House increases access to mental and behavioral health treatment centers

JUNEAU – Today, the House passed legislation that expands crisis residential centers and crisis stabilization centers in Alaska. House Bill 172 establishes an alternative placement option for individuals experiencing mental and behavioral health crises.

 

In 2020, Representative Matt Claman assisted in passing legislation that established crisis stabilization centers—a much-needed intermediate treatment option for those facing mental health crises. An emerging component for improving the behavioral health continuum of care, centers are open 24/7, staffed by mental health professionals, and designed to provide prompt mental health evaluation and stabilization.

 

HB 172 builds off this legislation by increasing the number of beds available for treatment and helping our public safety officers focus on crime prevention while emergency healthcare professionals focus on Alaskans in need. Major health care providers in Alaska are already moving forward with setting up these facilities.

 

“Fairbanks is already seeing great success with the mobile crisis teams and is working to stand up crisis stabilization and crisis residential centers,”  said Representative Bart LeBon (R – Fairbanks), who spoke to the legislation on the floor. “We look forward to connecting more Alaskans with the care they need.”

 

“Our office has been working closely with the Alaska Mental Health Trust and the Department of Health and Social Services on this legislation, which will provide a badly-needed boost for Alaska’s mental and behavioral health treatment centers,” said Representative Matt Claman (D – Anchorage).

 

HB 172 passed the House with a vote of 36-2, and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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