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Agency Overview

The mission of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is to promote healthy communities and provide the highest quality care to enhance the well-being of all Oklahomans.

The board, commissioner and all stakeholders envision active partnerships with persons receiving services and their families, provider organizations and community leaders. All are dedicated to promoting quality of life, safety and well-being for the people of Oklahoma. Consumer choice, hope, family involvement and the belief in human potential are valued. ODMHSAS resources support each consumer's right to choose services that build on individual strengths, and actively promote the consumer's human value and dignity. Every consumer and family member shall receive timely and appropriate services. Every Oklahoman deserves access to appropriate care. The department seeks to work on behalf of and benefit all Oklahomans in all that it does.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) is the state’s safety net mental health and substance use treatment services system. The department’s core mission is to provide prevention and treatment services for Oklahomans who are indigent and without a means to pay.

Because of limited resources, services are primarily targeted to address the needs of the most seriously ill; this means for persons who experience ongoing, persistent medical issues associated with mental illness or addiction, persons who are in crisis or have been found to be dangerous to self or others. ODMHSAS provides services for both adults and children.

Treatment services include inpatient hospital and outpatient community-based mental health treatment services, forensic services, residential treatment and outpatient services to address substance use dependence and addiction, in addition to targeted services designed to address the needs of high-risk populations, criminal justice diversion initiatives, and efforts to address other priority concerns.

ODMHSAS provides prevention services at the state and local levels, in partnership with area health providers, schools, law enforcement, veteran’s groups and other community stakeholders. ODMHSAS manages the state’s behavioral health Medicaid services, and has rule-making responsibility for specific statutory certification processes (certifying approximately 3,300 treatment providers, organizations and individuals, throughout the state).

ODMHSAS is the State’s statutory authority responsible for prevention, treatment and recovery from mental illness, substance abuse and addictive disorders.

Comprehensive Opioid Prevention and Treatment – A statewide network of community-based treatment providers has expanded access to medication-assisted treatment, specific to addressing opioid addiction. The unintentional overdose death rate involving a prescription opioid decreased by 28% from 2007 to 2016. Oklahoma saw the 2nd largest decrease nationally in opioid prescribing from 2013 to 2015, down 18%.

Statewide Suicide Prevention Efforts – Suicide is the most common manner of violent death in Oklahoma. Efforts to comprehensively address Oklahoma’s high suicide rate have resulted in a nine point national rankings change for the better, as Oklahoma has moved from the 7th highest rate nationally to 16th nationally. ODMHSAS has partnered with education, primary care and community groups and others to address this issue, raise awareness and implement initiatives targeting the reduction of these preventable deaths. In 2021, Senate Bill 21 required Oklahoma boards of education to adopt policies regarding suicide awareness training. Since July 2021, over 12,800 faculty and staff have completed suicide prevention training with the department online.

Utilization of a Community-Based Provider Network – The department has a well-established history of working with the private sector for the delivery of services. Over 2/3 of community mental health centers and over 90% of substance abuse services are delivered through private organizations.

High-Need Clients – ODMHSAS was able to identify high-end system users with multiple admissions to inpatient, crisis care and residential substance use treatment services. These individuals were primarily homeless (82%), predominately have a serious mental illness (psychotic disorder), most have co-occurring mental health and substance use issues and only 2% are Medicaid eligible. ODMHSAS developed a plan and assigned appropriate community mental health centers to engage, manage, and track treatment services for these identified individuals with a goal of improving outcomes. There was a 50% reduction in higher-end services used, along with a 48% decrease in homelessness.

Comprehensive Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC) - The CCBHC is a comprehensive treatment model reimbursed based on deliverables and expected outcomes. In total, the CCBHCs added 981 new jobs to the healthcare workforce sector and have an estimated economic impact of $34,953,525.41 annually. This year, the CCBHC programs had a 21% reduction in the use of psychiatric inpatient beds, a 14% reduction in Emergency Room visits, and a 69% reduction in the use of crisis stabilization and rehabilitation.

Employment, Housing and Criminal Justice Impact – People in recovery find meaning and purpose through employment and maintain stability in permanent housing, reducing the likelihood of coming into contact with the criminal justice system. ODMHSAS was able to help impact these areas through treatment, care and support services. This year, the state saw a 8.6% percent decrease in unemployment; resulting in 540 newly employed individuals, which leads to approximately $13.2 million in new wages; 20.4% percent reduction in homelessness; resulting in a cost avoidance to taxpayers of roughly $14.1 million; 28.7% reduction in 12-month arrests; resulting in a cost avoidance to taxpayers of almost $2 million.

Maintaining a Consistently Low Behavioral Health Medicaid Growth Rate - During the FY12 legislative session, responsibility for the behavioral health portion of Medicaid was shifted from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to ODMHSAS. Annual Medicaid growth prior to the transfer was at 14%, a rate that has been slashed by more than 90%. In FY14, ODMHSAS reduced program growth to 7%. In FY15, that number fell further to 5.4%. Beginning in FY16, growth was held to below 3%, and has remained below 3% in every year since. Had Medicaid growth continued at the annual 14% rate, the FY18 state share would have been in excess of $348.9 million. Under ODMHSAS administration, state share was only $149 million.

Reduced Waits for Residential Treatment – Through award of competitive federal grant funds and evidence-based practices, ODMHSAS has reduced the statewide waiting list for residential substance abuse services from between 600-800 Oklahomans on any given day to just fewer than 500 Oklahomans. In addition, ODMHSAS has reduced wait times for the highest priority populations to less than 2 weeks, with other populations waiting less than 2 months to access a residential substance abuse bed. ODMHSAS treatment outcomes are among the best in the nation. This was accomplished with no additional cost to state appropriations.

Last Modified on Sep 29, 2021