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LB 605: Expanding Access to Mental and Behavioral Health Services for Youth in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice System through Telehealth

As introduced: On or before November 30, 2013, the Division of Behavioral Health Services Program shall create the Telehealth Behavioral Health Services Program to ensure timely access to clinically appropriate behavioral health services for youth in juvenile justice facilities and programs, juvenile detention centers, and out-of-home residential placements and for youth receiving in-home services through DHHS.  Behavioral health services provided through the program shall be provided by board-certified psychiatrists, advanced practice registered nurses practicing psychiatric nursing, clinical psychologists and mental health practitioners licensed pursuant to the Uniform Credentialing Act.

No later than January 1, 2015, the program shall be fully implemented to provide telehealth behavioral health services to all eligible youth provided under this bill.

It is the intent of the Legislature that all funds for this program come from the Commission on Public Advocacy Operations Cash Fund.

As Amended: N/A

Introducing Senator(s): Pirsch

Committee: Health and Human Services

Committee Hearing Date: February 14, 2013

Current Status: In committee; provisions related to evidence-based services were amended into LB 561

Estimated Fiscal Impact: Commission on Public Advocacy Cash Fund: The bill provides for the telehealth program to be funded with proceeds of the Commission on Public Advocacy Cash Fund. Revenue for the cash fund is obtained from a $3 indigent defense fee which brings in about $1.2 to $1.3 million per year. The cash fund is used for the operations of the Commission on Public Advocacy. Operations of the Commission are about $1.1 million per year and the Legislature has authorized several transfers from the fund for various activities. The existing balance in the cash fund on June 30, 2012 was $1,542,321. The cash balance has been declining the last four years because expenditures have increased to the point they are greater than revenue. If appears that funding telehealth services from the Commission on Public Advocacy Cash Fund will not be sustainable in the future, if the cost of the services is more than minimal.

Voices for Children’s Position: Neutral

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