Behavioral Health Advisory Group discuss policy option package

The Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council (GBHAC) held a meeting on Monday to review and provide feedback on the council’s policy option package.

The GBHAC, which was established in 2019, is charged with making recommendations to the governor and the legislature aimed at ensuring Oregonians have access to a full continuum of behavioral health care and improving outcomes for those with serious mental illness.

 

 

The policy option package discussed during Monday’s meeting is a list of recommendations developed by the GBHAC. The $200 million investment ($100 million in general funds) proposal focuses on three policy areas – housing, workforce, and programs & services – and adds a fourth section on youth and young adults. The recommendations include:

Housing

GBHAC recommends expanding the Mobile Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) team model to provide services to 300 additional people ($2.7 million GF). At a cost of $5.7 million GF, GBHAC also recommends increasing tenant-based rental assistance for low barrier housing that can be paired with supportive services for 300 additional people.

Workforce

The council recommends developing a behavioral health workforce incentive fund to serve marginalized or rural communities. The policy package allocates $10.2 million GF to the fund which would include incentives for higher education, retention and relocation bonuses, and loan forgiveness for a culturally specific workforce.

Programs and Services

This list of recommendations includes $33.5 million GF ($128.6 million total) to establish a State Certified Community Behavioral Clinic Program (CCBHC) “by providing state Medicaid match to fund 12 CCBHCs and further defining service array, certification, and evaluation based on the Federal Demonstration.”

Recommendations also include $2.4 million GF to implement and pilot three non-clinical peer-run respite centers and $0.5 million GF to fund parts of the Tribal Behavioral Health Strategic Plan.

Youth and Young Adults

For youth and young adults, the council recommends expanding the Early Assessment and Support Alliance program ($9.2 million GF), and providing additional funding to Youth Adult Hubs ($3.2 million GF).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the behavioral health advisory council was unable to finalize the recommendations in time to prepare them for the Oregon Health Authority’s request budget. But they note that OHA included pieces and placeholders in their request related to GBHAC’s work.

The group says the package of recommendations can still be refined and amended in the Governor’s budget request.