July 23, 2014

Governor’s initiative will target better mental health services

A $10 million initiative will provide targeted funding for better mental health services in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback announced last week. The initiative seeks to address the state’s most at-risk and challenging populations.
Brownback announced the initiative during a Jan. 10 press conference at Wyandot Center Community Behavioral Health Care, a community health center in Wyandotte County serving the Kansas City area.
“While many Kansans and their families currently live under the dark cloud of mental illness, my hope is that this new initiative will be the start of a brighter day,” Brownback said.
Some mental health patients, despite having access to care, are resistant to treatment and as a result require repeat hospitalizations.
Brownback’s proposal would establish a collective regional system of services including intensive care management, care coordination and crisis stabilization services for the most challenging cases. The proposal would also provide funding to all community mental health centers in Kansas that use evidence-based programs to target at-risk and challenging patients.
“These publicly-funded community centers work tirelessly to provide accessible, affordable care to those affected. They bring hope to Kansans and their families. I am committed to strengthening this system and making it more effective,” Brownback said.
As part of the program, a panel of experts will re-evaluate Kansas’ current mental health system and recommend improvements. The task force will be comprised of experts in mental health, medicine and criminal justice.
“This is an area in which our mental health system can be transformed,” Lt. Gov. Colyer said. “This new initiative, like KanCare, will coordinate services around a person’s specific needs. However, this program will target people who are not on Medicaid.”
— Danedri Thompson

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