Wyoming Clubhouses are now eligible for Medicaid Reimbursement
On February 26th, Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill that allows Clubhouses in Wyoming to enter into contracts with the Department of Health for Medicaid reimbursements, beginning April of 2020. The bill was overwhelmingly supported, passing the House 59 to 1 and Senate 28 to 2.
To build support for the bill, the Iris Clubhouse sponsored a Mental Health Awareness even last August. Our members cooked dinner and we invited our legislative delegation. We had brief presentations from our County Attorney, the CEO of our psychiatric hospital, the Clinical Director of our community mental health provider, NAMI Wyoming's executive director, and the clubhouse. The legislators were given packets of statistics about mental health and personal contact information so that if they had questions during the legislative session they could reach out to any of us. They were very grateful to have the information and wanted to help.
From that meeting a Clubhouse legislative advisory committee was organized. There are two House Representatives, one Senator, a lobbyist and two Clubhouse board members in that group. We met in December and copied a Kansas Medicaid reimbursement bill and sent it to the Legislative Service Office to format it for Wyoming. We had a well respected, moderate Republican Representative, Pat Sweeney sponsor the bill and was assigned to the House Revenue committee. We lobbied the legislators, emphasizing the Clubhouse model as an evidenced based practice to reduce hospitalizations that will save the State money.
Our initial goal was to just get the bill introduced into a committee so we could start conversations about Clubhouse, and we were expecting this would be a multi year project. But as the days went by our bill kept gaining more and more momentum. Today, our Legislature is very interested in seeing more clubhouses in our state. And we are looking forward to working on that!
At the bill signing ceremony, our members met and spoke with the Governor, and were given pens as a momento to remember the occasion. Later, they were introduced to the floor of the House of Representatives where they received a standing ovation.
Pictured here at the signing ceremony, left to right: Clubhouse members Tresi Sausa, Patricio Flavo, Bear Brantley, Governor Gordon, Iris Clubhouse Director Dan Odell, and Representative Pat Sweeney.