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DENVER (KDVR) — A bipartisan bill that aims to improve mental health outcomes and services for Coloradans is moving forward.

HB22-1278 is sponsored by Rep. Mary Young, Rep. Rod Pelton, Sen. Pete Lee and Sen. Cleave Simpson and would create the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) in the Department of Human Services.

If passed, by July 1, 2024, the BHA will establish:

  • A statewide behavioral health grievance system
  • A behavioral health performance monitoring system
  • A comprehensive behavioral health safety net system
  • Regionally-based behavioral health administrative service organizations
  • The BHA as the licensing authority for all behavioral health entities
  • The BHA advisory council to provide feedback to the BHA on the behavioral health system in the state

According to a release from the sponsors, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Colorado. The state also ranks 51st in access to mental health services while showing one of the highest prevalences of mental illness.

“Coloradans with mental health issues too often end up in jail or homeless rather than in the caring and capable hands of mental health providers who can meet their needs and put them on a path toward a happy, healthy life,” said Rep. Young. “I’m proud to sponsor HB 1278 to strengthen our mental health safety net to ensure better care for Colorado families.”

The bill now moves on to the House Appropriations Committee.