Feb. 7—If ever there was a need for more accessible mental health services the time is now. And in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the governors and legislatures are making moves to address this, working to ensure those in need of care — an alarming number of whom are children — can get the appropriate kind quickly.
In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker recently created the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform and funded it with $115 million, according to a Wednesday report by Statehouse reporter Christian Wade. Baker proposes part of the money should come from a new behavioral health surcharge for insurers, which could generate approximately $34 million a year.
Baker plans to create a hotline that will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, he is establishing community behavioral health centers for same-day evaluation and treatment referral. Also, coverage will be expanded for MassHealth recipients.
“As we expand access and incentivize health care providers to provide evidence-based treatment, hopefully we come closer to the goals of achieving parity, providing effective treatment, ensuring equity and improving health outcomes,” Sudders said.
In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu received a nod from the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee and Executive Council in December to use $15.1 million in state funds to purchase the 111-bed Hampstead Hospital, a previously private psychiatric and substance use facility.