On September 12th, BHECON attended the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas’ Annual Conference for Behavioral Health to provide an update on federal policies that impact providers on the ground and to present data on the current state of behavioral health in Kansas.
The Conference’s approximately 400 attendees gathered to hear Chuck Ingoglia, Senior Vice President of Policy and Practice Improvement at the National Council, provide the opening keynote, “Updates from Washington,” covering issues from federal appropriations to voter registration ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Chuck also shared the successes that Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) are seeing across the eight states in which they operate. Kansas providers have expressed disappointment in their state’s choice to forego participation in the CCBHC program, especially as they have seen their neighbors to the east in Missouri succeed with the project. However, federal policymakers have supported initiatives to increase access to care and addressed workforce issues across the country with proposals such as expanding funding for telehealth and offering student loan repayment programs for behavioral health providers.
.@NationalCouncil‘s Chuck Ingoglia is providing a federal policy update at #KSBHCON. Congress continues to put $ into important behavioral health programs, but “it’s hard for states to make investments with grant money when they don’t know if it will be there next year.” pic.twitter.com/GAknwXtFjJ
— BH&Economics Network (@BHEconNetwork) September 12, 2018
During one of the Conference’s breakout sessions, Dr. Mike Menchine from the University of Southern California’s Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics presented the updated Kansas 2018 Data Chartbook to a full room of around 75 people. The data provided an overview of the prevalence of serious mental illness (SMI) in Kansas compared to the rest of the nation, the economic costs associated with SMI, treatment capacity within the state, the intersection of the behavioral health and criminal justice systems, and more. Attendees offered insights into potential data sources from local providers to augment the Kansas chartbook. A key area of interest for further exploration was the differential impacts of each these issues on youth and adolescents.