From rural mental healthcare to substance abuse treatment programs, there have been several exciting developments for behavioral health in Idaho. Let’s take a look at some of the news circulating in the Gem State.
Idaho State Police Launches Addiction Treatment Pilot
Idaho State Police (ISP) is launching Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), a “pre-arrest program” in north Idaho that will send low-level drug offenders to substance use treatment rather than arresting them. This program involves law enforcement officers, public health, local and county prosecutors, and substance use treatment providers.
Under the program, ISP officers can refer a person committing an eligible offense to LEAD instead of an arrest, which could help them get addiction treatment rather than jail time. Eligible offenses include non-violent misdemeanors associated with substance use, such as possession of paraphernalia, or felony possession of any controlled substance.
LEAD staff will assess referred individuals to determine the best treatment and services. If an individual successfully completes treatment after one year, he or she will see no charges filed.
Idaho Behavioral Health Council Seeks Approval to Make Changes
The Idaho Behavioral Health Council (IBHC) is seeking legislative approval for nine recommendations it has made under its 2021-24 strategic action plan. IBHC’s recommendations and goals for that period include:
- A workforce development plan to increase the number of behavioral health experts in the state
- Increased tuition reimbursement for those studying to work in behavioral health
- Expansion of behavioral telehealth options
- Changes to Idaho’s civil commitment process to make it easier for people to receive behavioral health treatment
Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s budget requests for fiscal year 2023 also includes funding for youth crisis centers and behavioral health facilities.
Idaho Falls Emergency Responders Now Have Opioid Overdose Kits
Ambulance crews in Idaho Falls will now carry opioid overdose rescue kits to share with local residents. Kits include two doses of naloxone, information about local substance abuse treatment resources, and information about local housing and food assistance programs. According to Idaho Falls EMS Chief Eric Day, crews can leave a kit at a scene if they suspect a possible opioid overdose.
In the first 11 months of 2021, Idaho Falls Police officers were dispatched to 11 opioid overdose-related fatalities. This is double the number of deaths in 2020.
University of Idaho Mental Health Project Receives $200,000 Donation
Optum Idaho, which manages the state’s Medicaid behavioral health plan, has donated $200,000 to the University of Idaho’s Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). The university launched ECHO to help provide mental healthcare to more individuals and families in the state.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration has designated all of Idaho as a mental health provider shortage area. The state has few traditional mental health clinicians, especially in rural areas. Optum Idaho’s donation will help ECHO develop behavioral health training materials, encourage partnerships between mental health and primary care clinicians, and deliver behavioral health care training to clinicians in rural communities.
If you are a mental health or addiction treatment provider in Idaho, you understand the challenges of increased demand and limited resources. BestNotes’ EHR solutions have been designed with you in mind, to help your facility operate more efficiently, receive appropriate reimbursements, and improve your clients’ outcomes. Feel free to reach out to us today to learn how we can help your behavioral health practice.