Mental Health Hold Task Force

Gov. John Hickenlooper directed CDHS to create a task force to examine issues of concern around mental health holds in Colorado. The request was included in the letter the governor issued in June 2016 when he vetoed Senate Bill 16-169, which addressed mental health hold practices.

In vetoing the bill, the Governor issued a statement that said, in part: “We agree that appropriate mental health facilities are not always readily available to treat persons having a mental health crisis. While well-intentioned, we are concerned that SB 16-169 does not provide adequate due process for individuals.”

In June 2016, CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha called for applicants to serve on the task force, and articulated a list of issues for the task force to address. 

Specifically the Mental Health Hold Task Force was asked to meet a Jan. 1, 2017 deadline imposed by the Governor to make statutory, policy and administrative recommendations to:

  • Ensure proper mental health treatment for individuals in crisis, while satisfying individuals' rights under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and due process standards. This should include exploring models used in other states.
  • End the practice of confining in jail persons with mental illness who have committed no crime.
  • Where appropriate, streamline and align regulatory oversight of the mental health hold process while ensuring necessary patient care requirements and protecting patient rights.
  • Understand the need for, and overcome barriers to, providing inpatient psychiatric care to persons in mental health crisis.
  • Maximize existing state resources, including examining potential enhancements that can be made to the current crisis services and transportation systems. 
  • Develop data tracking and provider communication systems to better understand the scope of the mental health hold problem in Colorado.


The task force will meet regularly to address the issues at hand. The public is welcome, and encouraged to attend these meetings. The task force will post notice of these meetings on this website, as well as minutes from prior meetings.

Date/Time Conference Number Location
  P 1-877-820-7831
Passcode: 478696#