Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

Behavioral Health Recovery Act

Concerning the "Behavioral Health Recovery Act of 2021", and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2021 Regular Session
Human Services
Bill Summary

The act continues the requirement that an opioid prescriber must adhere to the limitations on prescribing opioids.

The act continues the funding for the medication-assisted treatment expansion pilot program for the 2020-21 fiscal year and each year thereafter.

The act creates the regional health connector workforce program in the University of Colorado School of Medicine to educate health-care providers on evidence-based and evidence-informed therapies and techniques; provide support and assistance to primary care providers as a link between multiple services to improve community health; assist primary care practices and community agencies in connecting patients with mental health or substance use disorders to support and treatment options; educate health-care providers; and provide clear information to providers and community members about COVID-19.

The act expands the Colorado State University AgrAbility project (project) by providing funding for the project's rural rehabilitation specialists to provide information, services, and research-based, stress-assistance information, education, suicide prevention training, and referrals to behavioral health-care services to farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and their families to mitigate incidences of harmful responses to stress experienced by these individuals.

The act continuously appropriates money to the harm reduction grant program.

No later than July 1, 2023, the department of health care policy and financing (HCPF) shall contract with one or more independent review organizations to conduct external reviews requested for review by a medicaid provider when there is a denial or reduction for residential or inpatient substance use disorder treatment and medicaid appeals have been exhausted.

No later than October 1, 2021, HCPF shall consult with the office of behavioral health (OBH), residential treatment providers, and managed care entities (MCE) to develop standardized utilization management processes to determine medical necessity for residential and inpatient substance use disorder treatment, which processes must be incorporated into existing MCE contracts no later than January 1, 2022.

No later than July 1, 2022, HCPF shall contract with an independent third-party vendor to audit 33% of all denials of authorization for inpatient and residential substance use disorder treatment for each MCE.

The act requires the state medical assistance program (medicaid) to include screening for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders for the caregiver of each child enrolled in medicaid in accordance with the health resources and services administration guidelines. The screening must be made available to any caregiver, regardless of whether the caregiver is enrolled in medicaid, so long as the caregiver's child is enrolled in medicaid.

No later than July 1, 2023, the Colorado department of human services (CDHS) shall develop a statewide data collection and information system to analyze implementation data and selected outcomes to identify areas for improvement, promote accountability, and provide insights to continually improve child and program outcomes.

The act requires CDHS, in collaboration with the department of agriculture, to contract with a nonprofit organization primarily focused on serving agricultural and rural communities in Colorado to provide vouchers to individuals living in rural and frontier communities in need of behavioral health-care services.

The act creates the county-based behavioral health grant program in OBH to provide matching grants to county departments of human or social services for the expansion or improvement of local or regional behavioral health disorder treatment programs. The grant program repeals July 1, 2023.

The act creates the behavioral health-care workforce development program in OBH to increase the behavioral health-care workforce's ability to treat individuals, including youth, with severe behavioral health disorders.

No later than August 1, 2021, CDHS shall develop a program to provide emergency resources to licensed providers to help remove barriers such providers face in serving children and youth whose behavioral or mental health needs require services and treatment in a residential child care facility.

The act requires CDHS, in collaboration with HCPF, to develop a statewide care coordination infrastructure to drive accountability and more effective behavioral health navigation to care that builds upon and collaborates with existing care coordination services.

The act requires the center for research into substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery support strategies to engage in community engagement activities to address substance use prevention, harm reduction, criminal justice response, treatment, and recovery.

The act continues the building substance use disorder treatment capacity in underserved communities grant program indefinitely.

The act requires the perinatal substance use data linkage project to utilize data from multiple state-administered data sources when examining certain issues related to pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders and their infants.

No later than January 1, 2022, OBH shall use a competitive selection process to select a recovery residence certifying body to certify recovery residences and educate and train recovery residence owners and staff on industry best practices.

The act requires OBH to establish a program to provide temporary financial housing assistance to individuals with a substance use disorder who have no supportive housing options when the individual is transitioning out of a residential treatment setting and into recovery or receiving treatment for the individual's substance use disorder.

The act creates the recovery support services grant program for the purpose of providing recovery-oriented services to individuals with a substance use disorder or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder.

The act removes the requirement that the office of ombudsman for behavioral health access to care (office) enter into a memorandum of understanding with CDHS and subjects the office to state personnel and fiscal rules.

The act continues the appropriation to the maternal and child health pilot program indefinitely.

The act continues the program to increase public awareness concerning the safe use, storage, and disposal of opioids and the availability of naloxone and other drugs used to block the effects of an opioid overdose.

The act requires a correctional facility or private contract prison to offer a person in custody, upon release from the facility, at least 2 doses of an opioid reversal medication and education about the appropriate use of the medication.

The act removes municipal, county, or fire program district fire stations from the definition of "safe station" as it relates to the disposal of controlled substances.

The act requires the opioid and other substance use disorders study committee to meet in the 2022 interim rather than the 2021 interim.

The act requires the university of Colorado school of medicine to provide practice consultation services and stipends to health-care providers who are eligible to provide medication for opioid use disorder.

The act creates the behavioral and mental health cash fund which consists of $550 million the state received from the federal "American Rescue Plan Act". The act requires the executive committee of the legislative council to create a task force to meet during the 2021 interim and issue a report with recommendations to the general assembly and governor on policies to create transformational change in the area of behavioral health.

The act appropriates additional one-time money to the Colorado health service corps fund from the money received from the federal "American Rescue Plan Act".

The act adds services for families with behavioral health needs as an allowable use for the high-risk families cash fund.

The act continues the harm reduction grant program and the maternal and child health pilot program indefinitely.

The act appropriates state money and money received by the "American Rescue Plan Act" to various state departments for certain behavioral health-related programs.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

Colorado legislature email addresses ending in are no longer active. Please replace with for Colorado legislature email addresses. Details

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details