Policy & Advocacy

Bills To Know: 2021 Legislative Session

PCMH is working with Colorado legislators to help improve the children’s mental health system. Join us in advocating for change!


An Accountable Behavioral Health System

Senate Bill 19-195 was a bipartisan bill that moved forward a set of programs to better identify child and youth behavioral health needs early in life and tackle the challenges associated with a fragmented behavioral health care system. Due to COVID-19 budget impacts, the state was forced to eliminate funding from the bill’s implementation. Efforts are underway to restore this funding and restart implementation of this important bill.

Funding Status: Restored!

Establish a Behavioral Health Administration

House Bill 21-1097 helps implement the recommendation of the Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force to create a single state agency for behavioral health programs. If implemented in a way that integrates Medicaid and the Division of Insurance, this Administration could improve access and quality of behavioral health care and ensure accountability across systems.

Bill Status: Became Law 4/22/21

Support Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Efforts

House Bill 21-1119 expands the Office of Suicide Prevention’s efforts beyond solely suicide prevention to include both public health intervention supports and postvention for individuals and communities affected by the aftermath of a suicide attempt.

Bill Status: Became Law 4/22/21

Expand Transition Planning for High-Risk Individuals

House Bill 21-1130 expands the community transition specialist program which provides much needed transition planning services, such as housing assistance and family supportive services, to individuals discharging from the hospital. This helps prevent rehospitalization and relapse for high-risk individuals.

Bill Status: Became Law 4/20/21


Restoring Behavioral Health Funding

Senate Bill 21-137 seeks to restore over $150 million for behavioral health programs that were cut due to COVID-19 budget impacts. The bill includes $2 million to support crisis services for children and youth and a grant program that allows counties to partner with local behavioral health providers to provide better access to services across the state.

Bill Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Support for the Peer Support Workforce

House Bill 21-1021 authorizes the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing to reimburse through Medicaid for behavioral health and substance use disorder services provided by certain eligible peers. This could help expand the behavioral health workforce and recognizes the importance of the care provided by peers.

Bill Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Expand Training for Providers

House Bill 21-1166 increases access to training for providers who work with persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral health needs. This will ensure better access to evidence-based, appropriate treatment for all Coloradans.

Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Provide Secure Transport for Individuals in Crisis

House Bill 21-1085 creates a system to provide secure transport for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis rather than relying on transportation by law enforcement or EMS. The goal is to reduce stigma around behavioral health crises and ensure that individuals are transported safely without unnecessary lights and sirens.

Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Designate 988 for Crisis Response Services in Colorado

Senate Bill 21-154 implements federal law that designates 988 as the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide rapid access to suicide prevention and mental health services.

Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Increase Access to Annual Mental Health Wellness Exams

House Bill 21-1068 requires health insurance plans to cover an annual mental health wellness exam by a qualified mental health care provider. Coverage of this exam must be comparable to an insurance plan’s coverage of a physical examination and comply with federal mental health parity laws.

Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Improve First Responder Interactions with Persons with Disabilities

House Bill 21-1122 establishes a commission to improve first responder interactions with persons with disabilities to determine if a specific curriculum for peace officers should be used to better train officers.

Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Rapid Response to Children and Youth Mental Health Needs

House Bill 21-1258 requires the Office of Behavioral Health to work with a vendor to create a web-based app for children and youth to voluntarily screen themselves for mental health needs. If needed, a child or youth can then schedule up to three mental health sessions that are paid for by state funds.

Status: Passed, Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Get Involved

PCMH aims to create a stronger, more coordinated behavioral health system through stronger, more coordinated advocacy efforts across the state. If you’d like to get involved in this work, please send us an email!
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