Governor Gordon: Mental Health Improves with People & Access

Governor Gordon: Mental Health Improves with More People and More Access

Written by on March 22, 2023

The governor’s strategy to address Wyoming’s ongoing mental health crisis hinges on establishing new partnerships, recruiting more professionals, and making access to services easier and less expensive.

Governor Mark Gordon’s Health Task Force has done great work to make recommendations on strengthening Wyoming’s healthcare workforce and examining ways to improve access for the state’s residents. The governor is now focused on implementing some of those recommendations and addressing the state’s mental health crisis while continuing to collaborate with private sector partners.

“We have made progress and taken some positive steps towards addressing some of Wyoming’s healthcare challenges over the past year, but it is clear that there is more work to be done,” Governor Gordon said. “My administration will continue to focus on developing Wyoming-led solutions to some of our most significant challenges. We know that our state’s future depends on having reliable, affordable healthcare options for our residents.”

Therapist & patient in counseling

Courtesy Pixabay

The Health Task Force has already developed proposals to help stabilize the Emergency Medical Services (E.M.S.) system and to pilot projects that regionalize the service to reduce costs.

The Department of Health recently awarded $10 million in 2022 A.R.P.A. funds to develop regional pilot programs. In addition, during the 2023 legislative session, the legislature passed the establishment of E.M.S. districts to offer support at the local level. The governor is now asking the legislature to consider an interim topic to further discuss a permanent funding solution to stabilize E.M.S. services.

The task force has also considered options for improving outcomes for individuals suffering from mental health and addiction issues. This led to several bills that have moved through the legislative process this session.

During the 2023 Legislative session, Governor Gordon signed bills establishing the 988 system for suicide prevention, strengthening the state’s drug treatment courts, and specifying insurance reimbursement requirements for mental health and substance use disorders – a bill that emerged from the work of the task force.

As Governor Gordon’s Health Task Force examines ways to bolster the state’s healthcare workforce, it will explore additional incentives to improve the recruitment and retention of primary care physicians.

The Governor’s Wyoming Innovation Partnership will support these efforts through the state’s community colleges. Phase 1 funding of the W.I.P. includes developing a new Echocardiography program and expanded opportunities for Certified Nursing Assistants.

The task force will continue working to address costs and access to healthcare in Wyoming and will develop additional recommendations to address the challenges facing E.M.S. in the state. These efforts will include developing sustainable funding models and infrastructure by integrating state, local and private resources and assets. The task force will also seek to identify cost-efficient ways to deliver programs, alternative payment models and further opportunities for improving access to a variety of healthcare needs.

Finally, the task force will continue to identify barriers, opportunities, and gaps in the network of mental health and substance abuse care in the state. This will include options for addressing mental health crisis services in Wyoming.

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