SB21-137 (Pettersen/Michaelson Jenet & Kennedy) Behavioral Health Recovery Act

Originally Posted: March 26, 2021
Last Updated: June 11, 2021


This bill would restore funding to certain behavioral health programs that received a reduction in funding during the 2020 legislative session due to the budgetary impact of the pandemic and begins to appropriate millions of federal stimulus dollars for behavioral health purposes in Colorado. Additionally, the bill would also require the state to offer an additional perinatal depression screening at well-child visits through the Medicaid program in accordance with best practices. It would provide funding for additional early childhood mental health consultants through the state program.    


The Children’s Campaign supports this bill. As Colorado children and families recover from the impacts of the pandemicit is more important than ever to ensure access to the behavioral support and services they need to thrive.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians screen for maternal perinatal depression at four children well visits in the first six months of life. Currently, in Colorado, pediatricians may screen a caregiver and bill under a child’s Medicaid ID up to three times. This bill would help align Colorado’s reimbursement policy with national best practices to help ensure Colorado parents are getting the mental and behavioral health care they need. 

Early childhood mental health consultants work with early childhood professionals to provide support and guidance in areas such as behavior management, emotion regulation strategies, classroom management, skill building and social emotional development. Colorado’s state-managed consultation program currently funds 34 early childhood mental health consultant positions to support more than 400,000 children under the age of six in the state. 

Current Status

Senate concurred with House Amendments. The bill repassed the Senate on a vote of 30-4 and now heads to the Governor for signature. 


Previous Statuses

June 4, 2021

Passed out of the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee on a vote of 10-3 and now heads to the Appropriations Committee. 


May 7, 2021

May 4 the bill was laid over on seconds. 

April 9, 2021

Passed the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on a vote of 4-2 and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

March 26, 2021

Introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard on Wed., March 31 at 1:30 p.m. You can listen online here