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

Rewriting the Behavioral Health Narrative

Rewriting the Behavioral Health Narrative

Aug 3, 202211 min read

Texas hospitals are facing an urgent crisis — one that began well before the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for behavioral health care has swelled into a tidal wave, with record…


Addressing Texans’ Mental Health

Apr 4, 202211 min read

The ongoing public health crisis has impacted every aspect of our lives. From the staggering case counts to dire economic situations, COVID-19’s impact is widespread and all-encompassing. The amalgamation of…


Addiction: Hospitals Work to Curb Opioid Abuse

Apr 4, 20229 min read

With overdose deaths spiking to new records during the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has quickly become a lifeline for patients in treatment for opioid addiction. Potter “These are some of the…

2021 Award Winner Non-Research Non-Teaching Hospital Health System

2021 Award Winner Non-Research Non-Teaching Hospital Health System

Mar 30, 20223 min read

Oceans Behavioral Health Hospital, Abilene Project: Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) Oceans Behavioral Hospital Abilene provides inpatient and outpatient mental health care to adolescents, adults and seniors. The hospital serves the…