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October 2023 Update from BHAM

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.

How the Medicaid Rate Increases are Rebuilding the System:

It’s with a big smile that we can share this big news from Florence Crittendon Family Services located in Helena, Montana.

“Florence Crittenton is delighted to announce that our Youth Maternity Home will be reopening in the October of 2023. Due to staffing shortages related to Covid and the ensuing nationwide employee shortage, we made the difficult decision to temporarily close this program in November 2021. Now, thankfully we are able to re-open and welcome women ages 12-21 and their children back to our facility to our foundational program and one that has always been so near and dear to our hearts.”

Read the full statement about Florence Crittendon’s Youth Maternity Home here.

Governor’s Medicaid Provider Rate Increases:

The long-awaited Medicaid provider rate increases were posted September 8th and will be retroactive to July 1, 2023. All of the rate increases are available here:

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.

The commission members are: 

Rep. Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork, Chair; Charlie Brereton, Director, DPHHS, Vice-Chair; Patrick Maddison, CEO, Flathead Industries; Janet Lindow, Associate Professor of University of Kansas Medical Center and Executive Director and Co-Founder, Rural Behavioral Health Institute; Rep. Michele Brinkley, R-Hamilton; Rep. Mike Yakawich, R-Billings; Rep. Dave Fern, D-Whitefish; Sen. John Esp, R- Big Timber; and Sen. Ellie Boldman, D-Missoula.

The link to the meeting webcast is here.
The commission may change meeting dates and/or times and add meeting days. Sign up to receive email updates or check the commission’s website Commission ( for up-to-date information. 

To register for public comment or provide written public comment please email to Bret Carter at [email protected].Written public comment can also be submitted here:

Children’s and Families Health and Human Services Interim Committee:

The CFHHS Committee for the 2024-2025 Interim have met twice. 

Senator Chris Friedel (R), Senator Jen Gross (D), Senator Daniel Emrich (R), Senator Dennis R. Lenz (R) Chair, Representative Jennifer Carlson (R), Representative SJ Howell (D) Vice-Chair, Representative Ron Marshall (R), and Representative Mike Yakawich (R). 

To review the September 12th 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

You can provide public comment at the meetings or sign up for virtual comment one day before the meeting.

Medicaid Expansion in 2025!

It’s not too late 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:

It’s imperative that we remove the sunset for Medicaid Expansion and make it the way we do business in Montana. 

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. 

2023 NAMI Montana Conference:

Research Efforts, Advocacy, and Lessons From the Field

NAMI is excited to announce more of the speaker list for the NAMI Montana Conference that will take place at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center on October 25th-27th. The Lincoln Art Show will begin the night of the October 25th. Presentations will begin in in the morning on Thursday October 26th and continue on throughout the day. NAMI will host the banquet that evening and then presentations will continue Friday morning the 26th. Presentations will also be available in real-time online.  We are delighted by the list of attendees who combine moving personal stories, research, new care practices, leadership, and real opportunity to engage with Montana’s mental health policy transition team. We think you’ll love them!

To register for the 2023 NAMI Montana Conference, click the link here.

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.

[email protected]