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Bullock announces $80M investment in Montana's community mental health services

Posted at 8:24 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 15:19:07-05

Gov. Steve Bullock announced Monday that Montana plans to invest $80 million over five years to existing community-based services for individuals with severe and disabling mental illness.

Each annual investment will be $16 million, according to Bullock.

“We must ensure that those who want to stay in their home and community have the support and resources to do so,” said Bullock. “This funding will address a significant need in our state and dramatically increase the state’s ability to help more Montanans through community-based services, as opposed to more expensive options such as in a nursing facility.”

Under an existing Medicaid waiver benefit option, this funding will more than double the number of individuals already receiving services.

Right now the program serves 357 people every year. Under the new proposal, that number will jump to 750 by 2025.

“This is a major investment in Montana, and we’re thrilled about this opportunity,” Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Sheila Hogan said.

The proposal will serve more individuals discharged from Montana State Hospital, Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center, and individuals accessing the Money Follows the Person program.

Hogan said all Montanans deserve the chance to be served in their own community.

“This plan is an important step forward in making this a reality for hundreds of people this program serves,” she said.

Services included are case management, specialized medical equipment and supplies, non-medical transportation, adult day care, respite, private duty nursing, community transition, peer support and more.

The health department will request no later than March 31, 2020 a five-year extension to the existing Medicaid waiver effective July 1, 2020. Montanans are encouraged to submit their comments no later than 5 p.m. on March 3, 2020.