Montana bill would invest $300M in behavioral health system

Montana lawmakers have developed a plan of how to spend the $300 million Gov. Greg Gianforte pledged toward behavioral health, NBC affiliate KTVH reported March 29. 

The bill would allocate $225 million into a new state account to fund state and community programs for individuals with behavioral health needs or developmental disabilities. The $75 million left would go toward future capital projects in the state's existing behavioral health system fund. 

The new state fund could potentially be used for studies and plans for a comprehensive behavioral health system, plans and operations for state care facilities, acquisitions and renovations of property to build new facilities, and investments in community providers to stabilize service delivery, support workforce and increase service capacity. 

The bill would also create a commission to make recommendations on how the funds should be used. The commission would include four lawmakers, the director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, and two members appointed by the governor. 

Only $70 million of the behavioral health fund would be available for use in the next two years under the new legislation. In 2025, lawmakers would get to weigh in on how the rest of the money would be used. 

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