CDHS Announces New Contracts for Colorado Crisis Services

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health has announced new contractors for Colorado Crisis Services regions statewide and the crisis line, as well as planned improvements to the crisis system. The comprehensive statewide behavioral health crisis care system for individuals, families and communities was created in response to the Aurora theater shootings in July 2012 and has provided more than half a million services to Coloradans.

Colorado Crisis Services will now be administered in seven regions to ensure a robust network of providers and to align with the state’s Medicaid regions, simplifying the process for patients accessing care and better enabling the state to analyze and track community health and wellness. The new contracts will begin summer 2019, and the regional crisis contractors, called Administrative Services Organizations (ASOs), will provide a network of walk-in crisis centers, crisis stabilization centers and respite and mobile crisis services in their regions. The crisis system has an annual budget of more than $31 million.

“As a state, we are always working to improve the customer experience and partner across local and state agencies. These changes support efficient and aligned care systems and allow us to better track health by community,” said Robert Werthwein, Director of the Office of Behavioral Health and acting CDHS Deputy Executive Director for Operations. “These administrative regions will coordinate services from local community mental health providers, and as a result we expect patients to see strengthened partnerships with local systems like law enforcement, county services, and hospitals.”

The new ASOs for the crisis system are as follows, each listed with the maximum amount of annual funding they’ll be awarded via contract:

Region 1: Rocky Mountain Health Plans, $7,538,371
Region 2: Beacon Health Options, $2,133,461
Region 3: No Award, $5,898,147
Region 4: Health Colorado, $2,750,242
Region 5: Signal Behavioral Health Network, $2,935,660
Region 6: Signal Behavioral Health Network, $3,689,981
Region 7: Beacon Health Options, $3,102,617

Region 3 did not receive a qualifying bid, so that region’s vendor will be selected by competitive negotiation and announced at a later date. See a map of the regions below.

Colorado Crisis Services region map

The crisis line competitive bid was won by current provider Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, which has operated the state’s crisis line since inception. The crisis line has a budget of $3,068,291 and served 54,826 individuals last year through text, online chat, and call services. 

The Department re-procured the crisis system because the current contracts were due to expire. Stakeholder and consumer feedback, including the work of the Crisis Steering Committee,  prompted changes to the crisis system, such as more focus on mobile response and coordination with law enforcement and others responding to behavioral health emergencies to get people connected to care.

“We hope that by expanding focus on mobile services, and aligning with county efforts for these services, we can bring care to people in their homes and communities when they need it most,” Werthwein said. 

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Colorado Crisis Services Line (1-844-493-TALK): If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help dealing with one, call this toll-free number 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. Chat services are also available from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily at coloradocrisisservices.org. 
 
Colorado Crisis Services Walk-In Locations: Walk-in crisis services are generally open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need. Visit coloradocrisisservices.org to find locations and hours.