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New bill to boost funding for mental health aid in Chippewa Valley

Eau Claire (WQOW) — A new partnership between local hospitals and local legislatures is offering hope for those suffering form mental health issues.

Friday, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s Hospital officials, along with Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) and Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona) announced a funding boost to add 22 new mental health beds at the hospitals.

“Twenty-nine counties on our side of the state spend over $2.72 million. That’s a lot of money,” James said.

“It’s about the care of the patient. The patient is in the back seat of the police car that needs assistance ASAP,” Bernier added.

Officials told News 18 the current beds are nearly always full, causing those who need help locally to be transferred miles away, costing thousands of dollars, or causing some not to get help at all.

“People are in crisis situations that we believe that we can care for them much earlier in that process to head-off a crisis or a major issue, should they have that,” said HSHS Sacred Heart CEO Andy Bagnall.

The $15 million in funding still needs to go through the Wisconsin Legislature and receive approval from Governor Evers.


Samantha Wensel

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