LINCOLN, Neb. — A bill aimed at changing the way Nebraska approaches mental health is now law.
Governor Jim Pillen signed LB 276 on Thursday.
"We can't turn and think everything is perfect. We have neighbors. We have family that need help,” said Gov. Pillen. "This bill is going to be transformational to provide much more access.”
The bill, introduced by Lincoln Senator Anna Wishart and known as The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Act, aims to enhance access to outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment by establishing a new statewide delivery model.
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The primary objective of the bill is to improve coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders involved in behavioral health services.
“Same day access with a focus on integrated care, community collaboration for meeting veterans, youth and families where they are with what they need along with expanded crisis care and care management are foundational for CCBHC's," said Annette Dubas, a former state senator.
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services CEO Dannette Smith said the goal is to increase quality and access to mental health and substance abuse care, expand capacity for services, incorporate evidence-based practices and use core coordination. She said an estimated one in five Nebraskans have a mental illness in counties that are considered mental health deserts.
By forging strong partnerships with community organizations, the new model seeks to create a comprehensive framework for delivering mental health and behavioral services across Nebraska.
“This legislation is critical and as we go 20 years down the road and look back at the state of health of Nebraska then we will look at this moment as one of those times that the whole equation changed and CCBHC will make that level of impact,” said Topher Hansen, CenterPointe president.
Lincoln-based CenterPointe offers more than 35 programs in the areas of crisis response, treatment, rehabilitation, housing and peer support.
Gov. Jim Pillen described the bill vote as a "no-brainer”, in a statement he said:
We must come together to solve tough problems and mental health and substance abuse are tough problems. This piece of legislation will help transform mental health and substance abuse services in Nebraska
The increased access to services, along with improved coordination among providers, is expected to have a transformative impact on the well-being of Nebraskans struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.
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LB 276 took effect immediately Thursday.