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Health Official Issue Future Generations Report

Department of Public Health and Human Services director Charlie Brereton has announced the Behavioral Health System for Future Generations Commission’s draft report has been published.

“This report comprises detailed recommendations on how to make historic investments in Montana’s behavioral health and developmental disabilities systems and will serve as a comprehensive, vetted, and actionable roadmap for future generations,” Brereton said. “On behalf of Chair Keenan and the commission, I want to sincerely thank all those who have lent their time and expertise to the initiative thus far – and helped us reach this milestone as we enter the next chapter of work.”

The draft report, presented to the commission on May 20 in Helena, was nearly a year in the making, and draws from a multitude of sources, including BHSFG commissioners, public commenters, individuals with lived experience, community stakeholders, health care providers, subject matter experts, and data-driven reports and analyses.

The commission held numerous public meetings in communities across Montana over the last 12 months, each with extensive testimony from community stakeholders and subject matter experts, which further informed the draft report’s recommendations and contributed to the commission’s consensus-driven approach.

The draft report includes a summary of 21 recommendations and five near-term initiatives that are already in various stages of implementation by DPHHS. In the months ahead, the commission will continue its diligent work to transform Montana’s behavioral health and developmental disabilities service systems to meet the needs of all Montanans and ensure access to appropriate care. The commission will bring a further revised draft report before various legislative interim committees in July before submitting the final report to Governor Gianforte for his review and approval in advance of the 2025 legislative session. DPHHS, on behalf of the commission, will continue to implement NTIs in the interim.

“Our focus now turns to further refining and prioritizing these recommendations so that they become a reality in Montana over the coming years, while simultaneously continuing to launch and support key NTIs,” Brereton said.

At the May 20 meeting, the commission also approved four more NTIs and expanded a fifth previously approved NTI to increase residential bed capacity. These particular recommendations will now be sent to the governor for review and approval.

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed House Bill 872 into law on May 22, 2023, providing a generational investment to reform and improve Montana’s behavioral health and developmental disabilities service systems. A central component of the governor’s Budget for Montana Families, the $300 million investment will expand intensive and community-based behavioral health care and developmental disabilities services across Montana.

Established by HB 872, the commission is charged with recommending how funds allocated to DPHHS through the BHSFG special revenue account are expended.

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