Counties Oppose Licensing Fees for Local Behavioral Health Programs

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified on February 18, 2020 to oppose SB 522 – Behavioral Health Programs – Licensing and Fees. This bill would establish a framework for licensing and renewals fees for behavioral health programs, including $1,000 for an initial license, $750 for a renewal, and $250 for a license change. Counties are concerned that the proposed fees, that can be even higher for programs that serve more people, could unintentionally end up hurting the behavioral health programs it seeks to help.

From MACo Testimony:

Local health departments and nonprofit community providers largely serve low-income populations. The licensing fees would be a substantial strain on their programs and may lead to cuts or reductions on the services they provide. There is already a shortage of providers in rural areas that an imposition of additional licensing fees may exacerbate.

Additionally, as some local health departments also operate behavioral health programs, counties are concerned that these local health departments would be forced into an untenable position as being the funding source of grants they are expected to receive to enhance their programs. Local health departments are also not structured to function as grant administrators and would incur additional costs to monitor and administer the grants. It would be an inefficient use of already limited resources.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.

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