Overview of House Bill 1278: The Behavioral Health Administration

HB22-1278 makes much needed updates to the definition of safety net providers in statute – opening up opportunities for smaller and specialty providers to be considered part of the public system of care for mental health. The bill also creates more robust and accountable funding models for all safety net providers.

The updated definition of safety net providers will clearly outline the responsibility of providers for serving our hardest to serve and most vulnerable people. The definition allows for more types of providers from across the continuum to be part of the safety net system, allowing for people to have more choices in who they see and adding competition to the system. Finally, the updated payment models will promote better accountability to improved outcomes for Coloradans. 

HB-1278 will clarify the role and responsibilities of the Behavioral Health Administration. It states that the BHA will do the following:

  • Set statewide standards for accessibility and quality of the safety net services. Providers will be   accountable to meet these standards through a universal contract, which is used by the BHA, its contracted intermediary organizations, and any state agency contracting for behavioral health services in Colorado. 
  • Enter into formal agreements with State agencies addressing data sharing and use of the universal contract.
  • Consolidate fragmented behavioral health networks (mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and crisis services) into one behavioral health administrative services organization (BHASO) per region and will align the BHASO regions with Medicaid regions (regional accountable entities or “RAEs”).
  • Collect and analyze data on behavioral health grievances in Colorado. Aggregate data on grievances will be posted publicly and will be used to identify and address service delivery gaps and needs.
  • Create an advisory council of diverse stakeholders that will make recommendations to the BHA on service needs and gaps, standards of care, and strategic policy. At least half of the advisory council must be people with lived experience in the behavioral health system.