The year 2024 is starting off busy in the behavioral health world! Still working on implementing many of the bills approved by the 2023 Legislature that removed barriers to some of the licensing difficulties we’ve had historically in behavioral health licensure. We’re also working monthly on the Behavioral Health System for Future Generations and of course, all of the interim committees!
BHAM Seeks New Executive Director:
The Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana (BHAM) is hiring a new Executive Director as Mary Windecker, the current Executive Director moves to a part-time government relationship position within the organization. Anyone who is interested in the position is encouraged to read the full job description and apply. Go here for more information.
Governor’s Medicaid Provider Rate Increases:
All of the provider rate increases authorized by the 2023 Legislature in HB 2 have now been updated in DPHHS and sent to providers retroactive to July 1, 2023. If you’re still struggling with the rate increases, contact DPHHS for guidance. https://medicaidprovider.mt.gov/proposedfs
Behavioral Health System for Future Generations Commission (872 Commission):
The 2023 Legislature created a Behavioral Health System for Future Generations fund of $300 million through HB 872 and created a commission to allocate those funds. https://dphhs.mt.gov/FutureGenerations/Index
The next commission meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the University of Providence campus in Conference Room A located at 1301 20th Street South. More information will be made available closer to the meeting, including the agenda and Zoom information.
Written public comment can also be submitted here:
Montana Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Conference (CAN) in Great Falls!
This important conference will be held in Great Falls on April 9-11 at the Heritage Inn. Please review the site and consider presenting! https://www.umt.edu/ces/conferences/can/
The Montana Opioid Abatement Task Force created with money from the federal opioid settlement lawsuit:
Children’s and Families Health and Human Services Interim Committee:
The CFHHS Interim Committee will continue to tackle reform of the Children and Families Services Division. You can sign up for virtual testimony and see the agendas here: Meeting Information – Montana State Legislature (mt.gov).
Here is the schedule of meetings for the next year:
March 12 & 13, 2024
May 9, 2024
July 17 & 18, 2024
September 11, 2024
It’s never too early to look at the 2025 Legislative Session:
Medicaid Expansion will be up for renewal in 2025 and given the difficulties caused by the Medicaid Redetermination post-pandemic, we saw a small slice of the problems that would be caused if Medicaid Expansion were allowed to sunset. See a recent objective report here: https://mthcf.org/resource/medicaid-in-montana-2023/.
It’s imperative that we remove the sunset for Medicaid Expansion and make it the way we do business in Montana. You can stay up-to-speed on advocacy at https://montanabehavioralhealth.org/
Here are some Medicaid Expansion talking points for you:
- By 2025, over 65 will be the largest demographic in Montana and the working age Montanans demographic will flatten out and decline. That means we’ll have fewer workers to take care of the aging Montanans. That’s why we need to make sure that all Montanans are healthy and able to join the workforce!
- 76% of Montana’s adult Medicaid enrollees aged 19-64 reported working full time, working part time, or attending school.
- In 2021, more than 34,000 received mental health services and more than 5,500 received substance use disorder treatment.
- Medicaid expansion generated state budget savings of more than $27 million in SFY 2022 by providing higher match rates for some existing Medicaid populations and by replacing existing state spending with new federal dollars.
- Uncompensated care costs for Montana’s Critical Access Hospitals declined by 35% between 2016 and 2021 with no rural hospitals closing during that time.
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.