As behavioral health and addiction treatment gets more attention across the nation, Idaho is taking steps to tackle mental health issues. Here’s the latest behavioral-health news across the state.
Idaho Receives “F” Grade for Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Coverage
Idaho has received an “F” on compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, according to a report by the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity. The advocacy group gave failing grades to 34 U.S. states.
Under this law, insurers must cover mental illness and behavioral health just as they would cover other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer. In Idaho, one state law references mental-health parity, but applies only to state government employees and their dependents. Idaho’s law also provides equal coverage for only seven behavioral-health conditions, excluding addiction treatment.
New VA Clinic in Idaho Falls Adds Mental Health Expert
The Idaho Falls Outreach Clinic, a new location under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is now accepting patients. The VA will host an official grand opening ceremony on Dec. 6. The new clinic has a capacity of three times its previous location, and also provides new behavioral health benefits for the area’s veterans.
The new VA clinics are being designed to be more streamlined, with shorter wait times and electronic kiosks for walk-ins. The new facility also will have an on-site mental-health expert for patients with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Cassia County Pilots Mental-Health Program for Students
Idaho’s Cassia County School District launched a year-long pilot program called CONNECT to offer behavioral health services to students. Students at participating schools have access to free, confidential, in-person counseling for behavioral health issues such as anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, suicidal thoughts, and bullying.
A student or parent must notify a school counselor or teacher about their desire to receive the services. The family then receives contact information to set up an in-person appointment with a licensed clinician. The program is being funded through grants and private donations.
Boise Offers Addiction Treatment for Non-Violent Offenders
The Boise Police Department is launching the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program to help curb opioid addiction. The pilot program will provide opioid addiction treatment as an alternative for jail time for non-violent offenders. The program is being funded in part by a new Idaho Department of Health and Welfare grant created to fight the state’s opioid epidemic.
Those who successfully complete the outpatient program, which will include counseling and medication-assisted treatment, could see their original charge reduced or dismissed.
Idaho Counseling Association: 2018 Super Conference
The Idaho Counseling Association (ICA) is holding its 2018 super conference at Boise State University. The “pre-conference” is November 14-15, with the actual conference to be held November 16-17. ICA gathers counseling and human development professionals to encourage human development.
Session topics in this year’s conference include current trends in teen substance abuse, bullying, and preventing burnout.
Meet Current Challenges for Behavioral Health Providers
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