful lives. Our 23 member organizations represent a statewide network of integrated care providers and care management organizations, including all of Colorado’s 17 Community Mental Health Centers, 4 Managed Services Organizations, and 2 specialty health clinics. Together, we strengthen Colorado communities by ensuring innovative care and supporting the health, wellbeing, and safety of all Coloradans.