LEGISLATIVE AND BUDGET PRIORITIES
The primary goal of a CMHC or substance use provider is to provide quality care, treatment and rehabilitation to individuals with behavioral health issues in the least restrictive environment. CMHCs and substance use agencies provide services to all in need, regardless of socioeconomic level, age or type of illness. They strongly endorse treatment at the community level - in order to allow individuals to remain in their own homes and communities at a considerably reduced cost to the state.
STRENGTHEN THE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SAFETY NET
Medicaid Expansion and Transformation
Medicaid transformation is an opportunity for Missouri to invest in the mental health safety net. When mental illness and substance use are not treated properly, the problems get shifted to emergency rooms, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Missouri taxpayers end up incurring avoidable costs.
Expanding Medicaid will help those living with mental illness and/or substance use disorder both obtain and maintain employment. At the current poverty level for Medicaid eligibility, individuals are afraid to start working because they risk losing healthcare coverage. Within current Medicaid eligibility, individuals are forced to choose between working and keeping their healthcare benefits.
Medicaid coverage helps people with mental illness and substance use disorders receive necessary services, stay healthy and contribute to their communities. For people living with mental illness, Medicaid expansion (including adequate coverage) can mean the difference between dependency and independence.
PROTECT THE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SAFETY NET
Health Homes and Disease Management (DM 3700)
Protect the behavioral health homes and Disease Management (DM 3700) initiatives, subsequently saving significant money for the state of Missouri. Missouri has pioneered a program for Medicaid beneficiaries with severe mental illness and substance use disorders that is based in community mental health centers and provides care coordination and disease management to address the “whole person,” including both mental illness and chronic medical conditions.
Medicaid beneficiaries with severe mental illness are two-to-three times more likely to have chronic medical conditions. Missouri’s Healthcare Homes and DM 3700 programs are nationally recognized innovative best practices, and should be used to manage the mental health safety net services – not managed care.
Protect the mental health safety net by maintaining current funding for mental health and substance abuse services in Community Mental Health Centers. Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) make community-based mental health services, housing, and employment services affordable and accessible to Missourians. CMHCs are the major system that provides the majority of mental health services in the state. Additionally, community mental health liaisons are crucial to the mental health safety net, as they coordinate services for individuals with behavioral health needs who have come to the attention of law enforcement officials and the courts.
Strengthening Mental Health Initiative
Continued funding for the Strengthening Mental Health Initiative, which ensures that Missourians with mental illness and/or substance use disorders get timely, effective treatment in their communities. It would also provide law enforcement with the training and resources they need to respond to Missourians experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis.
Continued support for Community Mental Health Liaisons at each of the Community Mental Health Centers across Missouri. These mental health professionals work with courts, law enforcement, and families to help individuals with mental illness receive proper treatment.
Continued funding to help educate and train more teachers, law enforcement, clergy, employers and families on how to recognize, respond to and care for those with mental illness through Crisis Intervention and Mental Health First-Aid training. Mental Health First-Aid training is targeted toward groups that are likely to encounter people in mental health crises - teachers, law enforcement, clergy, and employers - so they can identify and respond to the early warning signs of mental illness.
Continued funding of emergency room enhancement teams. These teams of mental health professionals could respond quickly when an emergency room requests assistance, and begin working with a patient to coordinate care.