Last month, Hickenlooper outlined an $18.5 million five-point plan to strengthen to the state's mental health system. It included establishing 24-hour “crisis stabilization services” providing mental health urgent care; developing a 20-bed, jail-based mental health “restoration program” in the Denver area; and enhancing community-based care which would include developing two 15-bed residential facilities for short-term transition from mental health hospitals and providing housing vouchers for “individuals with serious mental illness.”
Hickenlooper’s mental health overhaul also has information technology components. He calls for changing state laws so the Colorado judicial system can electronically transfer mental health commitment records to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s firearm-purchase background-check program, and to “develop a consolidated mental health/substance abuse data system.”
In his address, Hickenlooper also called for a “world-class health system” with an emphasis on prevention and a goal of making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.
“Unlike most states, where healthcare reform has been a politically divisive fight, Colorado passed bipartisan health exchange legislation,” Hickenlooper said. “Consumers and small businesses will have an efficient and cost-effective way to obtain insurance.”
In the next legislative session, Hickenlooper said he looks forward to working on Medicaid expansion “in a way that increases value, reduces expenses and doesn't require additional general fund dollars.”
Hickenlooper also hailed recent job growth in Colorado and referenced the 500 jobs being created at the new Kaiser Pemanente information technology campus in Greenwood Village.