Mental health in Gallatin County could be impacted by Medicaid expansion plan

Posted at 3:51 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 18:24:57-05

BOZEMAN – The Community Health Assessment for Gallatin County, put together by the Health Department, identifies 6,400 people who receive medical insurance through Medicaid expansion in Gallatin County.

If Medicaid expansion doesn’t get extended, the health of the community could be impacted in more than one way.

Of those 6,400 people, 2,000 of them access outpatient mental health services in Gallatin County.

“As a health system and as a community, we really recognize that we need to do more to address the need around behavioral health, System Manager of Community Health Improvement and Partnerships at Bozeman Health, Christopher Coburn said.

If those people lose their insurance once the final decision is made by the legislature, it won’t only be their physical health that’s impacted.

Coburn said, “what I see a lot is when people lose health insurance access they don’t engage in healthy behaviors as in going to the doctor, going to the counselor, talking to a psychologist. So we know if people lose their access to health insurance that means they won’t have as much access or access at all to any sort of behavioral health options.”

Bozeman Health, Gallatin County Health Department and several other organizations across the valley work together daily to address behavioral health problems in our community.

“And I think when you’re looking at a state and a country with I would say limited mental health policy, there’s little guidance as to what states should be doing you have to really lean on what can be done based on the resources you have and the people that want to get together and solve the problem. I think that collaboration especially in communities like Bozeman and Gallatin County, it’s crucial,” Coburn said.

If you would like to see the entire health assessment for Gallatin County you can find it here.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News