SECTION 1. Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding after Section 44 the following new section:-
Section 45. There shall be a Behavioral Health Workforce Center of Excellence, herein referred to as the Center, to gather data and research to advise policy leaders on how to address the current crisis in behavioral health workforce across the Commonwealth.
The commissioner shall establish said Center at the state college or university he or she deems most appropriate to fulfill this role.
The Center shall:
(a)Engage a diverse, cross discipline group of stakeholders to address the needs of the field in studying the current landscape, mapping or building clear career ladders, and identifying and addressing training needs.
(b)Annually inventory the professional license and certifications available for those who work in the mental health and addiction treatment field, including but not limited to, the number of licensed and certified individuals in the state, the academic and supervisory requirements to achieve each certification, the scope of practice of each license, the academic programs available in the state and the cost of these programs.
(c)Annually create aggregate demographic and geographic profiles of the current field of practitioners.
(d)Annually inventory the number of professional and paraprofessional practitioners delivering direct clinical or recovery services, including practitioner acceptance of insurance.
(e)Work with the Advisory Committee to annually inventory the workforce needs in the behavioral health system to establish the gaps that exist by professional license and certificate, and practice setting.
(f)Inventory the number of individuals with professional licenses and/or certifications who no longer practice behavioral health in third-party reimbursable settings.
(g)Examine any regulatory changes recommended by licensing and registration bodies at the Division of Professional Licensure and the Department of Public Health and offer public, written assessment to these entities during the regulatory process that includes the effect of these requirements on the existing workforce and the future workforce pipeline.
(h)Examine existing training funds across state and federal agencies, including but not limited to Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), Commonwealth Corporation, the Executive Office of Education, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and its constituent agencies and make recommendations on ways to leverage funding and resources to focus on existing and needed training programs for the field.
(i)Work with existing education and training programs on curriculum improvements focused on best practices in the current behavioral health landscape and coordinate these needs with state purchasing agencies to better align educational institutions with needs in the field.
(j)Establish an advisory committee, cochaired by an appointee from the Division of Higher Education and a representative of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, and including, but not limited to, representation from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, NAMI Massachusetts, Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery, Parent Professional Advocacy League, Massachusetts Association for Behavioral Health Systems, National Association of Social Workers – Massachusetts, Massachusetts Psychological Association, Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association and the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health to meet regularly and discuss the state of behavioral health workforce in Massachusetts.
(k)Create and fund a technical assistance center that funds special projects and assistance for value-based purchasing and care preparation and behavioral health and primary care integration.
(l)Examine other matters deemed appropriate by the Center.
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