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Recent News Related to or Impacting Behavioral Health

OWH Editorial: Contenders for Nebraska governor must demonstrate vision, leadership

Nov 4, 2021 - Editorial Staff, Omaha World Herald: Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, a mere 2.2%. It seems like great news, but the number also shouts that Nebraska has a severe labor shortage that weighs heavily on the state’s economy. Read more...

US mandates vaccines or tests for big companies by Jan. 4

Nov 4, 2021 - David Koenig, AP, Lincoln Journal Star: Tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly under government rules issued Thursday. Read more...

 

Nebraska officials criticize vaccine mandate; Ricketts says 'we will fight back'

 

GOP state officials, including in Nebraska, push back on employer vaccine mandate

Nov 4, 2021 Andrew DeMillo and Georff Mulvihill, AP, Omaha World Herald: Republican state officials reacted with swift rebukes Thursday to President Joe Biden's newly detailed mandate for private employers to require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, threatening a wave of lawsuits and other actions to thwart a requirement they see as a stark example of government overreach. Read more...

Nebraska Budget Chair expects many requests for federal cash 

Nov. 3, AP - A leading Nebraska senator who helps create the state budget said Wednesday that he’s already getting requests for how to spend the state’s share of federal pandemic relief money, and he’s expecting a lot more. Read more...

Audit raises more questions about embattled child welfare contractor in Omaha

Oct 28, 2021 - Martha Stoddard, Omaha World Herald:  A limited state audit has raised more questions about the embattled Kansas-based contractor that manages Omaha-area child welfare cases...(Read More)

Wishart says pandemic funding priorities can help shape Nebraska's future

 

 October 27, 2021 - Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star: Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln told a Lincoln Chamber of Commerce breakfast gathering Wednesday that Nebraska has an opportunity to help shape its future with strategic investment of a billion dollars in federal pandemic recovery funding...(Read More)


NABHO News and Recent Activity

2021 Interim Hearings

Though standard Legislative Hearings have wrapped up for the 2021 Session, interim hearings will take place over the course of the fall. First, the Legislature will tackle the issue of redistricting. Then, the various committees will turn to other issues of interest. NABHO will testify on a variety of resolutions in our priority areas.

October 5, 2021 - LR178

Both Annette Dubas, Executive Director of NABHO and Topher Hansen, JD, President/CEO of CenterPointe and NABHO Treasurer testified before the Appropriations Committee on LR178, introduced by Senators Wishart (LD 27), Clements (LD 2), Dorn (LE 30), Erdman (LD 47), Hilkemann (LD 4), Kolterman (LD 24), McDonnell (LD 5), Stinner (LD 48), and Vargas (LD 7) "to solicit input from Nebraskans into how funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Public Law 117-2, would best e utilized and which funds the State of Nebraska should apply for."

Download and read Topher's full testimony by clicking here.

Download and read Annette's full testimony by clicking here.

September 15, 2021 - LR143

Katie McLeese Stephenson, MSW, Executive Director of Hope Spoke and NABHO President-Elect testified before the Health and Human Services Committee on LR143, introduced by Senator Stinner (LD 48) "to examine the mental and behavioral health needs of Nebraskans, assess the current shortages of providers, services, and resources, and determine what is needed to ensure an adequate behavioral health service delivery system."

Download and read her testimony by clicking here.

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 Past Activity

2020 Interim Hearings

Public hearings are an important part of our legislative process In Nebraska, every bill is assigned to a committee and must have a public hearing. The hearing allows citizens to voice their opinions and provide insights and expertise to senators. When the Legislature is not in session, committees hold hearings on interim study resolutions (LRs) rather than bills (LBs). NABHO regularly testifies on bills and interim studies related to behavioral health.

This interim, NABHO has been watching several LRs:

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 10 a.m.

LR 445 (Stinner) – Interim study to update data and review the potential impact on the state behavioral health system by expanding access to prescribing psychologists

Annette Dubas, NABHO Executive Director testified before the Committee. If you would like to read her testimony, you can read it here.

Link not published yet

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 1:30 p.m.

LR350 (Arch) – Interim study to examine the role of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020

NABHO President, Chase Francl, testified at the hearing. His testimony noted that COVID-19 has required a rapid transition to telehealth for nearly every one of NABHO's member organizations. While telehealth has been a lifeline to keep our member organizations afloat, we have encountered significant challenges in the areas of regulation, reimbursement, and quality of care.  You can read the full testimony here.

Link to recorded hearing of LR350

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 10 a.m.

LR404 (Morfeld) – Interim study to provide continued oversight of and updates regarding the execution and administration of Medicaid expansion by the Department of Health and Human Services

Link to recorded hearing of LR404

You can find links to live hearings as well as more recordings of interim study hearings here.

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Resources

Here are some resources that may help you stay up-to-date with the state of behavioral health care and advocacy nation-wide:

Advocacy Handbook - from The National Council

Mental Health First Aid – www.TheNationalCouncil.org
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health)- www.nami.org
Mental Health American – www.mentalhealthamerica.net
National Institute of Mental Health – www.nimh.nih.gov

Advocacy and Mental Health in Nebraska

Advocacy is central to our mission, ensuring that quality behavioral health services, including substance use and mental health services, are accessible to everyone in our state.  Download this PDF for tips and tools related to becoming and effective advocate!


Suicide is a Public Health Issue

We would also like to make available to you guidelines for talking about suicide. Here is a downloadable PDF of Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide.


Looking for more?

Still looking for more information? Visit our Important Links Page or consult our list of Hotlines.