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Gov. Bill lee and Tenn. General Assembly expand Behavioral Health Safety Net eligibility

Monday, July 01, 2019 | 09:33am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—More Tennesseans are now eligible for free mental health services through the state’s Behavioral Health Safety Net program.  New, broader eligibility criteria take effect today (July 1, 2019) increasing the number of uninsured, underinsured, and indigent people who can receive services through the program.

Governor Bill Lee proposed and the Tennessee General Assembly approved $5 million in new state funding to provide safety net services to about 7,000 more Tennesseans.  As a result, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services was able to expand eligibility by widening the program’s income criteria from 100% of Federal Poverty Level to 138% FPL.

“I’m so grateful to the governor and state lawmakers for expanding this impactful program,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “Mental health safety net services are an essential bridge to better mental health, and we know they reduce the need for costly inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.  With our partner providers across the state, this program enables Tennesseans to get the treatment they need and return to their lives.”

Since the program began in 2005, more than 168,000 individuals have received services through the safety net.  In recent years, the Behavioral Health Safety Net has served about 32,000 Tennesseans annually.

The Behavioral Health Safety Net provides essential mental health services including assessment and evaluation, case management, medication management, psychosocial rehabilitation, therapeutic interventions, and transportation to appointments.

Behavioral Health Safety Net services are provided through contracted community mental health centers at 146 office locations across Tennessee.  For more information on the Behavioral Health Safety Net, visit this link, or click the flyer below.

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