HCN News & Notes

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Behavioral-health Initiatives

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration recently announced additional resources that support the implementation of the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform as part of the administration’s commitment to improving the behavioral-health delivery system in Massachusetts. These initiatives will make it easier for residents to find and access behavioral-health services, reduce reliance on hospital emergency rooms, and improve and streamline availability of behavioral-health clinical services for adults and youth.

This announcement comes as the administration files its fiscal year 2023 budget proposal containing $115 million in new behavioral-health supports. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is providing further details about the way these funds will be utilized to implement the Roadmap.

The new resources include establishment of a new 24/7 Behavioral Health Help Line; launch of a Behavioral Health Urgent Care program; establishment of community behavioral-health centers; permanent Medicaid rate increases for outpatient behavioral-health clinic services; expansion of hospital emergency-department diversion programs, including an intensive program for children and youth; and expansion of Program Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) programs for adults and development of PACT for youth.

“These investments are aimed to open up the front door and to ease the availability of urgent and outpatient behavioral-health services to the residents of the Commonwealth, including appropriate diversion from the acute-care hospital system,” said Marylou Sudders, secretary of Health and Human Services. “As we expand access and incentivize healthcare providers to provide evidence-based treatment, hopefully, we come closer to the goals of achieving parity, providing effective treatment, ensuring equity, and improving health outcomes.”