Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

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  • June 03, 2022 12:35 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly signed bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill 19, creating the state’s suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline and behavioral health intervention teams. The 9-8-8 hotline will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to Kansans needing mental health emergency services. The hotline will launch July 16, 2022.

    More information about SB 19 can be found here.

    Here’s what they’re saying:

    “The Kansas Mental Health Coalition is celebrating the passage of 988 Behavioral Health Crisis legislation today!  This is a crucial element of modernizing the Kansas Behavioral Health Continuum, providing meaningful suicide prevention and crisis assistance to Kansas families by assuring their calls are answered in Kansas by trained staff and covering some initial crisis interventions.”
    – Amy Campbell, Kansas Mental Health Coalition

    “9-8-8 will provide unprecedented access and timely responses to individuals in a mental health crisis. The passage and signing of this legislation marks the culmination of work done by mental health advocates including legislators and state officials that will help thousands of Kansans in a short amount of time.”
    – Kyle Kessler, Executive Director, Association of Community Mental Health Centers

    “The 9-8-8 number is part of a multi-agency effort that I have worked on with a bipartisan group of legislators and stakeholders for many years to improve access to mental health services. This new number is a tool that will help Kansans get in touch with the right people and resources as we continue to make Kansas’ mental health system the best in the country.”
    –  Representative Brenda Landwehr, Chair of the House Committee on Health and Human Services and the 2021 Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform.

    “SB 19 is just the beginning. The Kansas Legislature has been looking at the issue of mental health services in depth with the Mental Health Modernization Task Force and 9-8-8 not only helps to provide timely support and access but it frees 9-1-1 to do quick emergency work. This is a lifesaving tool for Kansans.” 
    –  Senator Pat Pettey, Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee and a Member of the 2020 Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform

    “Kansas hospitals know firsthand the importance of being able to access critically needed services for individuals facing mental health crisis. At a time when Kansas hospitals have seen the serious impacts of suicide in communities across our state, we applaud Kansas policymakers for funding and implementing the 9-8-8 suicide prevention hotline to help provide additional mental health crisis services to those in need.”
    – Tara Mays, Kansas Hospital Association

    “The passing and signing of SB 19 sets in motion the support system needed in our state for people in need, especially our youth, so they can weather some of the tough times in life and get the comprehensive help they need to set a healthy life course. I commend my legislative colleagues, state staff, mental health professionals and the Governor for putting the health and safety of all Kansans as a top priority.”
    – Senator Tom Hawk, Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and Member of the 2021 Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform

    ###

    Contact:    
    Cassie Nichols
    cassie.nichols@ks.gov

  • June 02, 2022 10:39 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed Senate Bill 19, bipartisan legislation that creates the state’s suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline and behavioral health intervention teams. Kansans will soon be able to call 9-8-8 to receive support during a mental health emergency.

    “The creation of the 9-8-8 suicide prevention hotline will provide Kansans immediate access to qualified mental health care providers during moments of crisis,” Governor Kelly said. “There’s no doubt, having mobile crisis teams just a phone call away will save lives.”

    The 9-8-8 hotline will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will be within the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Centers network.

    "Better access to crisis support services for Kansans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) will help to address some of the system problems we have endured in our state for a long time,” Nick Wood, Associate Director of InterHab, said. “Behavioral health crises among IDD populations only represent a small fraction of overall psychiatric and substance use emergencies, but they’re often high impact and can seriouslydisrupt a person's life. When a crisis situation occurs, bringing in a professional who understands IDD conditions such as autism and how it’s manifesting can help avoid a fatal or traumatizing interaction."

    The mobile crisis teams are created through partnerships between behavioral health professionals and others who provide professional, community-based crisis intervention services, which include de-escalation and stabilization for Kansans experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

    “The recent passage of SB 19 – the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Infrastructure bill – is monumental for the state of Kansas and the mental health community, allowing for our crisis call centers to be able to better provide for Kansans across the state,” Ryan Reza, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Kansas, said. “The 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline will change how organizations like NAMI Kansas operate in Kansas, creating new pathways for mental health stakeholders to help Kansans in need.”

    Governor Kelly also signed House Bill 2540, which updates the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

    “Updates to the Kansas Controlled Substances Act are vital to ensure the health and safety of the public by ensuring that new drugs are properly safeguarded and available to Kansas patients,” Alexandra Blasi, Executive Secretary of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, said. “In addition, dangerous illicit substances known to cause harm are placed in schedule I to ensure law enforcement can hold people accountable that traffic these substances. Changes are proposed annuallyas a joint recommendation of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. One key element of this legislation is the advance scheduling of any FDA-approved drug containing THC or other cannabinoids. There are a number of products currently in clinical trials anticipated to be submitted for FDA-approval in the coming months and years. Now Kansas will be among the first to allow these drugs to be lawfully prescribed in our state if and when the FDA deems them safe and effective.” 

    ###

    Contact:    
    Cassie Nichols
    cassie.nichols@ks.gov


  • May 23, 2022 1:30 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Kansas Mental Health Coalition is celebrating the passage of 988 Behavioral Health Crisis legislation today!  This is a crucial element of modernizing the Kansas Behavioral Health Continuum, providing meaningful suicide prevention and crisis assistance to Kansas families by assuring their calls are answered in Kansas by trained staff and covering some initial crisis interventions. We look forward to the Governor signing Sub for SB 19 and appreciate KDADS leadership seeing this through.

    The $10 m included in Sub for SB 19 is around 60% of the revenue forecast by the original 50 cent phone fees recommended by the federal act.  However, the Legislature opted to provide state general funds, which will fund training and staffing for the three 988 contact centers in Kansas, (ComCare, Johnson County Mental Health Center, and Kansas Suicide Prevention Headquarters) and a statewide backup center with HealthSource Integrated Solutions, provide state level coordination, oversight and tracking, and some immediate crisis interventions (in the first 36 hours for Kansas citizens).  This evidence-based intervention will save lives and reduce the overutilization of more expensive, less effective resources.

    988 legislation builds on previous reform measures recommended by the Legislative Mental Health Modernization and Reform Committee and recently passed by the Legislature: adding mobile crisis response (2021), certified community behavioral health centers (2021), and funding crisis intervention centers (2022 mega-budget) and improving behavioral health medicaid reimbursement rates (2022 mega-budget).

    The 988 crisis hotline adds the effective front door to bypass traditional barriers to care caused by service silos, addressing the needs of the majority of callers through trained on the phone consulting, warm handoffs and follow-up to appropriate community based services. 

    The strategic plan calls for improving the in-state answer rate to 90% this summer - from 60% in 2019 to 72% in 2020 and 80% in 2021.  This assures a higher suicide prevention success rate and more eficient use of funds with coordinated handoffs to community-based services.   



  • April 03, 2022 7:23 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Kansas Legislature left Topeka for First Adjournment without passing the 988 Crisis Hotline Legislation. House Substitute for SB 19 - the LIVES Act - is now in the hands of a six member conference committee on health care legislation.  It must be passed by the end of the Veto Session that begins April 25 in order to become law.

    The House of Representatives passed the bill March 21 on a vote of 114-8.  Unfortunately, regular committees in the Senate were no longer meeting, as the Legislature entered full time floor debates to move as much legislation as possible prior to the Drop Dead Day April 1.  The House had worked on the bill for nearly two years, while only senators on Ways and Means, Kancare Oversight and Mental Health Modernization and Reform had received reports on the legislation.  It is not unusual for one chamber to insert legislation into a bill from the other chamber in order to expedite the process, but 988 is significant legislation and advocates feared the Senate might balk.  The stalemate lasted more than a week.

    Finally, on Friday, April 1, the conference committee on House Sub for SB 19 met and came to a tentative agreement regarding amendments to the bill.  The conferees agreed to add language to clarify crisis and short-term services to be covered for uninsured Kansans, restrict services to out-of-state persons, and reduce the number of people on the 988 Advisory Council.  The Supplemental Note provides details of the legislation and action by the House Health and Human Services Committee and the House Energy, Utilities and Environment Committee.  The Supplemental Note does not include amendments proposed by the conference committee.  

    Background:  he National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 (S. 2661) creates 988, a 3-digit mental health crisis line. 988 will be a crucial tool to link people with trained staff who can provide on-the-phone assistance or refer to  crisis response, reducing the burden on local law enforcement, emergency rooms, jails and state hospitals. However, the federal legislation is not funded – recommending a state-enacted fee on phone services.  

    The phone fee has been a major hang-up for HB 2281.  Ultimately, the bill was passed by the House Health and Human Services Committee after a lot of negotiation with phone companies to reduce the monthly phone fee from 50 cents to 20 cents.  Then, the bill was referred to the House Energy Utilities and Environment Committee, where the fee was pulled out, recommending funding from the state general fund and moving it into House Substitute for SB 19.  The legislation must still pass the full House of Representatives before it can be addressed by the Senate.

    Converting and expanding our current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a fully functional front door to behavioral health crisis response in Kansas resolves a glaring gap in the continuum of care. Families need somewhere to call when a crisis occurs for themselves or their loved ones – a link to a live voice to deescalate the situation or link to appropriate interventions and resources.

    KDADS has fulfilled the federal planning requirements and phone services will start directing 988 calls July 16, 2022.  The Legislature must act to assure the hotline is operational and the necessary trained response services are in place with funding.


  • March 17, 2022 3:55 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 (S. 2661) creates 988, a 3-digit mental health crisis line. 988 will be a crucial tool to link people with trained staff who can provide on-the-phone assistance or refer to  crisis response, reducing the burden on local law enforcement, emergency rooms, jails and state hospitals. However, the federal legislation is not funded – recommending a state-enacted fee on phone services.  

    The phone fee has been a major hang-up for HB 2281.  Ultimately, the bill was passed by the House Health and Human Services Committee after a lot of negotiation with phone companies to reduce the monthly phone fee from 50 cents to 20 cents.  Then, the bill was referred to the House Energy Utilities and Environment Committee, where the fee was pulled out, recommending funding from the state general fund and moving it into House Substitute for SB 19.  The legislation must still pass the full House of Representatives before it can be addressed by the Senate.

    Converting and expanding our current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a fully functional front door to behavioral health crisis response in Kansas resolves a glaring gap in the continuum of care. Families need somewhere to call when a crisis occurs for themselves or their loved ones – a link to a live voice to deescalate the situation or link to appropriate interventions and resources.

    KDADS has fulfilled the federal planning requirements and phone services will start directing 988 calls July 16, 2022.  The Legislature must act to assure the hotline is operational and the necessary trained response services are in place with funding.


  • February 11, 2022 4:30 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Hearings Next Week

    988 CRISIS LINE - House Bill 2281 - Hearing for HB 2281 in House Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday, February 15.   To submit written testimony or to speak before the committee, contact Ryan Reza, NAMI Kansas, at this link to provide your information by Sunday February 13.  We will have to turn in testimony by 10:00 a.m. Monday.

    You can also reach out to the House Health and Human Services Committee members directly by email to express your support for HB 2281. Link to Committee List  A short email with Support 998 Crisis Legislation in the subject line is very helpful!  Sample Email.

    BUDGET HEARINGS:  KMHC supports the behavioral health enhancements in the Governor’s Budget.  Other top issues include advocating for continued support for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center system, creating community Crisis Intervention Centers, funding 988, and ending the moratorium on voluntary admissions at the state hospitals – expanding access to community based services and Medicaid Expansion.  The following committees hear public testimony then make recommendations to the House Appropriations Committee or Senate Ways and Means Committee to develop the overall budget.

    To submit written testimony or to speak before the committee, contact the committee assistant at least 48 hours before the hearing and expect to turn in your testimony 24 hours before the hearing.  Some committees require only an electronic copy of your testimony, others will ask you to deliver paper copies too.  Remember, if you can't get testimony submitted, you can email the committee members directly. 

    When testifying for agency budgets, it is important to review the Governors Budget Report to see what is recommended for the agencies.  See Governors Budget Report and Directors Budget Presentation.  See page 20 of the directors presentation for behavioral health (see below), also page 22 for Medicaid Expansion.  

    ________________________________

    House Social Services Budget Committee  web page link with members – HSSBC - meets daily at 3:30 p.m. 152-S – Contact Francisca.Hernandez@house.ks.gov   or at 785-296-7660.  The committee assistant needs to know if you will testify in person or by Webex 48 hours before the hearing.  Email a pdf of your testimony by 1:00 p.m. the day before the hearing.

    Dept. of Children and Families -  Budget Overview February 14, Public Hearing February 15, Recommendations February 16 

    Kansas Dept. for Aging and Disability Services - Budget Overview February 16, Public Hearing February 17, Recommendations February 21 

    __________________________________

    Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services – time and location vary - web page link  with members

    Contact Donna.Fulkerson@senate.ks.gov or 785-296-7399.  The committee assistance needs to know if you will testify in person or by Webex 48 hours before the hearing.  Email a pdf of the testimony 24 hours before the hearing.   

    Dept. for Children and Families -  Overview and Public Testimony February 17.  12 noon Room 548-S

    Kansas Dept. for Aging and Disability Services -  Overview and Public Testimony February 18.   10:30 a.m. Room 548-S

    ____________________________________________________________

    All hearings are live-streamed on the YouTube Kansas Legislature Channel.


  • February 07, 2022 9:33 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    This is a busy time for behavioral health! 

    BUDGET HEARINGS:  KMHC supports the behavioral health enhancements in the Governor’s Budget.  Other top issues include advocating for continued support for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center system, creating community Crisis Intervention Centers, funding 988, and ending the moratorium on voluntary admissions at the state hospitals – expanding access to community based services and Medicaid Expansion.  The following committees hear public testimony then make recommendations to the House Appropriations Committee or Senate Ways and Means Committee to develop the overall budget.

    To submit written testimony or to speak before the committee, contact the committee assistant at least 48 hours before the hearing and expect to turn in your testimony 24 hours before the hearing.  Some committees require only an electronic copy of your testimony, others will ask you to deliver paper copies too.  Remember, if you can't get testimony submitted, you can email the committee members directly. 

    When testifying for agency budgets, it is important to review the Governors Budget Report to see what is recommended for the agencies.  See Governors Budget Report and Directors Budget Presentation.  See page 20 of the directors presentation for behavioral health (see below), also page 22 for Medicaid Expansion.  

    ________________________________

    House Social Services Budget Committee  web page link with members – HSSBC - meets daily at 3:30 p.m. 152-S – Contact Francisca.Hernandez@house.ks.gov   or at 785-296-7660.  The committee assistant needs to know if you will testify in person or by Webex 48 hours before the hearing.  Email a pdf of your testimony by 1:00 p.m. the day before the hearing.

    Larned State Hospital and Osawatomie State Hospital Budget Overview  February 10, Public Hearing - February 10, Recommendations February 21

    KDHE/Medicaid/Public Health – Overview February 7, Hearing February 8, Recommendations February 9

    Dept. of Children and Families -  Budget Overview February 14, Public Hearing February 15, Recommendations February 16 

    KDADS Budget Overview February 16, Public Hearing February 17, Recommendations February 21 

    __________________________________

    Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services – time and location vary - web page link  with members

    Contact Donna.Fulkerson@senate.ks.gov or 785-296-7399.  The committee assistance needs to know if you will testify in person or by Webex 48 hours before the hearing.  Email a pdf of the testimony 24 hours before the hearing.   

    Larned State Hospital and Osawatomie State Hospital – Public Hearing Wednesday February 9 - 12 noon Room 548-S.  Deliberations Thursday February 10 - 10:30 a.m. Room 548-S.

    KDADS and DCF – beginning February 16 or 17.  TBA.


  • January 19, 2022 8:19 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)


  • January 12, 2022 9:28 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Members of the public can stream audio and some video from www.kslegislature.org.   Click “Audio/Video” in the upper right corner of the site.  Select “Statehouse Live and Archive” or “House, Senate and Committee Video”.  Meetings are available to listen or view later as well.  Sometimes one of these options works better than the other.  There are also times when there doesn’t seem to be any audio at all – a hitch that is due to committee room equipment.   The 2021 Legislature did appropriate funds to improve statehouse technology equipment, so we hope these functions will be more reliable this session.  

  • January 12, 2022 9:27 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Kansas Legislature will host a joint meeting of the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means Committees today at 10:00 a.m. to hear the Governor’s Budget Report and review current state budget numbers.  Listen to the committee at http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00287/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20220112/-1/13872 or view at the Kansas Legislature channel on YouTube.  The 2022 Legislative Session opened Monday afternoon and featured the Governor’s State of the State speech last night, along with a State of the Judiciary presentation by Chief Justice Marla Luckert yesterday afternoon.  The Governor is proposing the elimination of the food sales tax and an income tax refund to all Kansas taxpayers of $250 per individual.  Kelly says the Kansas economy is strong – with revenue estimates consistently increasing. 

    Budget estimates predict the highest ending balance the state has ever seen, mostly due to several rounds of federal pandemic relief funding and increased federal match for Medicaid, and Kelly is arguing that Kansans should benefit directly.  At this point, Republican leaders are arguing that the federal aid will end and create a revenue cliff – so, a graduated approach may be better.  There was also talk about reducing the sales tax rate for other kinds of purchases beyond groceries and using surplus funds to pay down KPERS debt.  They do not support sending tax refunds to every Kansan – a proposal that they say is all about the Governor’s re-election campaign. 

    Governor Kelly used her State of the State speech to promote her priorities and to criticize the Legislature’s refusal to pass Medicaid Expansion.  


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