This notice announces the opportunity to apply for funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) - Pediatric Mental Health Care Access (PMHCA) – New Area Expansion program. The purpose of this program is to promote behavioral health integration into pediatric primary care by supporting pediatric mental health care telehealth access programs. State or regional networks of pediatric mental health care teams will provide tele-consultation, training, technical assistance, and care coordination support for pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) to diagnose, treat, and refer children with behavioral health conditions. Successful recipients will focus on achieving health equity related to racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in access to care, especially in rural and other underserved areas. PMHCA advances HRSA strategic plan goals to improve access to quality health services, foster a health care workforce able to address current and emerging needs, achieve health equity, and enhance population health.
For the purposes of this funding opportunity, telehealth is defined as the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical consultation, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Permitted telehealth modalities between providers include (but are not limited to): real-time video, telephonic communications, store-and-forward imaging, and mobile health (mHealth) applications.
The FY 2021 ARP-PMHCA – New Area Expansion Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) released on May 19, 2021. HRSA made 24 awards under that announcement. The FY 2022 funding opportunity will support up to an additional 10 awards to continue the expansion of the program into all 50 states.
For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a pediatric mental health care telehealth access program for which funding may be used, shall—
A. support a new or expand an existing statewide or regional network of pediatric mental health care teams that provide support to pediatric primary care sites as an integrated team;
B. support and further develop organized state or regional networks of pediatric mental health care teams to provide consultative support to pediatric primary care sites;
C. conduct an assessment of critical behavioral consultation needs among pediatric providers and such providers’ preferred mechanisms for receiving consultation, training, and technical assistance;
D. develop a new or enhance an existing online database and communication mechanism, including telehealth, to facilitate consultation support to pediatric primary care practices;
E. provide rapid statewide or regional clinical telephone or telehealth consultations when requested between the pediatric mental health care teams and pediatricPCPs;
F. conduct training and provide technical assistance to pediatric primary care providers to support the early identification, diagnosis, treatment, and referral of children with behavioral health conditions;
G. provide information to pediatric providers and assist pediatric providers in accessing pediatric mental health care providers, including child and adolescent psychiatrists, developmental behavioral pediatricians, and licensed mental health professionals, such as psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
and in scheduling and conducting technical assistance;
H. assist with referrals to specialty care and community or behavioral health resources; and
I. establish mechanisms for measuring and monitoring increased access to pediatric mental health care services by pediatric primary care providers and expanded capacity of pediatric primary care providers to identify, treat, and refer children with mental health conditions.
This program will serve as a resource for pediatric primary care providers serving children and adolescents, including, but not limited to, pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and case coordinators. The programs are encouraged to broaden the reach to additional providers such as physician specialists (e.g., developmental-behavioral pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists, endocrinologists, and gastroenterologists), pharmacists, occupational therapists, behavioral health clinicians, and social workers.
States, political subdivisions of states, and Indian Tribes and tribal organizations (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. § 450b)) that are not currently funded under HRSA-18-122, HRSA-19-096, and HRSA-21-122 are eligible to apply (i.e., existing recipients of HRSA PMHCA awards or other entities within funded states are not eligible to apply).
Please note that Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations in states with existing awards are eligible to apply separately; however, other eligible applicants that are currently receiving HRSA PMHCA awards are not eligible to apply. The reference to states or political subdivisions includes Freely Associated States with compacts for U.S. assistance, bona fide agents of state and local governmental agencies, and institutions specifically written into state law as political subdivisions of states. Web site URL to currently-funded PMHCA projects: https://mchb.hrsa.gov/training/projects.asp?program=34 .
Cara de la Cruz, PhD