SB 755 will change the course of Measure 110 implementation
The Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 755, which changed the timeline and implementation process of Ballot Measure 110. Measure 110 changed many felony criminal drug possession charges into violations and expanded addiction and behavioral health services through new addiction recovery centers called Behavioral Health Resource Networks (BHRNs). The bill also changed the amount of services per region, and the role of the Oversight and Accountability Council.
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The Oversight and Accountability Council (OAC) — required to form upon the passage of Ballot Measure 110 — first met in February of 2021. Their purpose is to decide how grant funds for BHRNs will be distributed. The council meets once a week to discuss fund allocation and to assist lawmakers in creating rules and values around SB 755. Ron Williams, OAC co-chair, said:
“We’ve been bringing in experts to discuss these particular issues with the council where we have these robust conversations that are informing the rule-making process. So, we are going to take our [OAC] values, beliefs, experience, and knowledge and it is going to inform the rules being developed around all of these issues. That’s where we are at in the process now. We are fully engaged in the rule-making process or developing the values for the process.”
Originally, rules for SB 755 needed to be set by June 1, 2021 and those for BHRNs by October 1, 2021. Now that SB 755 is law, rules need to be done by September 1, 2021 and BHRNs need to be up by January 1, 2022. This timeline, though extended, is “very aggressive” according to Williams. Williams said getting through the bureaucratic process of rule-making is challenging and time-consuming.
SB 755 also changed state law to have one BHRN center per county versus one per coordinated care organization (CCO), or fifteen. However, counties have flexibility to partner together, depending on their situation, to put all their resources into one center, or to have multiple centers where help might be the most needed.
“The council has the ability to encourage collaboration in different areas to ensure that all the services are available in a particular geographic area. It really helps bolster the idea of creating these additional services and making sure there is coverage throughout the entire state.”
BHRN centers will provide 24-hour crisis management and behavioral health services intended to treat everyone, regardless of insurance coverage and at no cost. Williams said these services do not need a brick and mortar building attached to it. Measure 110 and SB 755 require services like recovery housing, peer support/counseling services, 24/7 crisis hotline, access to outpatient and inpatient treatment, and more to be available in any capacity in each region
Williams said he is thankful to all the support the legislature, governor’s office, and the community has given to the council and to this measure.