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AWARE Ink Newsletter

Note from Our CEO

Dear Friends,

We are nearing the end of the 2023 Legislative Session. Your advocacy efforts can still make a difference. Thank you for the calls, emails, and testimonies you have made so far. Now it is critical that we all continue to advocate through the finish.

HB 2 is the general appropriations bill that lays the groundwork for the state budget for the next two years. HB 2 is now being heard in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee and will be voted on within the next several days. As it stands currently, the levels of funding in HB 2 are far less than the recommendations of the Medicaid cost-study that was ordered by the 2021 Legislature and performed by the Governor. $2.7 million was spent on that study, the recommendations should be implemented.

The writing is on the wall. Without adequate funding, Montana’s community-based behavioral and mental health services will continue to collapse, forcing children and adults to receive services in hospitals, institutions, or out-of-state facilities, and ultimately cost the state and taxpayers more. If the 2023 Legislature chooses not to fully implement the findings of the study, Montanans should expect to see large contracts with facilities management contractors to handle crisis care for Montanans.

It is in the best interest of the people we serve and the taxpayers if the 2023 Legislature fully implements the recommendations of the cost-study.

This investment will not only keep the community-based behavioral health system of care intact, but it will help keep Montanans home, with their families, in school and working jobs in their communities. Investing in and trusting the expert service providers who’ve been serving Montanans for half a century is the responsible thing to do.

I ask you to continue advocating on behalf of community-based behavioral and mental health providers. Please call or email your representatives and ask that recommendations of the Medicaid cost-study be fully implemented, including an annual cost of living adjustment.

How you can help:

  1. Go here to send the entire Senate Finance and Claims Committee the same message with one click.

  2. Call the Capitol switchboard at 406.444.4800 and leave a message for up to three members at a time.

  3. Use the email addresses below to send a message to subcommittee members.

  4. Call, email, or text the representative or senator from your home district.

Thank you for your continued efforts. I am grateful to all of you and optimistic that our unified voices will be heard.


Matt Bugni – AWARE CEO

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