NC Officials Tout ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Investment in Mental Health Services

Between federal COVID relief funds and the $1.4 billion sign-on bonus North Carolina received for expanding Medicaid, state lawmakers were able to make significant investments in mental health services in the latest state budget.

Though state budget negotiations are done almost entirely behind the closed doors of the majority party in the General Assembly — currently the Republicans — health leaders in the House and Senate said they took care to listen to patients, families and providers while creating their mental health spending plan while also working closely with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley.

“Everybody saw that to make big changes was gonna take a lot of money,” Sen. Jim Burgin (R-Angier) said in an interview with NC Health News this week.

“And I think one of the attractions to Medicaid expansion for all of us was this once in a generation or maybe even once in a lifetime opportunity to say, ‘Mental health is a big deal,’” he said, explaining the significance of the federal sign-on bonus that came with Medicaid expansion, which lawmakers decided to use to invest in mental health services, reports North Carolina Health News. Read more.

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