Longitudinal Trends in Community Mental Health Center and Federally Qualified Health Center Supply in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Counties

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2019
Project completed:
June 2022

Community mental health centers (CMHCs) provide ambulatory mental health services and engage in other activities to foster community mental health. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) also frequently provide mental health services. However, no prior research has examined how the supply of CMHCs and FQHCs has changed over time in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan areas nationally.

This study filled an important void in our contemporary knowledge of CMHCs and FQHCs in rural (and urban) America. The topic is also a priority given Medicare's proposed reductions in partial psychiatric hospitalization program payments to CMHCs and the broader question about how CMHCs are filling a need in providing critical mental health services in nonmetropolitan areas nationally.

Specific aims of the project were to: 1) describe and compare longitudinal changes in the availability of CMHCs and FQHCs among nonmetropolitan and metropolitan counties; and 2) describe and examine how county-level population demographics (e.g., age, gender, and race/ethnicity), economics (e.g., per capita income and health insurance coverage), and healthcare factors (e.g., psychiatrists and psychologists per 10,000 population) are associated with the presence/absence of a CMHC and FQHC within nonmetropolitan areas.