Budget Subcommittee Chair Concerned about Mental Health for Newly-Insured

Jan 28, 2014

A veteran state lawmaker is concerned the growing number of Kentuckians with health insurance could stress those who care for the mentally ill.  Jimmy Lee chairs the Budget Subcommittee on Human Resources.  The committee met Monday to begin reviewing Governor Beshear’s recommended budget.  

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Lee thinks keeping up with behavioral health needs may be one of the biggest challenges.  “I think we’re perfectly capable on the primary side to take care of these folks, as we development the team effort that we’re gonna have to have to deal with all these hundreds of thousands of people.  But, I have concerns that we’re not gonna have the type of supports that we’re gonna need for folks who come into the system and many of them have been left untreated for years,” said Lee.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Haynes testified before the committee.  She believes Medicaid managed care can help get services out into the communities.  “And through our new state plan with Medicaid and with the expansion, we have opened up many new behavioral health codes that will help to create a much more robust continuum and wrap around services and mobile crisis unit and those types of things,” explained Haynes.

Haynes does worry about the additional strain being put on health departments to carry out some of these services.