State Legislative Approaches to Reducing Behavioral Health Disparities
Event Date: 04/10/2018 03:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
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Behavioral health disparities affect populations such as racial and ethnic minorities who may face greater challenges in accessing care and receiving services that are culturally appropriate. Such disparities in behavioral health care can lead to significant human and financial costs. This webinar highlights state policy approaches to reducing those disparities.

State legislatures have adopted various policies aimed at reducing barriers to obtaining behavioral health services and at improving mental and emotional health disparities across population groups. These approaches vary across states and can focus on developing the behavioral health workforce, as well as improving coverage, service availability, affordability, and quality. To understand how state legislators address behavioral health challenges and disparities in their states, NCSL conducted an analysis of legislation introduced in 2017 related to behavioral health disparities, with guidance and support from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH).

This webinar focuses on the results of the analysis, which were recently published in a policy brief. During the 2017 legislative sessions, legislators in at least 19 states considered 74 bills related to behavioral health disparities. Presenters will: 1) Describe behavioral health issues and challenges, key barriers to care, and factors contributing to behavioral health disparities; 2) highlight state actions from the 2017 legislative sessions and identify common legislative approaches and 3) Describe emerging strategies to improve access to behavioral health providers and services.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is the national bipartisan membership organization dedicated to serving the legislatures of all states, commonwealths, and territories.

  • Kate Blackman, Program Manager, Health Program, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Margaret Wile, Policy Specialist, Health Program, National Conference of State Legislatures
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