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UPDATE: Walker signs 7 mental health bills

UPDATED Thursday, February 6, 2014 --- 2:26 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed seven bills into law that are designed to improve mental health services in Wisconsin.

The bills found nearly unanimous support in the Legislature. Walker signed them on Thursday in Green Bay.

Walker says he was proud to sign the bills, which he called "a huge step forward in the cause to ensure every individual living with mental illness gets the care they need."

The bills would spend $4 million by mid-2015 on attracting psychiatrists to underserved areas, creating a consultation hotline to help treat children and teenagers, help those with mental illness find jobs and create mobile crisis teams to treat serious mental illness.

The bills grew out of a special task force created by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 22, 2014 --- 3:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Senate has passed a dozen bills designed to improve mental health services in Wisconsin.

The measures passed with bipartisan support Wednesday now head to Gov. Scott Walker. All of the measures cleared the Assembly unanimously in November.

The proposals grew out of recommendations from a legislative task force that studied mental health services in the state.

One bill would provide $250,000 to create teams to serve people having mental health crises. Another devotes $1 million to create a hotline that psychiatrists treating children and teenagers with mental health issues could use for consultation.

A third would make $1.5 million in tax-deductible grants to encourage psychiatrists and primary care physicians to practice in underserved areas.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 22, 2014 --- 1:17 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A series of proposals designed to improve mental health services in Wisconsin could be headed to Gov. Scott Walker soon.

The Wisconsin state Senate is scheduled to vote on the bills Wednesday. They all cleared the Assembly unanimously in November.

The proposals grew out of recommendations from a legislative task force that studied mental health services in the state.

One bill would provide $250,000 to create teams to serve people having mental health crises. Another devotes $1 million to create a hotline that psychiatrists treating children and teenagers with mental health issues could use for consultation.

A third would make $1.5 million in tax-deductible grants to encourage psychiatrists and primary care physicians to practice in underserved areas.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 8, 2014 --- 12:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Legislature's budget committee has passed seven bipartisan proposals designed to improve mental health services in Wisconsin.

The measures have all passed the Assembly unanimously. Action by the Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday was needed before the Senate takes them up, perhaps as early as next week.

The bills grew out of recommendations from a mental health task force formed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in reaction to mass shootings in Wisconsin and nationwide.

The proposals approved would increase services for people with mental illness. That includes creating "crisis teams" in rural areas with few mental health services and providing $1.5 million in tax-deductible grants to encourage psychiatrists and primary care physicians to practice in underserved areas.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 8, 2014 ---- 5:30 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Seven bipartisan proposals designed to improve mental health services in Wisconsin are scheduled to be approved by the Legislature's budget committee.

The measures have all passed the Assembly unanimously. Action by the Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday is needed before the Senate takes them up, perhaps as early as next week.

The bills grew out of recommendations from a mental health task force formed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in reaction to mass shootings both in Wisconsin and nationwide.

The proposals up for a vote would increase services for people with mental illness, including $250,000 to train law enforcement officials, $1.5 million in tax-deductible grants to encourage psychiatrists and primary care physicians to practice in under served areas and creating "crisis teams" in rural areas with few mental health services.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 12, 2013 --- 3:44 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would expand Medicaid coverage for mental health treatment.

The measure would allow an emotionally disturbed child to access in-home therapy without having to show a failure to succeed in outpatient therapy; allow families to participate in in-home therapy even if a child in that family is enrolled in a day treatment program; and allow Medicaid reimbursement for mental health service providers who work with patients through interactive video and audio links.

The bill came out of recommendations from a mental health task force Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appointed.

The Assembly passed the proposal on a voice vote Tuesday. It goes next to the state Senate.

Copyright Associated Press 2013

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 12, 2013 --- 3:23 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would create grants to encourage doctors and psychiatrists to practice in underserved areas.

The bill would lay out $1.5 million in fiscal year 2014-15. The Higher Educational Aids Board would award $750,000 to 12 doctors and $750,000 to 12 psychiatrists who work in an underserved area for at least a year. The providers would be free to use the money for whatever they like.

The bill came out of a series of recommendations from a mental health task force Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appointed.

The Assembly passed the bill 93-0 on Tuesday. It goes next to the state Senate.

Copyright Associated Press 2013

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a bill that would pump more money into the state's efforts to create respite centers for people struggling with mental health problems or drug abuse.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget laid out $1.34 million for the centers, which offer short-term stays and are staffed by people who have grappled with mental health or drug abuse issues themselves. The Republican-authored bill would add $250,000 more to that allotment.

The proposal is part of a package of mental health bills Assembly Republicans are pushing through the Legislature.

The Assembly passed the measure 94-0 on Tuesday. The bill goes next to the state Senate.

Copyright Associated Press 2013

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a bill that would create grants for police and prison guards to form mental health intervention teams.

The bill would lay out $250,000 in grants every two years to train police and correctional officer crisis teams that could deal with mentally ill people or inmates.

The measure comes out of a series of recommendations from a mental health task force Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appointed.

The Assembly passed the bill 94-0 on Tuesday. It goes next to the state Senate.

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Posted Wednesday, October 9, 2013 --- 1:38 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says bipartisan recommendations for improving Wisconsin's mental health laws will be taken up by the Assembly in November.

Vos on Wednesday accepted final recommendations of a task force he created to study mental health laws. Four bills have already been introduced in the Legislature and task force co-chair Rep. Erik Severson says there could be 10 or more coming.

There is no overall cost of the recommendations yet, but Vos says he's hopeful the ideas will find broad support in the Legislature and with Gov. Scott Walker.

Some of the recommendations include giving mental health professionals, not just police officers, the authority to send people into emergency detentions and creating a way for families and other interested parties to request that counties begin an emergency detention.

Copyright Associated Press 2013


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