Date: 08/10/2009

Update on Behavioral Health in Colorado


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

09:05 AM -- Update on Behavioral Health in Colorado

Senator Boyd welcomed the committee and discussed the possibility of scheduling an additional meeting of the Health Care Task Force.

09:06 AM

Doyle Forrestal, Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC), distributed a copy of her presentation to the committee (Attachment A). She described the CBHC, which is a nonprofit membership organization that represents Colorado's statewide network of community behavioral health care providers, including 17 community mental health centers (CMHCs), 2 specialty clinics, and 5 behavioral health organizations. In 2008, the statewide network of CMHCs served 89,213 unduplicated clients. She described the types of services provided by Colorado's CMHCs, including assessment, case management, emergency and crisis, and family, individual, and group therapy services. Funding sources for CMHCs include state funds, Medicaid, local government money, and third-party payments. She discussed the impact of past budget cuts on community mental health services. Ms. Forrestal described the impact of the budget cuts and decrease in the services on incarceration rates.


09:23 AM

Ms. Forrestal discussed the percentage of individuals involved with the criminal justice system who have moderate to severe mental health needs. She discussed the cost of community mental health services versus the costs of the criminal justice system. Ms. Forrestal described the public costs of untreated behavioral health issues. In addition, she noted that the personal cost of untreated behavioral health issues can include early death and increased contact with the criminal justice system. She discussed some provisions of federal health care reform legislation that concern behavioral health care. She discussed the CBHC's goals related to integrated care, reducing stigma, and working with the criminal justice system. She responded to questions from Representative Kerr regarding the types of criminal behavior that individuals with mental illness may engage in.