Somehow we blinked and January was over. I guess 2022 isn’t going to allow us to get warmed up. Instead, it’s just off to the races!
But, that’s OK. We all know there is work to be done, and we are the ones who have answered the call to get it done. So here we go!
As an organization whose goal it is to help our member organizations help real life people with real life issues, this platform no longer serves our needs. That social media platforms like Facebook are causing harm to the mental health of generations of people is no secret. Yes, we understand that many enjoy the connectivity Facebook provides, or the sometimes-enjoyable bits (like kittens and puppies!), but for us the risks outweigh the benefits. Simply stated: It’s not right for us anymore. We will leave our Facebook page where it is for now, but it will be dormant as we will not be maintaining it, or replying to messages sent via the platform.
If you would like to stay connected with BHAM, please subscribe to our email list. We won’t flood your inbox and the information you receive will be relevant to our mission of creating mentally healthy communities. Just scroll to the bottom of our site, and add your info in the fields provided.
Happier Mental Health!
COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY TREATMENT (CSCT) CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE:
The school-based mental health program, CSCT, continues to struggle with the changes made by the 2021 Legislature. The legislature moved administration of this invaluable program to Office of Public Instruction (OPI) from DPHHS. We’ve been working on getting a new model in place since June 2021 for this program but have been met with constant difficulties. OPI has struggled with administering a Medicaid program. Medicaid is one of the most complex funding streams and OPI has no experience with administering this type of complex program. BHAM will continue to work with stakeholders, parents, school districts, DPHHS and OPI to try and get this program in place. To date, hundreds of kids have lost access to the program as school districts have decided not to continue it because of a lack of understanding of how the new model works. More expensive and higher levels of care are trying to prepare for more kids requiring these services as CSCT participation is reduced, but the behavioral health workforce shortage is making that preparation even more difficult. Some school districts have dropped the CSCT program and moved to the hire of school counselors. Unfortunately, this further dilutes the behavioral health system and fewer staff will be available for emergencies of kids and families when schools are out during holidays, summer, and weekends.
As CSCT participation is decreasing, providers are working with DPHHS to expand the availability of Home Support Services (HSS). Home Support Services is a similar program to CSCT but works with kids and families in their homes to try and reduce the number of children moving to more expensive care in residential programs. HHS funding was cut in 2018 and the providers and Children’s Mental Health Bureau were working to recreate this program when the pandemic hit. Now with the near collapse of CSCT, a renewed focus is placed on trying to serve these families in their homes.
CHILDREN OUT-OF-STATE taskforce:
Due to the dire workforce shortage in hiring behavioral healthcare workers, many agencies have closed homes and are unable to staff available beds for kids requiring residential care. BHAM has begun a Children’s Out-of- State Taskforce and is meeting with Children and Family Services Division and DPHHS to try and come up with solutions to this difficult problem. Currently, out-of-state providers are paid more to take Montana kids and have less oversight on quality. Everyone agrees keeping Montana kids in Montana is a high priority!
Healthcare Worker Daycare Stipends:
BHAM led the charge in suggesting daycare stipends for behavioral healthcare workers due to the low reimbursement by Medicaid and the lack of affordable access for behavioral health workers. Applications are now available for healthcare workers to have Best Beginning scholarships if they earn below 250% Federal Poverty Level. This will give some of our direct care staff much-needed financial help. https://dphhs.mt.gov/ARPA/Childcare/ChildCareAssistanceforHealthCareEmployee
Provider Rate Study
DPHHs is working with Guidehouse to complete the study for behavioral health providers funded by the 2021 Legislature. The survey was released February 2, 2022 and providers will have 5 weeks to fill it out. It is a comprehensive survey that looks at actual costs of providing care as well as reimbursement for individual programs. Guidehouse hopes to have completed their work on behavioral health by summer 2022 so that DPHHS can make recommendations to the 2023 Legislature.
Please reach out to me if there is anything you need. When we work together, we can solve all the problems out there!
Stay safe. Stay healthy.