Behavioral health task force established

A task force to examine gaps in Nebraska’s behavioral and mental health system was approved by senators Feb. 29.

Syracuse Sen. Dan Watermeier, introducer of LR413, said the proposal resulted from a legislative performance audit that found a need for additional study regarding the adequacy of the state’s system.

“The report identified several likely gaps in the system,” Watermeier said.

The resolution establishes the Task Force on Behavioral and Mental Health to monitor the progress of a statewide needs assessment and the development of a strategic plan being undertaken by the state Department of Health and Human Services division of behavioral health.

Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz supported the resolution, saying the state has been moving toward more community-based rather than institution-based behavioral health strategies since passage of LB1083 in 2004.

“But, we still have some work to do in implementing the true vision established by that piece of legislation 12 years ago,” she said, adding that the state’s child welfare and correctional systems both would benefit from greater access to behavioral health services.

LR413 was approved on a 32-0 vote.

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