News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Wilson
For Immediate Release: August 06, 2018

New Alaska Law Improves Behavioral Healthcare, Saves Money

Wilson_stamp.jpgSenator David Wilson   Web Site    Send Email

ANCHORAGE – Today, a bill to increase Alaskans’ access to affordable behavioral healthcare and save state dollars was signed into law. 

SB 105, sponsored by Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla), adds licensed marital and family therapists to the list of independent licensed practitioners in Alaska to address the shortage of Medicaid-eligible behavior health care providers.

The bill expands behavioral health treatment options for Medicaid clients in a clinical setting as opposed to a crisis emergency room setting. Treating Medicaid patients in a clinical setting is much less costly than what the state currently pays for emergency room visits. Expanded treatment options should reduce the cost of the state’s Medicaid program.   

“SB 105 will increase the number of behavioral health providers in Alaska, give more affordable options to patients, and improve behavioral healthcare,” said Sen. Wilson.

Behavioral health therapy treatment addresses a patient’s mental health disorders, including substance abuse, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders, anger issues, and other conditions.

Currently, licensed marital and family therapists are only allowed to provide services in community health clinics or physician mental health clinics, which limits the number of willing providers. SB 105 expands medical assistance reimbursement services to cover those services provided by independent marital and family therapists directly.

The bill received the support of the Alaska Board of Marital and Family Therapy, the Mat-Su Health Foundation, the Primary Care Association, and emergency room physicians.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 269-0147.


Share this on Twitter Tweet icon-facebook.png Share

News & Videos more >

Senator Chris Birch

Chris Birch, Senator, Engineer & Grandfather, Passes Away at 68

JUNEAU – Anchorage Senator Chris Birch passed away on Wednesday. He was 68 years old.  Full Story >>

Majority Press Office

Senate Restores Critical Programs, Provides for Sustainable PFD

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today voted to restore funding for programs critical to Alaskans and provide for a sustainable Permanent Fund dividend amount.  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Governor’s Call Amended to Include Capital Budget

Today, Governor Mike Dunleavy amended his call for the Second Special Session to include the unfinished capital budget appropriations bill and to change the session location from...  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Legislative Leaders Act With a Sense of Urgency as Veto Overrides Fail

This week, the clock ran out on the Alaska Legislature's constitutional opportunity to reject Gov. Mike Dunleavy's $444 million in budget vetoes through an override vote supported by...  Full Story >>

Majority Press Office

Alaska Legislature to hold veto override session on Wednesday

Joint floor session scheduled for 11:30a.m. in the Alaska State Capitol  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Statement from Alaska Senate President on Governor’s Vetoes

ANCHORAGE – Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, today released the following statement on Governor Mike Dunleavy’s announced vetoes to the state’s operating budget....  Full Story >>

Majority Press Office

Legislature to Meet in Juneau, Hold Most Meetings in Anchorage

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature announced today it will convene in Juneau on July 8th for the 2nd special session, with the majority of meetings to be held in Anchorage....  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Senate President Giessel Statement on End of First Special Session

JUNEAU – Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, today released the following statement on the conclusion of the first special session of the 31st Alaska Legislature....  Full Story >>

Senator Gary Stevens

Sen. Gary Stevens Comments on Release of $20 Million Grant to Schools

JUNEAU – With about three weeks remaining in the 2019 fiscal year, the Dunleavy administration this week distributed a one-time $20 million grant appropriated last year by the Alaska...  Full Story >>

Majority Press Office

Legislature Delivers Smallest Budget in 15 Years

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today voted unanimously for the smallest operating budget in 15 years, resulting in a $600 million surplus.  Full Story >>

Find your Senator full map