Health Officials Call for More Legislation Concerning Mental Health

Law enforcement, health officials discussed tips with Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Howard Buffett

FARGO, N.D. — After serving as the Executive Director of the Sanford Health Foundation, Ty Hegland realized it was time to enter the frontline and tackle addiction head–on.

“Right now, this crisis we’re all facing is by far the biggest public health issue. When it comes to alcohol, when it comes to opioids. If you go to any hospital in this state, you’re going to see major, major capacity in their ER’s and ICU’s due to this issue,” said Hegland.

Seeing the impact addiction has on North Dakota, Hegland decided to become the President and CEO of ShareHouse, a chemical, drug, and alcohol rehab center in Fargo.

But with all the strides people have made in fighting the crisis, he says there’s still work left to do at the legislative level.

“Somebody comes into a bed at our facility for a very serious substance abuse disorder, and we’re only going to get reimbursed, 2, 4, or $600 a day. How are we supposed to properly serve those individuals when that’s the issue we face every single day,” said Hegland.

Hegland and other health care providers met with Senator Heidi Heitkamp and philanthropist Howard Buffett to discuss ways to tackle the addiction crisis.

She says the addiction battle goes hand in hand with her quest to get more funding for mental health.

“The biggest obstacle is stigma, the biggest obstacle is how can we get parity for mental health and behavior health, and how we can address some of these issues, like Medicaid funding,” said Senator Heitkamp.

Hegland says it’s important for the government to step up and provide more funding to assist organizations that help mental health patients.

“The reality is that it’s a mental health disorder, and for our communities to finally embrace that and to then provide the resources that are needed in order to provide that help because it affects everybody,” said Hegland.

Heitkamp also had discussions about mental health and addiction in Bismarck and Grand Forks.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News