Crisis Services to Continue, Expand Under New Regional Structure

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Starting July 1, a new set of agencies will manage the state’s comprehensive behavioral health crisis system and ensure statewide coverage. Crisis services will be managed across seven regions, instead of four, to align with the state’s Medicaid regions. The annual budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 among the regions is $29.35 million, which is an increase of $1.5 million from the previous fiscal year. 

The new structure contracts with agencies called Administrative Service Organizations, and reflects community recommendations to improve the state crisis system, which was put into place in 2014 following the Aurora theater shooting. Each agency has developed and will manage a network of providers that will deliver crisis behavioral health services including mobile response, walk-in, stabilization and respite crisis services. In addition, the state is working with the ASOs to expand community-based mobile response, which has been historically underutilized. 

Switching from four to seven regions will simplify the process for patients accessing care and better enable the state to analyze and track community behavioral health services and unmet needs. ASOs are legal entities with the ability to support the crisis system through required data reporting, care coordination, and managing contracts with providers and ensure quality patient care.  

OBH has executed contracts with all seven regions, which start on July 1. OBH has every confidence that these new ASOs will support a system that is integrated into the behavioral health care continuum, coordinates across care transitions, and collaborates with local, regional, and state partners. The Office of Behavioral Health and the ASOs are committed to enhancing the behavioral health crisis system to ensure comprehensive, coordinated, easily accessible, culturally informed, and integrated services are available for people experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

Coloradans in need will still access the system in the following ways:

  • The crisis line, 844.493.TALK, remains Coloradans’ primary point for accessing care quickly, from wherever you are, or if you don’t know where to start.
  • The crisis line is responsible for assessing and determining when mobile dispatch is necessary for individuals in crisis.
  • A map of walk-in centers is available at coloradocrisisservices.org and these locations can be used to  seek immediate services.
  • Walk-in centers and hospital emergency departments will assess client needs and connect individuals in crisis to appropriate services. 

The state’s public behavioral health system also includes the 17 Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), which provide coverage for every county in the state. All CMHCs by statute are required to provide “at least the following services provided for the prevention and treatment of behavioral or mental health disorders in persons residing in a particular community in or near the facility so situated:

(a) Inpatient services;
(b) Outpatient services;
(c) Partial hospitalization;
(d) Emergency services;
(e) Consultative and educational services.

Sixteen of the 17 CMHCs have contracted with the ASO in their region to provide crisis services. OBH has also been working with the CMHCs to create more flexible budgets for their state contracts and encouraged them to prioritize emergency services.  

For help with any mental health, substance use or emotional concern—for you, or someone you know—call Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-TALK (8255), or text TALK to 38255. Our trained counselors provide immediate and confidential help, 24/7/365. For more information, or to find a crisis services walk-in center, visit ColoradoCrisisServices.org.

To find your ASO, visit the Find Behavioral Health Help page on the CDHS website. The ASOs should be contacted for the following needs:

  • If you want to be part of the network
  • If you are looking for info on how to refer people to the crisis system
  • If you have a complaint about the crisis system
  • If you need data regarding crisis services.