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New behavioral health plan coming to Idaho

Behavioral Health Unit sign at Madison Memorial Hospital
Braydon Wilson
Behavioral Health Unit sign at Madison Memorial Hospital

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The new Idaho Behavioral Health Plan (IBHP), which groups together behavioral health services for Idahoans under a single plan, will launch on July 1, 2024.

Idaho’s current behavioral healthcare system is “kind of fractured,” said Division of Behavioral Health Administrator Ross Edmunds.

Whether people have Medicaid or not or need inpatient or outpatient services, they need to access them separately. The new IBHP will bring all of those services into one place.

Edmunds said having all these services under one organization will make things simpler and more coordinated. He also said this will help healthcare members as they shift between outpatient and inpatient services.

“We think this is a really big step towards finding a solution to some of the challenges we have with behavioral health care in the state of Idaho,” said Edmunds.

Vice Chair of Idaho Health and Welfare Committee Marco Erickson thinks this one-door approach is a step in the right direction, but it has its problems.

“I don’t think it’s perfect,” Erickson said. “I'm always a big fan of value-based care and providers doing things rather than hiring external company from outside of the state to run things.”

Erickson also thinks the change will have some issues when it launches.

“There's a lot of worry in the providers talking to the direct care providers because they're afraid of how they're going to get paid,” he said. “Partial hospitalization programs are being told the authorizations are going to take longer.”

Erickson said he has seen an upward trend in mental health concerns in Idaho—mostly in teenagers.

“It’s a system problem,” he said. “The entire system, in my opinion, needs [a] revamp. There’s a shortage in professionals that are experts in certain fields like suicide prevention.”

For more information on the new Idaho Behavioral Health Plan, visit

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Noah Farley

Noah is a reporter for Local News 8.


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