Senate Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen
SANTA FE – A committee substitute for Senate Bill 566 (SB 566), which aims to create behavioral health “investment zones” in the state and to prioritize those zones for behavioral health services not covered by Medicaid, has passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee (SPAC).
The bill is co-sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen, D-Doña Ana and Sen. George Munoz, D-Cibola, McKinley and San Juan.
According to the bill, the Interagency Behavioral Health Purchasing Collaborative, consisting of several state agencies, will create the investment zones based on data of combined incidence of mortality rates due to alcohol use, drug overdose and suicide.
Sen. George Munoz
Once that data is compiled, zones will be categorized by a three-tier ranking system.
“Tier one” investment zones are assigned the highest priority for the funding of behavioral health services; lower investment zones are assigned “tier two”; and the lowest investment zones are assigned to a “tier three.”
“This bill will help us recognize those areas in the state in most need of these funds. We must come up with measures to help our most vulnerable New Mexicans; this bill will re-direct non-Medicaid dollars to focus on and prioritize zones with high-risk populations,” Papen said.
“New Mexico has some astoundingly high statistics when it comes to alcohol and drug abuse, as well as suicide rates. In my own district, there are particularly high rates of alcohol-related deaths and I have been taking several steps to find concrete solutions to help my constituents. I believe this bill proposes the needed steps to take care of our communities efficiently,” Munoz said.
Munoz withdrew a similar bill (SB 522) Tuesday in favor of SB 566. If SB 566 passes, it will take effect July 1, 2016.