Stronger Mental Health Care in Colorado

On Tuesday, Governor Hickenlooper and his staff announced a plan to strengthen mental health care services and supports in Colorado. The plan comes with a price tag of $18.5 million in SFY 2013-2014.

Among the plan’s many parts is a provision to allow for the direct electronic transfer of mental health commitment records to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to be used for firearm purchase background checks.

In addition to preventing those with severe mental illness from obtaining weapons, the plan also aims to strengthen the mental health care services and supports by clarifying the processes and options for mental health service providers, establishing a 24/7 State-wide mental health hotline, and establishing new stabilization and transition facilities.

As the Colorado Hospital Association points out, Hickenlooper’s proposal is a step in the right direction but still doesn’t address things like a State accounting rule that doesn’t allow a facility to bill for the treatment of a patient for both physical- and mental-symptoms.

We also have a hard time seeing how Hickenlooper’s proposal aims to help a population with one of the highest incidences of mental illness: the homeless.

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