STATE HOUSE – Augusta, Maine – On October 29, Representative Laurel Libby of Auburn submitted “An Act to Increase Availability of Mental Healthcare Facilities in Maine,” an emergency after-deadline bill intended to repeal Certificate of Need requirements for inpatient and outpatient mental healthcare facilities in Maine. Certificate of Need (CON) is the lengthy and expensive process by which Maine health providers must seek approval not only from the state, but also from their own competitors, in order to offer new services or build a new facility.
“We have a chronic, systemic shortage of mental healthcare in Maine. We saw the effect of that shortage last week during the tragic events that took place in Lewiston,” said Rep. Libby. “If we really want to tackle the root cause, then we should eliminate any and all obstacles to maximizing access to mental healthcare in Maine. Repealing CON is the first step in eliminating those obstacles. Time and again, states that have repealed CON have demonstrated an increased ability to respond to the needs of their communities.”
“An Act to Increase Availability of Mental Healthcare Facilities in Maine” will face its first
hurdle in the Legislative Council, where legislative leadership will vote whether to move the bill forward through the legislative process or not.
“I think Mainers are tired of hearing politicians talk about the problems in our state, but then be unwilling to implement practical solutions that will actually make a difference. I’ve submitted a full CON repeal legislation twice before, and the current majority killed it both times,” said Rep. Libby. “I am hopeful, having now seen how desperately we need to address the mental healthcare shortage, my fellow legislators will appreciate the need for this narrow CON repeal. It’s time to prioritize the mental health of Maine people above the lobby associations that benefit from limiting services.”
For more information, please contact Rep. Laurel Libby at 207-632-7619.