History

For over 30 years, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) has been the leading advocacy organization in Massachusetts' mental health and addiction treatment arena. Fighting for high-quality, community-based care for families and individuals with mental illness, addiction and substance-use disorders, ABH provides leadership and statewide coordination on important public policy, financing, preferred clinical models and quality assurance issues.

2012
Jackie Moore, President/CEO of North Suffolk Mental Health, is elected Chair of the ABH Board of Directors.
ABH secures increased funding for BSAS, DMH, and MassHealth.
ABH works closely with the Massachusett's League of Community Health Centers to lobby state agencies to address regulatory and billing barriers to the integration of primary and behavioral healthcare.
Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation was signed into law by the Governor. ABH devoted considerable resources to ensuring that any payment reform bill acknowledge the unique challenges of serving individuals with mental health and addiction disorders.
ABH successfully advocates for increased reimbursement rates for Children's Behavioral Health Initiative Family Partners and Acute Treatment Services providers.
2011
The ABH Board of Directors votes to replace the word substance abuse with addiction in ABH's lexicon.
The Collaborative (ABH, The Association of Developmental Disability Providers and the Providers' Council) reach an agreement with the Commonwealth to extend the timetable for implementation of Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2008 (see 2008 above) in exchange for placing a hold on procurements until rates are set.
Following years of advocacy by ABH, MassHealth implements changes to its mental health clinic regulations. These changes modernize the regulation of mental health clinics and align the regulations with the Department of Public Health's.
2010
ABH receives the 2010 Award of Excellence for Grassroots Advocacy from The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare for its work leading the Campaign for Addiction, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery and the coalition's successful effort to repeal the sales tax exemption on alcohol.
Kevin Norton, President/CEO of CAB Health and Recovery Services, is elected Chair of the ABH Board of Directors.
Massachusetts celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the state's Mental Health Parity Law.
The Massachusetts Standardized Documentation Project (MSDP) certifies its first electronic health record vendor.
The alcohol tax is repealed following a ballot campaign in which The Committee Against Repeal of the Alcohol Tax was outspent 13:1 by the liquor industry. Despite this defeat, the Legislature and Administration pledge to maintain funding for addiction services.
2009
Vic DiGravio, MHSACM's President and CEO, and Maryanne Frangules, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery, co-chaired the Campaign for Addiction, Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery which successfully eliminates the sales tax exemption on alcohol purchased in stores.
MHSACM plays a leading role in United We Stand for Public Health, a coalition of 85 organizations dedicated to opposing budget cuts to public health programs.
MHSACM becomes the Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH).
2008
MHSACM and its partners in The Collaborative form The Campaign the Strengthen Human Services and successfully advocate for the passage of S. 65, An Act Relative to Rates for Human and Social Service Providers (Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2008).
The state's mental health parity law is expanded to include coverage for substance use disorders and An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health is passed by the Legislature and signed into law.
Congress passes federal mental health parity legislation.
Deborah Ekstrom, President/CEO of Community Healthlink, is elected Chair of the MHSACM Board of Directors.
2007
Elizabeth Funk, MHSACM's President and CEO, retires.
Vicker V. DiGravio III, MHSACM's Executive Vice President, is named President and CEO.
MHSACM convenes the Massachusetts Standardized Documentation Project to move beyond historic documentation models that recorded only the minimum level of information to one that supports a person-centered/recovery-oriented service delivery model in community settings.
2006
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor rules in Rosie D. v. Romney that the Commonwealth is in violation of federal Medicaid law for its failure to provide behavioral health services to 15,000 children with serious emotional disturbance.
MHSACM successfully advocates for the inclusion of mental health and substance abuse coverage in the state's landmark health care reform law. The law also requires the restoration of post-detox step-down services.
MHSACM successfully advocates for the restoration of $40 million in 9C cuts to behavioral healthcare services
2005
The Massachusetts Legislature creates the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, signifying its understanding of the importance of behavioral healthcare.
MHSACM and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers form a strategic alliance to improve the coordination of behavioral health and primary care services. Six demonstration projects are identified to develop and maximize the ability of partnering community mental health centers and community health centers to coordinate behavioral and primary healthcare and identify and remove barriers to collaboration.
MHSACM joins forces with consumer, family, provider and other advocacy organizations in a campaign to educate our elected officials about the importance of protecting Massachusetts' unique behavioral healthcare system after learning that the Romney Administration planned to move 20,000 people out of their current specialty behavioral healthcare program into health plans not designed or equipped to serve them. The Postcards for People initiative educated lawmakers and the Governor about the critical importance of the Medicaid behavioral health carve-out, the statewide care system that serves the mental health and substance abuse needs of 300,000 children, adolescents and adults.
MHSACM members participate in the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare's first annual Capitol Hill Day.
Ellen Attaliades, CEO of The Edinburg Center, is elected Chair of the MHSACM Board of Directors.
2004
MHSACM launches its e-Update.
The House and Senate override a gubernatorial veto of budget language requiring the state to adjust its contracts with providers to pay for any significant, new mandates it imposes, and also provides new procedural protections for providers.
The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership begins implementing an outcomes measurement requirement for all network providers. MHSACM successfully advocates for a provider subsidy to help defray costs.
2003
Following deep budget cuts to substance abuse services, MHSACM successfully organizes the Massachusetts Coalition for Addiction Services (MCAS), a group of advocacy organizations formed to speak with one voice for the restoration and expansion of funding.
MHSACM and its Transitional Support Services (TSS) Committee works with the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services to revise the TSS staffing standards and to increase the rate per unit of service.
Paul O'Shea, President and CEO of Health and Education Services, Inc., is elected Chair of the MHSACM Board of Directors.
2002
MHSACM achieves rate increases for substance abuse day treatment, driver alcohol education, substance abuse outpatient and methadone dosing services.
MHSACM researches and develops a compendium of studies called The Cost and Benefits of Substance Abuse Parity.
2001
MHSACM successfully preserves funding for methadone services and prevents the inclusion of budget language that would have barred the Department of Public Health from contracting with providers who offer methadone services or services to out-of-state residents.
MHSACM and partner organizations hold rallies to preserve mental health and substance abuse funding and seek additional revenue to save services.
Jonathan Scott, President of Victory Programs, Inc., is elected Chair of the MHSACM Board of Directors.
2000
MHSACM, the Association of Developmental Disabilities (ADDP) and the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers join together to create the Purchase of Service (POS) Reform Provider Advocacy Campaign to seek fair and adequate rates for human and social services.
The Department of Mental Health implements redesigned Community Rehabilitation and Support Services programming across the Commonwealth.
MHSACM achieves rate increases for psychiatric day treatment, substance abuse residential, acute treatment services (ATS/detox), mental health outpatient, and psychological testing services.
The state passes the Massachusetts Mental Health Parity Law.
MHSACM holds its first annual Provider Celebration.
1999
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Corporations of Massachusetts, Inc (MHSACM) is created through the merger of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Association and Mental Health Corporations of Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Funk is named President/CEO of MHSACM.
Phil Shea, President/CEO of Community Counseling of Bristol County, is elected Chair of the MHSACM Board of Directors.