Behavioral Health System of Care Act of 2014 (B20-676)

Across the country and in the District, there is a shortage of mental health professionals, which results in long wait times and too many children not getting mental health care until they are in a crisis. Yet, there are many basic mental health issues that pediatric providers can effectively identify and address in primary care settings – with the right support.

The Behavioral Health System of Care Act of 2014 expands mental health access for children through the District’s extensive pediatric primary care network. It increases pediatricians’ ability to identify and manage basic mental health issues among their patients. It also ensures that children who need to see mental health specialists are quickly and appropriately linked to the proper clinicians and services.

To achieve this, the bill requires the DC Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) to establish a Behavioral Health Access Project to provide timely mental health consultations to pediatric primary care providers. The legislation allows DBH to contract with a non-profit organization to carry out the functions of the Project.