Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

Senate approves 988 Legislation

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.   

(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4744, Topeka, KS  66604  785-969-1617

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