Government Merges with Boatman, Haste to Implement Mental Health Workforce Pilot Program

A new measure has been signed into law to create a pathway for funding a pilot program aimed at expanding opportunities for investment in Oklahoma’s mental health workforce. The bill, authored by Rep. Jeff Boatman, modifies the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority Behavioral Health Workforce Development Fund and establishes the University Hospitals Authority Behavioral Health Workforce Development Fund. These funds will be used to support workforce development and improve access to behavioral health professionals at facilities across the state.

Rep. Boatman expressed his satisfaction with the passage of House Bill 3449, emphasizing the importance of public universities working together with the private sector to grow the mental health workforce. Oklahoma currently faces a shortage of psychology and psychiatry professionals, and this bill is a crucial step towards addressing this issue.

State Representative Haste also commended the signing of House Bill 3449, highlighting its significance in establishing funds for innovative pilot programs that will expand access to mental health services and support the growth of the mental health workforce in Oklahoma. The bill requires both organizations to submit a report to the Legislature outlining their plans for using these funds after one year of implementation.

HB3449 was passed with an emergency clause, allowing it to take effect immediately upon being signed by Governor on May 13th. This legislation represents a positive step forward in addressing the challenges of mental health care in Oklahoma.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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