Regional mental health centers are alarmed by Colorado’s 232-page plan to shake up the system

Supporters say it’ll end a monopoly and a funding stream that’s less than transparent. Community mental health centers say it will result in fewer services amid a mental health crisis.

Jennifer Brown
The Colorado Sun

The signature piece of legislation to redefine Colorado’s mental health system is a 232-page bill that’s causing panic among community mental health centers that for decades have cared for the state’s most vulnerable patients.

That’s because the bill laying out the state’s new Behavioral Health Administration proposes blowing up the system as they know it.

Colorado has 17 community mental health centers, each responsible for providing crisis services, ongoing therapy and help with housing to people who are low income or don’t have insurance. The centers operate in 17 regions of the state under no-bid contracts with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which dispenses funding through the Medicaid program. The centers receive $437 million in tax dollars per year.

Under the proposed setup, the result of Gov. Jared Polis’ behavioral health task force, community mental health centers would no longer automatically get lump sums of money to operate the gamut of services. Supporters of the bill see it as ending a monopoly and a funding stream that’s less than transparent, but community mental health centers say it will result in fewer services at a time when Colorado is facing a mental health crisis.

Read the full story via The Colorado Sun.

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