Additional funding for some mental health facilities in Kansas may depend, at least in part, on the number of lottery tickets sold from new machines.

The Kansas House and Senate have approved versions of House Bill 2313, which would direct proceeds from newly legalized lottery ticket vending machines to crisis stabilization centers and mental health clubhouses.

The bill must go to a conference committee, which will work out differences between the House and Senate versions, before it can proceed to Gov. Sam Brownback.

HB 2313 would allow a maximum of $4 million to go to mental health facilities in the fiscal year beginning in July and a maximum of $8 million in the following years. The actual funds could be lower, however, if businesses are slow to install lottery ticket machines or players don’t use them.

Crisis centers would receive 75% of the lottery ticket machine proceeds, though the bill doesn’t specify how to divide the money among the three centers, which are in Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka. They treat patients in mental health or substance abuse crisis for up to three days, with the goal of diverting them from the state hospitals.

Marilyn Cook, executive director of COMCARE, which runs the crisis center in Wichita, said the center needs about $1 million to sustain itself financially because of the high number of uninsured patients it treats. She said she hopes the lottery money and additional funding from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services will fill that gap.

“It’s an effort to find some sustainable funding,” she said.

The COMCARE crisis center was able to reduce the number of patients Sedgwick County sends to Osawatomie State Hospital roughly by half, Cook said. Many patients stabilize in less than a day because staff can assist them in a calm environment, she said.

In Topeka Valeo Behavioral Health Care, known as The Residence, and in Kansas City, RSI would benefit from the funds.

More Funding For Clubhouses

The lottery bill would direct 2% of proceeds from the new machines to rehabilitation programs known as “clubhouses” that help people with mental illnesses improve their job and life skills.

The only certified mental health clubhouse in Kansas is Breakthrough Club in Wichita, but Barb Andres, the clubhouse’s executive director, thinks extra funding could encourage other programs to get certified.

If the machines generated enough new money to reach the $4 million cap in the first fiscal year, Breakthrough Club would receive $1 million. That would be enough to serve about 200 more people and perhaps to offer training to other clubhouses, Andres said.

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