Behavioral Health Laws & Rules

The CDHS Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) is responsible for regulating the provision of behavioral health services by developing and monitoring reasonable and proper standards, rules and regulations.


Laws & Rules Updates

April Rule Adoption Hearing at State Board of Human Services for the Involuntary Transportation for Immediate Screening Rules

On March 2, the Office of Behavioral Health presented the Involuntary Transportation for Immediate Screening proposed rules for second reading at the State Board of Human Services. The proposed rules are designed to provide a procedure for how designated facilities are to implement this new hold, created by Senate Bill 17-207.

The State Board of Human Services postponed the adoption hearing for these rules until April 6 to allow for clarifying and procedural updates to the proposed rules.

The rule-making packet that will be presented at the State Board of Human Service Meeting on April 6 can be found here.

Medication Consistency Rules Scheduled for First Reading at State Board of Human Services in May

To ensure individuals, with behavioral or mental health disorders, transitioning between settings and service providers have access to a broad spectrum of effective medications. Senate Bill 17-019 requires:

  • The use of a medication formulary that lists required medications that are to be used across systems;
  • Education and marketing of the medication formulary and cooperative medication purchasing opportunities for facilities and providers;
  • Electronic sharing of patient-specific information; and,
  • Rules that require providers under the authority of the Department of Human Services or Department of Corrections to use the medication formulary.

In compliance with Senate Bill 17-019, the Office of Behavioral Health has created a rule draft requiring the use of the medication formulary in facilities designated by the Office of Behavioral to provide mental health services. The updated rule-making packet incorporating stakeholder feedback can be found here. Also, the Medication Formulary can be located here. The rule will be the State Board meeting on May 4, 2018. 

Second Reading at State Board of Human Services of the Involuntary Transportation for Immediate Screening Proposed Rules

The Office of Behavioral Health will be presenting the Involuntary Transportation for Immediate Screening proposed rules for second reading (adoption) at the State Board of Human Services meeting on March 2, 2018, at 10 a.m. at 1575 Sherman St. in Denver. The rule-making packet being presented can be found here.

Signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on May 18, 2017, SB17-207 introduced new language intended to divert individuals with behavioral health disorders from entering the criminal justice system.  This legislation included changes to Section 27-65-105, C.R.S., one of those changes created a new involuntary transportation of immediate screening hold.  This new Involuntary Transportation Hold:

  • Creates a new option for intervening professionals to transport an individual who appears in need of immediate evaluation for treatment to an outpatient facility;
  • Ensures that civil liberties protections that currently exist in statute remain the same;
  • Encourages first responders to transfer the decision to place a more restrictive M-1 hold to healthcare providers.
    • The intent is to ensure individuals aren’t held unnecessarily and restore to liberty individuals who do not meet criteria for a hold, while also not mandating facilities to act outside their capabilities.
    • The evaluation for a hold would not require individuals to stay in the outpatient facility, or be detained elsewhere, unless the evaluation determined a need to initiate an M-1 hold.
  • Introduces a focus on community collaboration between systems to formalize how law enforcement, behavioral health providers, and other clinical settings collaborate in responding to crises.

The Office of Behavioral Health, in collaboration with the Mental Health Advisory Board for Service Standards and Regulations, created a rules draft for how a 27-65 Designated Facility provides services when an individual arrives at their facility on the new involuntary transportation for immediate screening hold.  

The new rules will only affect designated facilities, but the rules will provide the outline for best-practice guidelines.  The Office of Behavioral Health will create and distribute these best-practice guidelines, to inform individuals with lived experience, other facilities, and intervening professionals on how the new hold procedure should be implemented.