In a series of posts, Myers and Stauffer will highlight parts of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021[1]  that can have tremendous impact on delivery and financing of services by state health and human services programs.

Today’s focus is on innovations in grant programs.  The ARPA includes provisions that increase grants in block and other existing grant programs. Specifically, funding allocated includes:

  • $3 billion for block grant programs under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • $1.5 billion for Community Mental Health Services Block grant for 2021.
  • $1.5 billion for Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Block grants for 2021.
  • $1.434 billion for programs under the Older Americans Act, including $750 million for nutrition programs.
  • $450 million for programs under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, including $198 million for grants to support survivors of sexual assault.
  • $350 million for programs under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

In the upcoming posts we will discuss each of the grant allocations separately, however, there is an important broader issue to consider first. Many community based organizations use grant funding, particularly evergreen sources, to provide critical services to communities. They rely on those funds and make commitments based on the expected funding. As a result, changes made to grant funding can be very disruptive to existing services and programs. If states make changes using additional unexpected funding, there is a lower risk of disrupting current services than there would be when attempting to repurpose funding that is already allocated to existing services.

The ARPA increase in grant funding provides states with an opportunity to consider if the additional funding should be added to existing programs to meet any potential increase in needs, used to offer new services that have been lacking, or used to support program or payment changes that may result in higher quality or more efficient services. Further, additional funding may provide an opportunity to address more than one programmatic need; states may use the availability of new funding as an opportunity to engage with their community stakeholders to determine the best options and the path forward.

If you would like more information about the ARPA or about how Myers and Stauffer can help to implement and leverage grant, Medicaid or other health and human services programs please contact us.

Contact the Contributors:

Catherine Sreckovich
Julia Kotchevar, MA
Health Care Senior Manager