Senate Health & Human Services Committee – SB 26
SUMMARY – On March 22, Meadows Institute President & CEO Andy Keller, PhD, provided invited testimony before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee in favor of SB 26. SB 26, by Senator Lois Kolkhorst, would create a first-of-its-kind innovation grant program to fund community-based mental health initiatives for children and families and would help transition long-term residents in state hospital beds back into the community.
Andy Keller was one of only two witnesses invited to share perspectives on SB 26, a priority bill for Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
The bill aims to expand mental health capacity, particularly for children and adolescents, by creating an “innovation grant” program. This program would support community-based initiatives that promote earlier identification of mental health needs and improved access to treatment for children and families.
Andy praised the innovation grants as a way to fully harness a community’s talent pool by including all potential grant-eligible entities to bring innovative, effective programs to help address the state’s mental health crisis.
SB 26 would also help address the issue of long-term residents occupying state hospital beds. The bill provides for discharge planning to ensure patients are successfully transitioned to another care facility or back into the community, if medically appropriate.
Chair Kolkhorst told the committee that SB 26 was her “favorite bill this session.” The bill was left pending in committee and will be taken up for a vote at a later date.