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Behavioral Health Aide Program

Behavioral Health Aide Program
(907) 729-2431

The Behavioral Health Aide (BHA) Program is designed to promote behavioral health and wellness in Alaska Native individuals, families and communities through culturally relevant training and education for village-based counselors.

We all know that good physical health is important to a healthy, happy life. Equally vital, yet sometimes ignored or misunderstood, is a person’s behavioral health and wellness. The BHA program works with partners across the state to provide education and assistance for Behavioral Health Aides, clinical supervisors and directors who provide much-needed, community-based behavioral health and wellness services. Additionally, the program offers partners technical assistance to better understand and implement a BHA program in primary care settings and other community-based services.

They program also trains new BHAs and supports current BHAs by providing resources, materials and guidance that can be used to enhance training and services, and by recognizing the knowledge and skills of BHAs through certification by the Community Health Aide Program Certification Board.

What is a Behavioral Health Aide?

A Behavioral Health Aide (BHA) is a counselor, health educator, and advocate. BHAs help address individual and community-based behavioral health needs, including those related to alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse as well as mental health problems such as grief, depression, suicide, and related issues. BHAs seek to achieve balance in the community by integrating their sensitivity to cultural needs with specialized training in behavioral health concerns and approaches to treatment.

Becoming a Certified BHA                    

  • You must be employed by Indian Health Services, a Tribe or Tribal Health organization that operates a community health aide program
  • Review application materials and the specialized training matrix on CHAP Certification Board website to learn more about the requirements for BHA/P certification.
  • Work with supervisor to determine which matrix is most appropriate for you to help develop a training plan
  • Complete certification requirements and application for certification and submit to CHAP Certification Board.

Behavioral Health Aide Certification

Behavioral Health Aide certification is a multi-level provider model which includes BHA Trainee (non-certified), BHA levels I, II, and III, and BH Practitioner (BHP). To become a certified BHA or BHP, individuals must:

  • Complete Community Health Aide Program Certification Board-specified training, practicum and work experiences
  • Gain the scope of the Knowledge and Skills Checklist to support them in their job duties
  • Provide a broad range of services under varying levels of clinical supervision, including general
  • Maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits

Billing as a Behavioral Health Aide.
In June 2017, a State Plan Amendment (SPA) was passed and notified tribes and Tribal Health Organizations that they can bill and be reimbursed for specific services provided by certified Behavioral Health Aides. For details on the services that can be provided, please reference the State of Alaska Tribal Billing Manual:

Behavioral Health Aide Manual

The Behavioral Health Aide Manual (BHAM) was created for BHAs to provide fundamental information and best practices to guide them in addressing many of the issues and concerns identified during client care visits.

The BHAM is divided into five sections:

  1.  Introduction: Historical information about the Alaska Tribal Health System and BHA program
  2.  Professional Orientation: Critical information about legal and ethical concepts related to clinical practice
  3.  Working with Children and Adolescents: Principles of practice for working with children, adolescents and their caregivers
  4.  Client Care Chapters: Information and practical guides for understanding and treating a variety of mental health and substance abuse issues
  5.  Glossary: A summary of terms and definitions

The BHA Program has developed the Behavioral Health Aide Manual (BHAM) Child and Adolescent version and is currently in the process of developing content for Adults and Elders. The updated version will be made available to BHAs as a web-based application.

Due to the limited availability of hard copies of the BHAM as we transition to a web-based format, we are currently only providing them to BHA/Ps and their clinical supervisors.

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