Behavioral/Mental Health


One in five Texans experience a mental health condition each year. Half a million Texas children have a serious emotional disturbance. More than two-thirds of people with a behavioral health condition get no treatment for that condition.

Workforce shortages, limited funding and insurance/treatment barriers create obstacles to accessing appropriate behavioral health care. The result is that adults and children in Texas with behavioral health needs increasingly rely on clinically inappropriate settings, such as hospital emergency departments, to receive needed behavioral health treatment. To improve the behavioral health care system and improve access to care, the Texas Hospital Association supports:

  • A federal waiver from the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion rule, which currently caps Medicaid inpatient behavioral health stays at 15 days for Texans aged 21-64.
  • Increasing behavioral health hospital capacity by increasing contract beds and rates for state-contracted beds, both adult and pediatric.
  • Mandating Medicaid coverage for intensive outpatient therapy and partial hospitalization
  • Increasing funding to the Loan Repayment Program for Mental Health Professionals.
  • Streamline the detention warrant acquisition process through electronic warrant applications.
  • Create a grant program for behavioral health providers who lack access to electronic medical records and interoperability technology.

Additional information on THA’s behavioral health policy priorities is available here


THA Behavioral Health Council

Charge: To discuss and make policy recommendations to the Council on Policy Development regarding behavioral health care issues affecting hospital members that provide behavioral health services (meets as needed).


Chair: Mandy Westerman, LCSW, Kingwood Pines Hospital
Vice Chair: Zelia Baugh, JPS Health Network, Fort Worth
Aleen Arabit, San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital
Christine (Chris) Bryan, Clarity Child Guidance Center, San Antonio
Heather Chung, Ph.D, Houston Methodist Hospital
Jacob Cuellar, MD, Laurel Ridge Treatment Center, San Antonio
Sally E. Taylor, MD, University Health, San Antonio
Sherry L. Cusumano, RN, Medical City Green Oaks, Dallas
Christopher R. Dowers, Westpark Springs, Richmond
Kathy Griffis, Titus Regional Medical Center, Mount Pleasant
Charlzetta (Charlie) McMurray-Horton, Ben Taub General Hospital – Harris Health System, Houston
Stephen M. (Steve) Glazier, FACHE, UT Harris County Psychiatric Center, Houston
Edgar E. Prettyman, Psy.D, Texas NeuroRehab Center, Austin
Becky Tresnicky, Valley Baptist Medical Center – Brownsville
Staff Representative: Sara González, Texas Hospital Association, Austin

Related Articles

Remaining Resilient in Health Care

Remaining Resilient in Health Care

Mar 14, 20238 min read

We’ve all heard it: the perfunctory instructions given by flight attendants before a plane’s departure. Amid demonstrations of the aircraft’s safety features and what to do if there is a…

The Texas Legislature Convenes: THA’s Priorities for a Great 88

The Texas Legislature Convenes: THA’s Priorities for a Great 88

Jan 10, 20238 min read

Every two years, Texas hospitals get less than five months to convince state lawmakers how to foster a better health care landscape in the Lone Star State. That window opens…

The 2023 Legislative Session: Building and Rebuilding

The 2023 Legislative Session: Building and Rebuilding

Dec 13, 202213 min read

If the worst of COVID-19 really is behind Texas and the nation, then for hospitals, the 2023 session of the Texas Legislature will be largely about addressing the fallout and…

Behavioral Health: Top of Mind and Time for Change

Behavioral Health: Top of Mind and Time for Change

Aug 18, 20224 min read

With no shortage of polarizing issues circulating in Texas right now, one thing is clear no matter your politics: Mental health is top of mind. The stress of an ongoing…