The Behavioral Health Advisory Committee, within the Health and Human Services Commission, met on August 5, 2022, to discuss a number of agenda items. An agenda of the meeting can be found here. A recorded video of the meeting, when it is posted, can be found here.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.

Item 3: New chair updates

  • Committee’s annual report must be approved by November 4
  • Report will consist of two years of data and recommendations
  • Chair and members discuss approving bylaws, report, and new membership at the next meeting in November
  • HHSC has been reviewing subcommittee reports and approving them
  • Chair and members engage in conversation about discussion during subcommittee meetings and approving subcommittee reports

Item 4: Subcommittee updates

Access to Care & Community Engagement

  • No updates
  • Members engage in discussion about becoming involved in subcommittees

Children & Youth Behavioral Health

  • No updates
  • Next meeting will be October 12, will have updates at November meeting


  • Recommends HHSC funds a housing coordinator at each local mental health authority across the state, LMHA is contractually obligated to provide a housing authority
  • Housing Coordinator will help those in need with housing, especially the unhoused, develop relationships with existing public housing authorities
  • Will have programs with landlords who would accept tenants with prior justice involvement
  • Member – Have you looked at potential funding source ideas?
    • There are many options, including mental health grants, CMS funding, or general revenue, this is up to HHSC leadership on where they want to go
  • Funding should be put in the recommendations, will be edited
  • Recommends increasing funding to the supportive housing rental assistance (SHR), eviction rates have been skyrocketing due to pandemic and inflation
  • Member – What was used to estimate the cost increase for the SHR fund?
    • Only looked at direct housing costs, inflation was not factored in
  • Members engage in discussion about the causes of homelessness and the high cost of the housing market

Peer Specialist & Family Partner Services

  • HHSC has been a great partner, looking into communication between peer specialists and family partners, also looking into interaction between peer family partners and children behavior specialists
  • Topic nomination for family partners has been accepted and moving through the system
  • Topic nomination for changing age of individuals able to receive services is also moving through the system, age from 21 to 16
  • Supervisory curriculum for peer workforce is in process of being approved by state
  • President Biden has brought up the idea of having a national peers certification, have recommended for federal government to create guidelines and requirements for states to develop peer services programs
  • Member – For changing the age, are you referring to the peer providing services or the recipient?
    • Age of recipient, peer specialist must be 18 years of age
  • Members discuss the process for bringing a topic nomination before the Committee

Policy and Rules

  • Reviewed BHAC rule relating to composition and charge of committee, closed to public comment, soon to be adopted
  • Looking into making changes on quorum requirements for BHAC
  • Discussed CCHB rule, found current rulemaking procedure at HHSC does not lend itself to subcommittees, in discussion with HHSC for how to involve stakeholders more during the open comment period
  • Recommend Policy and Rules subcommittee to become an ad hoc committee

Motion to approve draft recommendations brought forth by the Housing Subcommittee, with corrections discussed at today’s meeting regarding funding; passes

Item 5: HHSC updates

Behavioral Health Services

  • Agency has begun discussion for LAR for 88th legislative session, will be released in the fall
  • Continue to invest and advance coordinated specialty care with increase in funding due to budget execution order by Governor
  • Had funding set aside to do an assessment with the behavior health needs in the Uvalde community, working on this right now to develop any legislative solutions
  • Texas Housing Support Line, continue to support this service and expand access
  • 988 replacing the national suicide hotline, easily recognizable and will improve access, soft launch was July 16, working to get in-state answer rate higher to 90%, covers all 254 counties in the state
  • Members discuss the implementation of the 988 national suicide hotline
  • Member – Can you clarify the 90% capacity?
    • The 90% threshold is the goal for the in-state answer rate in Texas
  • Substance abuse team is taking a more upstream approach, focusing on more community and environmental conditions that contribute to substance abuse
  • Staff provides an overview of establishing a more upstream approach for substance abuse, requires intentional focus, socio-ecological model with strategic prevention framework
  • Office of Mental Health Coordination and Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council
  • Staff provides updates from the Suicide Prevention Team, developed messaging and flyers on suicide prevention, newsletter, webinar series
  • Working on community mapping and other outreach techniques
  • Member – Seems like much of your efforts are similar with other HHSC workgroups and teams, is their coordination?
    • Work closely with coordinators with mental health first aid
  • Member – Postvention, can you explain this term?
    • What you do after a suicide death or attempt happens, bring in a loss team (team made up of mental health professionals) to support family
  • Member – What suicide services are available for IDD individuals?
    • Depends on capacity of LMHA, can compile a list and get back to you
  • Staff provides update for statewide opioid coordination efforts, developed a statewide opioid report card for 2022, focus on funding received and services being provided across the state with hard numbers and statistics, plan is to update report card every year with new funding recipients
  • Opioid Settlement and Texas Abatement Council was formed last session by SB 1827, in February 2022 the AG has secured $1.8B in funding that will start coming into the state, council has been fully appointed and is overseeing settlement money coming into the state, council will meet for the first time this month in an open meeting
  • New strategic plan for Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council will be required to add subplan with specific strategies to address substance use conditions, also to include subplan focused on strategies to keep people out of the justice pipeline

Item 6: Public comment

  • One written public comment was received and will be provided to all members

Item 7: Review of action items and agenda items for next meeting

  • Opioid Abatement Council will be meeting next week on August 9
  • Currently working on annual report, will include two state fiscal years, FY 21-22
  • Next meeting will be November 4, 2022
    • Will be a big meeting, will be discussing the report and changes to committee structure

Chair adjourns meeting subject to call of the chair