Below are important ways for you to participate in the transformation of Montana’s behavioral health system. We have been able to stand up numerous initiatives with bipartisan support from the Governor, DPHHS, and the Legislature. If the bipartisan support continues, (and partisan politics are avoided) we are going to be able to truly transform the behavioral health system from a failing system to a value- based, continuum of care with a focus on prevention and early intervention rather than crisis.
Behavioral Health System for Future Generations 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.
We are very excited that the Future Generations Commission voted to approve two grant opportunities to reopen adult assessment and mental health and disability residential facilities. About one-quarter of the available children’s and adult beds across Montana have closed in the last three years. This funding will be available to reopen programs that have closed. DPHHS will be publishing details for applying for the grants as soon as they are available.
The next commission meeting will be held over two days from Thursday, November 30 from noon to 5 p.m., and Friday, December 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Kalispell at the Flathead Valley Community College located at 777 Grandview Way. For remote access, a Zoom link will be made available closer to the meeting, along with an agenda. The focus of the meeting will be on the capacity of the developmental disabilities delivery system. The link to the meeting webcast is here.
Written public comment can also be submitted here:
Notice of Public Hearing on new Crisis Response Rules:
November 9th at 3:00 p.m., BHAM will be submitting public comment on the proposed rules for
crisis response. If you’re interested in offering public comment, you can attend the hearing or
submit written comment by following the instructions in the proposed rule.
Governor’s Medicaid Provider Rate Increases:
The long-awaited Medicaid provider rate increases were posted September 8 th and will be retroactive to July 1, 2023. There have been numerous issues with implementing the new rates and disbursing the retroactive funding. BHAM is working with DPHHS to facilitate getting the funding out to providers. All of the rate increases are available here: https://medicaidprovider.mt.gov/proposedfs
Children’s and Families Health and Human Services Interim Committee:
The next meeting of CFHHS will be held on November 15th at the Capitol in Helena. You can sign up for virtual testimony and see the agenda here when it is available: Meeting Information – Montana State Legislature (mt.gov)
To review the September 12 th committee meeting, you can watch here:
Here is the schedule of meetings for the next year:
- November 15, 2023
- January 18, 2024
- March 12, 2024
- May 9, 2024
- July 17, 2024
- September 11, 2024
Medicaid Expansion in 2025!
It’s not too early to gear up for the 2025 Legislative Session. One of the largest healthcare initiatives is removing the sunset for Medicaid Expansion. Medicaid was expanded in 2017 after a long-fought battle for the ability to provide healthcare services to the needy in Montana. To date, Montana has seen tremendous economic benefit from expanding Medicaid.
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 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.