Governor Gianforte Makes Historic Investment To Transform State’s Behavioral Health System

“The time for kicking the can down the road is over”

Governor's Office
  • June 01 2023

HELENA, Mont. - Governor Greg Gianforte this month invested $300 million to improve the delivery of behavioral health care in Montana when he signed House Bill 872 into law. Proposed by the governor in his Budget for Montana Families, the historic investment will support needed repairs at the Montana State Hospital and expand intensive and community-based behavioral health care and developmental disabilities services across Montana.

“After decades of previous administrations applying Band-Aids and kicking the can down the road, we’re making a generational investment in our behavioral health care and developmental disabilities service delivery systems,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Instead of turning our backs on those struggling, we’re investing in hope and opportunity to get Montanans healthy. The time for kicking the can down the road is over.”

The $300 million investment represents the largest of its kind in state history.

House Bill 872, sponsored by Rep. Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork, and championed in the Senate by Sen. John Esp, R-Big Timber, was the vehicle for investment.

“Thank you to Rep. Bob Keenan and Sen. John Esp for leading this effort in the legislature,” the governor continued. “With it, we’ll expand community-based behavioral health clinics and services so that Montanans have access to the care they deserve. We’ll also improve the quality of services at the state hospital in Warm Springs and other state-run health care facilities, better ensuring the safety of patients and providers.”

Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Charlie Brereton added, “We’re extremely grateful for the ongoing support from the legislature as we embark to solve the systemic challenges faced by our state’s behavioral health and developmental disabilities service delivery systems. This is a tremendous and historic opportunity for Montana, and we’re eager to collaborate with our partners to begin this important work.”

“Working on this issue for more than 25 years, I’ve seen Montanans’ concern and compassion grow, and the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues wane. This critical investment recognizes the need to transform our behavioral health and developmental disabilities service systems, and it provides us a much-needed opportunity to support and give hope to those who need help as well as their families,” Rep. Keenan said.

Rep. Keenan added, “I appreciate the governor leading on this, making it a priority, and dedicating more than 10% of the budget surplus toward this generational investment. We must seize this incredible opportunity, and I look forward to working with DPHHS, stakeholders, and Montanans through strong public participation.”

“I’ve been waiting a long time for a real commitment to the Montana families that deal with behavioral health issues on a daily basis. I am so pleased that day has finally come. I’m proud to be a part of this long-term commitment to improving the lives of these, sometimes forgotten, Montanans,” Sen. Esp concluded.

Increasing Montanans’ access to affordable, high quality health care and improving the delivery of behavioral health care services in the state are among the governor’s top priorities.


Tags: Health Care