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Advocates, Officials Back Expansion Of Medicaid Mental Health Services

CCS Program Provides Middle Ground Between Outpatient Treatment And Hospitalization


Dane County hopes to expand mental health coverage through a statewide program providing community-based treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Medicaid benefit known as Comprehensive Community Services has grown every year since it started in 2005 and soon will be available to 95 percent of the state’s population.

Bonnie Loughran, executive director for Dane County National Alliance on Mental Illness, praised the type of service CCS provides.

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“Yes, there is mental illness and yes, there is recovery. What we have to get in the middle is treatment and services that are affordable and effective,” Loughran said.

CCS is for individuals who need more than occasional outpatient care, but less than the intensive care provided in a hospital setting. CCS is fully funded by federal and state agencies and doesn’t require matching funds from the county.

The DHS says the program reduces an individual’s reliance on costly high-end services, such as emergency rooms. The program seeks to increase the number of community providers by paying more than Medicaid does, which generally reimburses 60 percent of costs, according to Scott Strong of Community Partnerships, Inc.