DENVER, CO – Lawmakers in the House will introduce two more bills today that will boost access to behavioral health care by expanding the state’s inpatient and residential treatment capacity and better integrating physical and behavioral health care.
“Colorado doesn’t have the inpatient and residential treatment capacity we need, which is why we’re investing $65 million to build additional beds and expand critical services across the state,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “The addition of 16 beds at Fort Logan and 125 residential treatment beds across the state will transform care and provide the services that people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders need to get better. This transformational investment will expand treatment capacity in Colorado to increase access to behavioral health care.”
“Right now, Colorado is struggling to provide the capacity needed to care for our state’s most vulnerable, leaving folks with serious behavioral health needs without the critical treatment they need,” said Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster. “This bill will help us boost bed capacity for inpatient and residential care so individuals with serious mental health and substance use challenges can access the care and treatment they need and deserve, helping us accomplish our overall goal of building a healthier Colorado for all.”
Adult Inpatient and Residential Care: Sponsored by Representative Judy Amabile and Senators Faith Winter and Jim Smallwood, this bill invests $65 million to expand inpatient and residential treatment options. Currently, Colorado does not have enough residential treatment beds to treat individuals with serious mental health needs or substance use disorders, including individuals with co-occuring conditions or in need of civil commitment.
The bill will support the addition of 16 beds at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan and 125 residential treatment beds across the state. These beds will be available for adults with urgent behavioral health needs that require long-term services and supports, and will be available as long as necessary for stabilization. They will provide integrated care to flexibly serve all populations, including individuals involved in the criminal justice system and those awaiting competency restoration services.
Integrating Primary Care and Behavioral Health Care: Sponsored by Representatives Chris Kennedy and Perry Will, and Senators Sonya Jaquez Lewis and Kevin Priola, this bill would invest $35 million to improve behavioral health outcomes by better integrating physical and behavioral health care. The bill will provide grants to primary care practices to integrate behavioral health care into their clinical models, helping Coloradans access whole person care and early behavioral health interventions before a crisis. The transformational investment will increase access to mental health and substance use disorder screening and treatment and help coordinate referrals to other levels of care. The funding could be used to better streamline and co-locate behavioral and physical health care services in outpatient, pediatric and primary care settings.
“Integrating physical and behavioral health care will make a huge difference in the lives of Coloradans,” said Sen. Jaquez Lewis, D-Boulder County. “We will be able to reach more people who are in need of help, including those seeking substance use disorder screening and treatment. I am a proud champion of this legislation to make it easier for Coloradans to get the care they need.”
“Better integrating primary and behavioral health will increase access to the care Coloradans need and build healthier communities through better outcomes,” said Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood. “Coloradans will be able to access both physical and behavioral health care more easily and at the same location, facing fewer barriers to critical care. Not only will this bill make it easier for Coloradans to make behavioral health care a regular part of their lives, it will make that care less expensive and save people money.”