By the Legislative Task Force, El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium. 

The El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium Legislative Task Force is writing to express our sincere gratitude to the El Paso State Delegation – Sen. Cesar Blanco, Rep. Mary Gonzalez, Rep. Joseph Moody, Rep. Lina Ortega, and Rep. Claudia Ordaz along with Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Gov. Greg Abbott – for their leadership and commitment throughout the 88th Legislative Session to expand mental health access and services for the El Paso region.

We are especially grateful to the El Paso Delegation for their work securing a $50 million appropriation as part of Senate Bill 30 to fund planning and land acquisition to expand the El Paso Psychiatric Center. 

Presently, the El Paso Psychiatric Center has a 74-bed capacity with little investment in its facility since its opening nearly 30 years ago. We estimate that in the next 10 years, the El Paso State Hospital System will need to double its size to better serve children, adolescents, adults, and forensic patients in our region, including addressing a current wait list.

With planning funds, the consortium seeks to expand and enhance the state hospital to include a psychiatric emergency room, crisis stabilization, and step-down services.

Expanding the state hospital has been a goal of the consortium since it was formed 10 years ago. The consortium was established in 2013 to engage regional stakeholders to develop and implement collaborative solutions to improve mental and behavioral health services and support for the residents of our region. 

The work of the consortium is led by individuals and organizations across three Leadership Councils:

  • The Family Leadership Council works with child, adolescent, and family health organizations, other child-serving agencies, and natural support systems to transform El Paso County into a model community for child and family behavioral health services and support.
  • The Justice Leadership Council works with Justice System leaders and stakeholders as they transform the current system to support person-centered, recovery-oriented care and treat as many people as possible in healthcare settings instead of within the criminal justice system.
  • The Integration Leadership Council works with healthcare providers to increase access to recovery-oriented behavioral healthcare by increasing the number of available providers and by integrating behavioral health and recovery supports into primary care settings.

This new $50 million funding allocation is an important next step to increase capacity and services for families in need. Thank you to the El Paso delegation for delivering these resources to improve mental health in our community.

The El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium Legislative Task Force consists of the El Paso Chamber, El Paso Children’s Hospital, El Paso Psychiatric Center, Emergence Healthcare Network, Medical Center of the Americas Foundation, Paso del Norte Center at Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and University Medical Center El Paso.