The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on a bill that would establish the behavioral health task force to study the behavioral health system in the state of Kansas. The purpose of the new task force is to help with implementation of the recommendations brought forward by the mental health task force earlier in the session.
“We felt like the report needed to have some kind of structure, so that it wasn’t just filed away in a drawer and every time there was a pocket of money, we would throw some money here and there at it,” said Representative Susan Concannon, a Republican from Beloit. “That would be a helter-skelter approach to this. I felt like we need a strategic plan.”
The goal is not to replace the efforts of groups working on different individual components of mental health care.
“The bill is necessary to bring legislators from both the House and the Senate, the agency experts and the behavioral health stakeholders all together to have a systematic approach to tackling the issues.”
It’s important to note that the original mental health task force took pains not to include legislators so as to keep politics out of the findings, but now it’s important to look at it from a budgetary perspective.
“We needed to involve legislators,” said Concannon. “We are the appropriators. With that, we also needed to reduce the number on there. The appointments are not exactly the same as they were on last year’s task force.”
Should the bill pass, the new task force would file a report due next January.