The 2015 Legislature approved Senate Bill 418, which established certain provisions for appropriations that were made in the main state budget bill. One of the provisions required the Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee to monitor how the money invested in community-based mental health services was being spen and to report to the 2017 Legislature on its findings. The committee also could recommend improvements to the implementation efforts if members found a need for changes.
Legislators in 2015 approved four bills developed by the Children and Families Committee last interim as the result of a study of mental health services at state-operated institutions. The bills appropriated a total of $5.4 million to continue or expand existing community services or pay for new community-based treatment. In addition, the Legislature appropriated another $9.35 million to increase other community mental health services.
Committee members adopted a study plan on June 3, indicating how they will carry out their SB 418 activities. In September, they reviewed information related to the legislative action taken in 2015 and the work DPHHS had completed to date in awarding grant funds for community-based services. November meeting activities included a review of the types of items that will be monitored during the interim, as well as an update from DPHHS on the use of funds to date. In March, members heard from community providers about successes in working with DPHHS on developing crisis services and on challenges that remain to creating and sustaining additional services. DPHHS also provided an update on the use of funds to date and on readmission rates to the Montana State Hospital.
In May, the comittee heard more about the challenges in providing costly 24-hour community crisis services and in recruiting and retaiing mental health professionals. They also heard about the medication management services that pharmacists are able to provide if they have a collaborative practice agreement with a prescriber.
In June, the committee considered and agreed to introduce a bill to require Medicaid reimbursement for pharmacists who provide drug therapy management services. Members also approved draft findings for their final report to the next Legislature and developed recommendations to include in the report. The committee approved the final report and recommendations in August.
LCCF12: Medicaid Coverage of Drug Therapy Management (approved for introduction)