Legislative updates

This week we had two large stakeholder meetings on our Behavioral Health Care Coverage Modernization Act of 2019. These stakeholder meetings were well attended by advocacy organizations, providers, carriers, Regional Accountable Entities, and our sponsors of the bill, Reps. Cutter and Sullivan. We hope the bill will be introduced next week.

HB-1177 “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” was heard in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. Lauren Snyder and three of our wonderful Brain Wave members testified in front of the Committee. We would like to give a big shout out and share our appreciation for all our board members who advocated for the bill in your communities!

Finally, we have been collaborating with Children’s Hospital Colorado to launch a new website focused on advocacy for youth mental health. Please check it out and share it with your network!

Check out the March Revenue Forecast here!


This week the legislature is considering the following bills on our agenda:

March 18

March 19

March 20


Last week at the Capitol:

HB-1044 “Psychiatric Advance Directives” repassed the House and is on its way to the governor.
Another Mental Health Colorado bill passed out of committee unanimously. HB-1193 “Behavioral Health Supports for At-risk Families” passed the Public Health and Human Services Committee on a bi-partisan 9-0 vote. Our Interim President and CEO, Nancy VanDeMark, did a wonderful job in her testimony.

Daniel Darting, Nancy VanDeMark, Jade Woodard, Rep. Leslie Herod

At the JBC:
The JBC made many decisions on budget requests from Health Care Policy and Financing and the Department of Human Services related to behavioral health funding. Here are some of their decisions:

HCPF Figure Setting

  • The Department’s November 1, 2018, budget request included a decision item to add $26.9 million total funds (including $12.7 million General Fund) to cover projected caseload and expenditure changes in both the managed care and fee-for-service Medicaid behavioral health programs.
  • JBC Approved- Additional $49.8 million total funds (including $10.9 million General Fund).
    CDHS (OBH) Figure Setting
  • R1 Mental Health Institute at Pueblo Bed Expansion (JBC Approved): $5,141,144 General Fund (including $4,153,408 General Fund for the Office of Behavioral Health) and 44.5 FTE to operate and staff an additional 42 inpatient psychiatric beds at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP).
  • R11 Behavioral Health Crisis Response System Enhancements (JBC Approved): $965,832 General Fund and 0.9 FTE for enhancements to the Behavioral Health Crisis Response System. The decision includes $395,069 to enhance the Crisis System hotline vendor’s capacity to respond to texts and chats. The remainder of the funding ($570,763 and 0.9 FTE) is pending a Committee decision on the companion information technology capital request.
  • R12 Contract Medical Staff Salary Adjustments (JBC Approved): $1,148,010 General Fund to increase salaries for medical staff at the Mental Health Institutes.
  • R15 Community Provider Rate Increase Adjustments (JBC Approved): $1,626,781 total funds (including $1,213,395 General Fund) for an across-the-board increase of 1.0 percent for community providers.
  • JBC Staff Initiated (JBC Approved): The decision was to continue transportation pilot programs that were authorized by S.B. 17-207 by $51,294 cash funds from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund to cover the total full-year costs of the two existing pilot programs.

Another Mental Health Colorado bill, HB19-1193 “Behavioral Health Supports for At-Risk Families” was introduced. The bill will do several things to expand behavioral health services for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders, including:

  • Increasing early identification and referrals to services for women up to one year postpartum.
  • Giving HCPF authority to pursue the necessary federal waivers to serve postpartum women.
  • Creating the High-Risk Families Fund using reverted funds so the state can increase the number of providers that serve families, including children and youth with behavioral health disorders.
  • Piloting two innovative two-generation approaches to increasing access to childcare for women seeking substance use disorder treatment.
  • Extending criminal protection of conversations between women and their health care providers regarding substance use during pregnancy.
View 2019 Policy Agenda