As a long-time ally of the behavioral health provider community, our thoughts quickly turned to our agency partners as the presidential election results became final. The incoming administration has promised large changes to federal human services spending. While the scope and timelines aren’t yet clear, our behavioral health community should expect funding changes in the next fiscal year or two.
Here at Foothold, with many of our staff coming directly from the behavioral health or social services world, we continue to believe that a strong human services sector is vital. In this vein, we want to offer practical steps and resources to support our agency partners as they ride this wave.
1. Diversify funding sources
As federal funding ceases to be a reliable revenue source, behavioral health providers will look to alternate revenue sources. Since the election, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people donating to community-based organizations. Your agency might tap into that new resource by asking to be added to a national crowd-sourced list of organizations to donate to, or finding one of the many state/local version on the web.
Fundraising could also be an important source of revenue replacement. To sharpen your fundraising skills, GrantSpace offers online courses, many of which are free.
2. Engage your representatives in government
Hold your local, state, and federal representatives accountable for protecting the behavioral health community. USA.gov provides representatives’ contact information by location and topic. In the past, many agencies have found it helpful to engage their clients in advocacy efforts, providing representatives’ information.
As far as health IT, it’s likely incentives will continue, as will the push toward value-based payments. For more information on the new administration and health IT, as well as information on which representatives advocate for smart health IT, listen to HIMSS’ webinar “The 2016 Election Results: Exploring the Impact on Health Policy.”
3. Population-specific resources
The incoming administration has pledged not only to reduce budgets for behavioral health and social service organizations, but also to reduce many of the legal protections their populations have enjoyed.
- Given the rise in race-based and other hate crimes since November 8, and violence’s documented negative influence on mental health, not only mental health providers but all types of behavioral health providers may look to connect their clients with additional mental health resources. This state-by-state list of warmlines, which provides linkages to support groups and individual counseling, can support your agency in supporting your clients.
- If your agency serves the transgender community, you may connect your clients with legal and mental health services geared toward this vulnerable population. The Trans Relief Project is working on helping transgender people with documentation changes. Foothold Technology customer The Ali Forney Center, among many others, continues to provide valuable resources to the LGBTQ community as well. You or your clients can search the Twitter hashtag #translawhelp to find attorneys providing free or low-cost legal services to this community. The Trevor Project provides mental health crisis intervention for struggling LGBTQ youth.
- If your agency serves immigrants and/or refugees, consider providing your clients with the National Immigration Law Center’s pamphlet, “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Everyone has certain basic rights, no matter who is president,” available as a PDF in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Immigration Law Help provides linkages to pro bono and low-cost immigration legal services across the country.
Now as always, Foothold stands with the behavioral health community. If your agency has more tips to share as you prepare to navigate this shift, we welcome your comments below.