Bill would require report on dual-diagnosis services

The Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Jan. 25 on a bill that would require a report to the Legislature from the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on certain dual-diagnosis services in Nebraska.

LB900, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, would require DHHS to report by Dec. 1, 2012, regarding access to the full array of services needed for appropriate treatment for individuals with intellectual disabilities co-occurring with mental illness.

The report would require input from the divisions of developmental disabilities, behavioral health and long-term care.

Nebraska needs greater collaboration within DHHS to provide coordinated services for those with a dual-diagnosis, Lathrop said.

Mary Gordon of the Nebraska Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities testified in support of the bill.

National data shows that approximately 34 percent of people with developmental disabilities have co-occurring mental health issues, she said. Individuals with a dual-diagnosis often face particular challenges when attempting to access services provided by different divisions within DHHS, Gordon said.

“The problems do not lie with any one system, but will require a coordinated approach to services,” she said. “Collaboration has been the key to finding the solution in other states.”

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on LB900.

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