Expansion of the Colorado Crisis System Report

This report provides a brief overview on the status of Colorado Crisis Services expansions. Senate Bill 17-207, which was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in May 2017, provided $7.1 million to the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) in the Colorado Department of Human Services to expand the crisis system and better equip law enforcement to respond to individuals in mental health crisis. In addition, the Long Bill allocated $2.6 million for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) pilots to assist law enforcement with redirecting individuals to community-based services instead of jail.

This first infusion of funds to improve the crisis system, which is more than $3.4 million, supports enhanced partnerships between law enforcement and the four regional crisis contractors -- West Slope Casa, Southern Colorado Crisis Connection, Northeast Behavioral Health and Community Crisis Connection. The planned regional improvements will:

  •  Increase collaboration with local law enforcement;
  • Improve capacity to conduct face-to-face (including telehealth) assessments;
  • Ensure that walk-in centers, crisis stabilization units and acute treatment units are able
  • to accept and triage individuals on emergency mental health holds; and
  • Expand local partnerships to ensure jails are not used as a placement option for
  • individuals on emergency mental health holds.

The Office of Behavioral Health has worked closely with the crisis contractors to finalize contracts for this purpose. This collaborative process required multiple iterations as requested by the contractors to meet the needs of each community and address feedback from community partners and providers. The Department was pleased to provide continuing technical assistance during this time to ensure the amendments met the legislative intent and unique regional needs. Contracts with three of the four regional crisis partners and the rural enhancement contract were fully executed as of October 30, 2017. The Department has given the remaining contractor until November 3 to submit their final version of the contract for their region. The contractor requested to change their contract on October 30 due to their concerns about capital construction timelines. The Department will expedite the contract to ensure full execution in the timeliest manner possible.

Additional enhancements through both Senate Bill 17-207 and the Long Bill will be completed through the state solicitation process, many of which are out for bid. Awardees are ideally announced within 30 days of closing each bid, depending on the number of proposals and the
scheduling of the state procurement office scoring committee.

Read the full report.