FRAMINGHAM — Amid a nationwide mental health crisis that has seen patients sometimes waiting weeks for appointments or lingering indefinitely in hospital emergency rooms for an inpatient bed, Framingham-based Advocates is part of Massachusetts’ plan to make care more accessible.
The human services agency, based at 1881 Worcester Road (Route 9), has been tapped by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to operate a community behavioral health center, part of a new initiative to expand access to care statewide.
“We’re really honored,” Advocates Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Viron said in an interview. “We have a long tradition of providing a lot of the services that make up a CBHC (community behavioral health center). We feel well positioned, and we’re really excited about this model and felt like this was where the state needed to go in terms of community behavioral health and are really excited with the vision.”
How will it work?
Advocates’ CBHC will be one of dozens throughout Massachusetts and will include service sites in Framingham at 1094 Worcester Road and in Waltham at 675 Main St. (Route 20). The center will serve several communities, including Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Natick, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland and Westborough.
In Greater Milford, Dedham-based Riverside Community Care will serve Bellingham, Franklin, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Upton and Weston.
The designated CBHCs are set to open in January and will “serve as an entry point for timely, high-quality and evidence-based treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorders,” according to the state's website. Services include routine appointments, urgent care visits and 24/7 crisis intervention intended as an alternative to hospital emergency departments.
CBHCs will receive “enhanced” state funding through alternative payment models to support these in-person and telehealth treatment options, the state’s website notes.