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Legislative & Regulatory

Analysis  |  Intentions  |  Goals

The BNC is active in both monitoring and influencing the legislative and regulatory environment at the local, state, and national level. To support the state and national levels, BNC is a proud member of both the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas (ACMHCK) and the National Council for Mental Well-being. At the local level our organizational leaders engage directly with the City and County government, school boards, and other local constituent groups to advance our mission, goals, and objectives and to align our strategy with our community.

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Legislative & Regulatory Priority Level #1


The BNC is fortunate to be in Douglas County, KS. Douglas County spends more per citizen on behavioral health services than any other County in Kansas. This includes a substantial investment by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department for a forensics team. We also receive a substantial amount of support from the City of Lawrence, KS. The BNC participates in local policy and funding priority selection in several ways, including:​

  • Participation in the Douglas County Behavioral Health Leadership Coalition,

  • Participation in the Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council,

  • Participation in the Douglas County Human Services Coalition, and

  • Direct engagement in the Douglas County annual budget process with County staff and County elected officials.

​Of note, Douglas County passed a sales tax in 2018. This quarter cent sales tax will provide an estimated $4.9 million of revenue each year to support key local behavioral and mental health initiatives, such as the operational costs of the new behavioral health campus and expanded programming for behavioral health in the County.​ Key priorities locally, as set forth in the Douglas County Community Health Plan, include:

  • ​​Behavioral Health

  • Prioritize prevention

  • Promote integration across the system of care

  • Improve access to care

  • Food security and a healthy built environment

  • Increase food security and access to healthy food

  • Increase opportunities for physical activity

  • Safe and affordable housing

  • Increase access to safe and affordable housing

  • Poverty and jobs

​The BNC supports these local priorities, and we are identified as key contributors to several strategies associated with each priority area. In 2021, our role in these local priorities includes:​

  • The development and implementation of a Mobile Response Team (MRT)

  • The development and implementation of an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team

  • The development and implementation of an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Program

  • The development and implementation of a 24-hour crisis intervention center

  • Continued expansion of school-based behavioral health services

  • Ongoing support and investment in psychiatry services

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Legislative & Regulatory Priority Level #2


At the state level, we have adopted the Public Policy Agenda of the ACMHCK. The Bert Nash Center has seen dedicated support from our state legislature over the past several years, and we hope, in partnership with the ACMHCKS, we can continue that into 2023. Our 2023 legislative and regulatory priorities, developed by the ACMHCKS, include:

  • Certification of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs).

  • Addressing the Needs of the Uninsured and Underinsured—Keeping the Promise of Mental Health Reform

  • Building Career Pathways and Supporting Workforce

  • Support for community crisis center funding 

  • Restore Inpatient Capacity

  • Medicaid expansion 

  • 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline Funding

  • Supported Housing Resources

  • Exercising Caution in Changes to Tax Policy

  • Promote Increased Collaboration and Support for CMHC-School Partnerships at the Local Level

  • Reform the Kansas Communities That Care Survey (KCTC)

  • Strong Guidance on Regulation and Prescription of Medical Marijuana

  • Support HB 2259 relating to mental health medications; providing that certain medications be available without prior authorization to treat Medicaid patients; abolishing the mental health medication advisory committee

  • Oppose efforts that could destabilize the public mental health system

Legislative & Regulatory Priority Level #3


Nationally, we are supported by the National Council on Mental Wellbeing and through our state Association, ACMHCK. We believe that there are several key opportunities to move forward federal legislation and initiatives that would support the BNC and our strategic plan goals. As laid out by the National Council on Mental Wellbeing, these include:

  • Strengthen the mental health and substance use workforce

  • Bolster substance use disorders prevention, care, and recovery

  • Protect and grow funding for mental health awareness training programs

  • Increase equitable access to high-quality services through CCBHCs

  • Promote comprehensive 988 implementation

  • Elevate initiatives impacting justice involved populations

  • Support mental health and substance use disorder parity

  • Expand access to telehealth

  • Support youth and maternal mental health and substance use prevention and treatment

  • Address social determinants of health

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