ISMA, General Assembly Advocate for Behavioral and Mental Health Improvements

Amid growing concern about Hoosiers’ behavioral and mental health, the 2023 legislative session provided a platform for the Indiana General Assembly to make meaningful changes. The General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 1 (Behavioral health matters) in the final days of the session, with the Indiana State Medical Association and numerous other stakeholder groups rallying around the bill in support of its passage. 

SEA 1 permits the secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to apply to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for additional reimbursement for services or participation in programs related to behavioral health. FSSA will be able to apply to HHS for a Medicaid state plan amendment, a waiver, or an amendment to an existing waiver to require reimbursement for eligible certified community behavioral health clinic services. Additionally, FSSA will be able to apply to HHS to participate in the expansion of a community mental health services demonstration program.

SEA 1 also creates additional requirements for the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) to establish and maintain a helpline to provide Hoosiers with specific behavioral health resources. The confidential and toll-free helpline will give callers referrals to behavioral health resources. SEA 1 establishes the Indiana Behavioral Health Commission, which will further support the state’s efforts to address the behavioral health needs of Hoosiers. Finally, SEA 1 renames the current "988 Crisis Hotline Center" to the "988 Crisis Response Center."

House Enrolled Act 1001 (State budget) appropriates $50 million annually for SEA 1, $10 million for regional mental health facility grants to support a regional approach to mental health services for incarcerated individuals, and an additional $1 million each year for child behavioral health services.

SEA 1 was authored by Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) and sponsored in the House by Rep. Ann Vermilion (R-Marion). Sen. Crider and Rep. Vermilion are longstanding advocates for mental and behavioral health matters in their respective chambers. The bill had 18 additional coauthors from both parties in the Senate and 60 co-sponsors across both parties in the House. 

In short, SEA 1 was a significant bipartisan effort, given the bill’s numerous coauthors and cosponsors in both chambers.

ISMA is grateful to the General Assembly and the numerous legislators that supported SEA 1 and is also proud that it was able to advocate for this landmark piece of legislation that will positively impact Hoosier patients.

Additional resources

Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction >>

FSSA Mental Health Services >>

SEA 1 full text >>

HEA 1001 (budget) full text >>

988 Indiana >>

988 resource card >>

Indiana Behavioral Health Commission >>