Bozeman Health is a nonprofit tax exempt hospital and is required to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years to identify major health problems and gaps in services. In 2020, the CHNA again identified mental health as the number one priority health need locally. The lack of inpatient psychiatric care at the hospital is a crucial missing link in
providing continuity of care options for those in need. It is time for Bozeman Health to develop a plan and timeline for meeting this critical need in our community.
Over the years, the League of Women Voters of the Bozeman Area has paid attention to the community conversation about mental health care services in Bozeman. We have had members of the health care community, the sheriff ’s department, and administrators from Hope House and from Bozeman Health talk to us about the services they provide and the problems they encounter in helping Gallatin County residents experiencing mental health problems.
A constant in these discussions is the lack of in-patient psychiatric care at our local hospital and the stress this creates for patients, families, health care providers and law enforcement when these patients have to be hospitalized in another city in order to get the care they need.
The League of Women Voters develops public policy positions after extensive study of the issues and uses these policy positions to advocate for change at the national, state and local level. The LWV believes that care for the brain and mind should be integrated into and given parity with the physical health care system. This includes access to affordable, quality, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care for children and adults here in our community. No one should suffer or lose a life for lack of this care at Bozeman Health.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letter to the Editor 4/15/21