BHECN to award almost $20 million in ARPA funds

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 8:53 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 12:43 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) has awarded $19,566,606 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to 83 Nebraska projects that will help develop, recruit and retain Nebraska’s behavioral health workforce with over half of the awards allocated to rural providers or organizations

BHECN, which serves as the state’s behavioral health workforce development center housed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), announced the award recipients after a competitive application process that drew nearly 200 applications totaling nearly $50 million in requested funds across four award categories.

Of the 83 projects selected, 40 (48%) are in metropolitan areas of Nebraska and 43 (52%) are located in rural areas of Nebraska. Award recipients stretch from Scottsbluff to Wayne and South Sioux City to Sutton. View the full list of awardees on the BHECN website.

“We are pleased to distribute these funds to organizations and providers across the state,” said Marley Doyle, MD, director of BHECN. “The awards in this initial funding cycle will go a long way toward improving the health and well-being of Nebraskans.”

The Nebraska Legislature allocated more than $25 million in ARPA funding to BHECN last year to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of behavioral health professionals. The funds cover projects in four award categories: behavioral health training opportunities, telebehavioral health support in rural areas, behavioral health workforce projects to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and funding for supervision of provisionally licensed behavioral health providers currently employed in Nebraska.

“The interest shown in this initial funding cycle highlights the dire need for more behavioral health resources,” Dr. Doyle said, “and we are confident these projects will make a difference across the state.”

Applications submitted last fall went through a rigorous and multi-tiered review process that involved behavioral health experts from across the state and country, as well as more than 60 hours of final assessment by the independent review committees.

To award remaining ARPA funding, BHECN soon will open a second round of applications that are again available to any and all Nebraska organizations/providers. For the most updated information, visit the BHECN website.