Governor Scott Walker Signs Mental Health Legislation to Improve, Enhance Services
Bills support crisis intervention, youth services, access to counseling and treatment, transition to workplace, and moreThursday, February 6, 2014 - Press Release
Green Bay – Governor Scott Walker signed seven bills related to mental health services today at Brown County Sophie Beaumont Building.
“Far too many Wisconsinites are in need of mental health care and because of circumstance or location, are unable to access the care they desperately need,” Governor Walker said. “These bills, which I am proud to sign today, are a huge step forward in the cause to ensure every individual living with mental illness gets the care they need. I thank the members of the Legislature for their bipartisan work on these bills.”
Assembly Bill 450 – provides grants for crisis intervention to train law enforcement and correctional officers to assist individuals who are in a mental crisis. The bill provides $250,000 to the Department of Health Services for the grants; counties and municipalities around the state will have the opportunity to apply. Representative Erik Severson (R-Osceola) and Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) authored the bill, which passed the Senate 32-0 and the Assembly 94-0; it is Act 126.
Assembly Bill 452 – directs the Department of Health Services (DHS) to administer a child psychiatric consultation program. Under this bill, primary care pediatricians will be given the proper tools to treat children with mental health needs. DHS will contract with an organization to provide consultation, referral support, second opinions on diagnoses and medication, among other services. Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) authored the bill, which passed the Senate 31-1 and the Assembly 94-0; it is Act 127.
Assembly Bill 454 – creates a primary care and psychiatry shortage grant program for physicians and psychiatrists that: graduated from a Wisconsin medical school; graduated from a Wisconsin graduate medical education training program that emphasized primary care medicine or psychiatry; already practice in an underserved region of the state; apply for the grant while participating in graduate medical training and before accepting employment as a primary care physician or psychiatrist; and do not appear on the child support lien docket, unless a payment agreement has been reached. A maximum of 12 physicians and 12 psychiatrists may receive a grant in a fiscal year. Representative Kevin Petersen (R-Waupaca) and Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) authored the bill, which passed the Senate 31-1 and the Assembly 93-0, with two paired votes. The bill is Act 128.
Assembly Bill 455 – establishes grants to counties to contract for peer-run respite centers. Respite centers are a low cost alternative to inpatient care that offer a warm bed and peer counseling with the goal of diffusing crisis situations. Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) authored the bill, which passed the Senate 32-0 and the Assembly 94-0; it is Act 129.
Assembly Bill 458 – increases access to mental health services for children in rural areas. The bill defines “telehealth” as the use of audio and video connections, over a secure internet connection, to create the same environment as conventional therapy. Using telehealth will allow providers to connect with children in need who would not otherwise have access to care. Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) authored the bill, which passed both the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote; it is Act 130.
Assembly Bill 459 – establishes an Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program in five regions in the state. The IPS program provides counseling, mentor programs, and vocational rehabilitation services. Assembly Bill 459 aligns with the Governor’s “Year of a Better Bottom Line” by assisting individuals with mental illness transition to the workplace, as a part of their recovery. Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) authored the bill, which passed the Senate 32-0 and the Assembly 94-0; it is Act 131.
Assembly Bill 460 – provides grants to counties to establish a mobile crisis program. The program will train mobile crisis teams to respond to individuals having a crisis episode. A mobile crisis team will provide greater access to people living in rural counties that do not already have access to this type of resource. Teams will help keep people stable and in the community. Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) authored the bill, which passed the Senate 32-0 and the Assembly 94-0; it is Act 132.