May 27, 2019
The Texas Legislature on Sunday approved funding to continue the investment in the redesign of the Austin State Hospital and the brain health continuum of care.
Senate Bill 500, the supplemental budget bill, provides $165 million for this biennium to construct the first phase of the replacement hospital. The target date for occupancy and operation is 2023.
“The reconstruction of the Austin State Hospital is about much more than a structure,” said Sen. Kirk Watson. “With this investment, we’re building upon the extraordinary work of the Dell Medical School to design a brain health system of care that provides access to the right care at the right time and in the right place. This is a big win in our efforts to transform the ASH Brain Health System and demonstrates the Legislature’s commitment to improving access to quality mental health care for all Texans.”
In 2017, the Legislature directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to develop the Comprehensive Inpatient Mental Health Plan, which provided a six-year framework for rebuilding five of the ten state psychiatric hospitals. That plan included planning money for Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin to examine mental health care and treatment across the 38-county Austin State Hospital service area. The 2018 Austin State Hospital Brain Health System Redesign report provides detailed recommendations for improving access to quality mental health care and treatment across the service area. The report can be found at https://www.ashredesign.org/.
“We are pleased with the Legislature’s commitment to initiate a transformation of Texas’ mental health care through this critical investment in the Austin State Hospital campus and the people it serves,” said Dr. Stephen Strakowski, Associate Vice President for Regional Mental Health at Dell Medical School.
Sen. Watson also passed Senate Bill 2111 to direct the Health and Human Services Commission to develop a plan under which operations of ASH could be transferred to a local public university. The intention is to continue working with Dell Medical School and ASH Redesign steering committee members, including Integral Care and NAMI Central Texas, to implement. The Legislature would decide in 2021 whether to proceed with the transfer of operations.
In addition to funding for the Austin State Hospital, the Legislature appropriated $190 million for the first phase of construction for the San Antonio State Hospital as well as a $90 million for a 100-bed facility at Rusk State Hospital.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kate Alexander, Office of Senator Kirk Watson: (512) 463-0114