House advances bill to strengthen Colorado mental health services

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DENVER (KDVR) — A bipartisan bill that would improve mental health outcomes and services for Coloradans is moving forward.

HB22-1278 is sponsored by Rep. Mary Young, Rep. Rod Pelton, Senator Pete Lee, and Senator Cleave Simpson and would create the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) within the Department of Human Services.

If passed, by July 1, 2024, the BHA will establish:

  • A Statewide Behavioral Health Claims System
  • A behavioral health performance monitoring system
  • A Complete Behavioral Health Safety Net System
  • Regional Organizations of Behavioral Health Administrative Services
  • The BHA as the licensing authority for all behavioral health entities
  • The BHA Advisory Board will provide input to the BHA on the behavioral health system in the state

According to a statement from the sponsors, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people in Colorado. The state also ranks 51st in access to mental health services while boasting one of the highest prevalences of mental illness.

“Coloradoans with mental health issues too often end up in prison or homeless rather than in the caring and skilled hands of mental health care providers who can meet their needs and put them on a path to recovery. happy and healthy life,” Rep. Young said. “I’m proud to sponsor HB 1278 to strengthen our mental health safety net to ensure better care for Colorado families.”

The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

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