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Summary: HB 39 extends a local behavioral health intervention pilot project in Bexar County until September 1, 2023, and requires the local mental health authority to submit a report to the Department of State Health Services no later than December 1, of each even numbered year.
The Bexar County local behavioral health intervention pilot project, or Bexar Cares, diverts children at risk of placement in an alternative setting for behavior management to a system of care, including behavioral health treatment placement. Bexar Cares’ goal is to eliminate barriers to information and resource sharing to coordinate health care for those children, who are often economically disadvantaged or dealing with drug and alcohol abuse or teen pregnancy.
Analysis: This pilot program has demonstrated promising results in the four years it has been running. However, more time is required to gather enough data to provide a solid basis for projecting long term success of the program. To this end HB 39 prolongs Bexar Cares for an additional ten years. This program has the potential to save taxpayer dollars by using early intervention to redirect people who might otherwise end up incarcerated. The program makes government agencies more efficient and effective by sharing information and resources to coordinate health care for children and keeping them out of more costly alternative settings. Vote “yes,” on HB 39.