Report: Expansion of the Colorado Crisis System

A new report from the Colorado Department of Human Services provides an update on the status of Colorado Crisis Services expansions in Senate Bill 17-207 and the 2017 Long Bill. 
 
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) to expand the crisis system and better equip law enforcement to respond to individuals in mental health crisis. The 2017 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.
 
More than $3.4 million of the funding provided through this bill supports regional improvements and enhanced partnerships between law enforcement and the four crisis contractors -- West Slope Casa (WSC), Southern Colorado Crisis Connection (SCCC), Northeast Behavioral Health (NBH) and Community Crisis Connection (CCC). The regional improvements are now well underway in their efforts to:
 
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 finalized all contracts related to service expansion and preparing communities to provide alternatives to jails for people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The expansion to the crisis system has resulted in a reinforced infrastructure with new support mechanisms for providers and access points for patients. These include:  
 
Three new crisis stabilization units with at least 25 new beds
Enhanced access for one walk-in facility, providing 24 hour access
Four new peer navigation specialists to help clients connect to appropriate local services in their region
Three enhanced mobile crisis programs affecting up to 16 counties 
Enhanced staffing in one CSU to better serve complex and high need clients 
Increase respite services in two CSUs
 
Work has begun in all four regions to expand service delivery and report data based on SB 207 improvements. All regions have agreed to report a standard set of data, which will be reported monthly to OBH. Specific data templates were created for each region’s outlined enhancement plans that will serve as an ongoing source of information for future reports and regular monitoring of contracts. Due to the extended contract and procurement processes, a full report of all the crisis regions’ new measures will be available in June 2018. Common elements incorporated into each region’s SB 207 reporting templates include:
 
Number of people placed on a 72-hold 
Number of people in which a first responder was involved during crisis response
Number of people brought to a walk-in center or emergency department by a first responder 
Number of people transported by secure transportation companies and the most common pick-up/drop-off locations (CCC and WSC only)
Most common location for crisis mobile response (CCC, NBH, and WSC only)
 
Community partners identified through the state solicitation process are also completing additional enhancements through SB 207 and the Long Bill. All additional enhancements have been awarded and work has begun. This includes additional enhancements to provide transportation for people in crisis and collaboration between behavioral health clinicians and law enforcement.
 
Four communities were awarded the Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program contracts and announced in Jan. 2018.
Eight communities were awarded the Co-Responder Program contracts and announced in Jan. 2018.
Two organizations were the recipients of the Transportation Pilot contracts executed in Feb. 2018.
One organization received the Law Enforcement Training contract executed in Feb. 2018.
Two organizations were awarded contracts to provide evaluation services for both the LEAD/Co-Responder Program and Transportation Pilot and executed in March 2018.