Maintain Compliance With Behavioral Health Training

Sarah Jones

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced nearly $37M in grants for U.S. behavioral health services and staff expansion. With the odds of a person entering your healthcare facility dealing with a behavioral or mental health issue at about 20%, new and existing clinical providers must receive behavioral health compliance training to ensure patients receive the highest quality care.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) defines behavioral health as the emotions and behaviors that affect your overall well-being. It generally refers to mental health and substance use disorders, life stressors and crises, and stress-related physical symptoms. Healthcare organizations emphasize training clinical and non-clinical staff to identify and assist individuals with suspected behavioral or mental health problems.

Behavioral health training covers various topics required by federal agencies and accreditation organizations. There is no blanket of coursework healthcare professionals can use to meet compliance requirements. The best courses are those created specifically for healthcare settings and that meet multiple regulatory requirements. When one course meets multiple requirements, staff can spend less time in training and more time caring for patients. 

This article will explore the requirements for behavioral health training, the entities that govern required and recommended courses, and ways to simplify training delivery.

Scope of Behavioral Health Training

Several agencies and entities govern behavioral health training for clinical and non-clinical staff. Your healthcare organization shouldn’t assume that completing the required Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training is sufficient. Behavioral health and substance abuse prescribers with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) licenses must complete numerous training regimens. The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) requires 100 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) every five years to maintain certification. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) must complete 48 hours of CE every two years. 

Behavioral Health Compliance Training Requirements

There isn’t a universal list of training requirements for all behavioral health professionals. Training requirements vary by role and specific healthcare setting.

Download the Ultimate List of Training Requirements for FQHCs (CHCs) to see a full list of federal behavioral health training requirements broken down by role, with the applicable standard and frequency.

Below are courses common to many behavioral health roles that meet federal requirements for orientation or annual continuing education. Staff should review the requirements for their specific state to remain in compliance.

Required Training For Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Prescribers

  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Treatment and Management of Patients with Opioid or Other Substance Abuse Disorders
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Fire Safety and Fire Extinguisher Types
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Disaster Preparedness
  • Personal Protective Equipment (OSHA)
  • Infection Control and Prevention in a Non-Hospital Setting
  • Hand Hygiene (OSHA)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens (OSHA)
  • Preventing Needlesticks (OSHA)
  • N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator (OSHA)

Highly Recommended Training

  • General Safety Orientation
  • Active Shooter Training
  • Unlawful Harassment for Employees (or Managers)

Recommended Training

  • Cybersecurity & HIPAA
  • Preventing Slips, Trips, Falls, and Work Clutter
  • Ergonomics & Injury Prevention
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, HIV (AIDS) Awareness and Prevention

Please note: This is not a comprehensive list and should not be considered legal or medical advice.

Download the Ultimate List of Training Requirements for FQHCs (CHCs) to see a full list of federal behavioral health training requirements broken down by role, with the applicable standard and frequency.

Simplify Delivery of Behavioral Health Training

Training is foundational in maintaining high standards of care, safety, and legal compliance for behavioral health. However, meeting industry requirements while providing behavioral health training for clinical and non-clinical staff is not as easy as it sounds!

In-person training and paper sign-in sheets are time-consuming and error-prone. Cobbling online courses from many sources gets the job done, but it’s difficult for surveyors to track. A learning management system not built for behavioral health staff may not have the specific courses required for your facility. 

You need an online learning management system built for all behavioral healthcare employees. Here’s what to look for:

  • Healthcare-specific courses that are consistently updated
  • Vendor knowledge about healthcare regulations and policy-making
  • Courses that are designed to meet multiple standards to reduce the load
  • Customizable reporting that can be set up for your regulatory or accreditation requirements
  • Automated course completion reminders
  • Ability to create or upload facility-specific courses


Simplify compliance training with MedTrainer Learning

MedTrainer offers an all-in-one compliance solution that combines learning, compliance documentation, and credentialing. Experts will help your organization ensure that long-term care training is complete and compliant. Learn more about MedTrainer.