Connect with us


Two-thirds of the crisis beds at Western Montana Mental Health Center to be eliminated



Montana – Two-thirds of the beds at one of Montana’s largest mental health providers, or 31 crisis beds, will no longer be in use. The suppliers of mental healthcare claim they cannot earn enough money to break even.

The Western Montana Mental Health Center is closing its 16 beds in Missoula and Hamilton while closing its beds in Polson, Bozeman, Kalispell, and Butte. According to CEO Levi Anderson, the company is facing difficult financial decisions in order to survive.

“The current reimbursement environment has made it such that we can no longer continue to operate those services,” Anderson said.

The state underpays Medicaid providers like Western Montana Mental Health Center by tens of millions of dollars, according to a study that lawmakers commissioned in 2021.

According to Anderson, the Western Montana Mental Health Center’s crisis stabilization program may resume full operation with an increase in provider rates. Nevertheless, he claims that will simply be a band-aid if there are no modifications made to the current fee-for-service approach used to pay providers for crisis services.

“It’s the equivalent of having a fire department only get paid or reimbursed if they respond to a structure fire,” he said.

According to information from the state health department, a subcommittee of lawmakers presented a first budget proposal last week that suggests raising provider reimbursement rates to close more than 90% of the shortfall discovered in the report.

Democrats contend that the state should cover the entire shortfall, while Republicans counter that their plan would already represent a historic investment in mental health treatment.

Other solutions to the problem that were discussed by lawmakers, such as providing immediate aid and developing a certified community behavioral health clinic program, were not successful in moving forward.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *