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Spectrum Healthcare Mobile Crisis Team Partnership Program

Spectrum Healthcare Group

Spectrum Healthcare Mobile Crisis Team Partnership Program Logo

Program Website
Year:
2018
State:
Arizona
Winner Status:
Applicant
Program Type:
Access to Care
Target Population:
Adults
Setting:
Community

Program Description

The Spectrum Mobile Crisis Team Partnership Program is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week response team that works with law enforcement and first responders within Arizona’s Verde Valley to meet the needs of those experiencing a mental health care crisis. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders determine if an individual is in crisis, and, if so, contact Spectrum Healthcare’s Mobile Crisis Team. Within 30 minutes, team members are on scene to assess the individual and reroute him/her away from jail and/or the Emergency Room, and into treatment. It is a coordinated effort between local Law Enforcement, Fire Departments and EMT’s.

Creativity

No one ever plans a mental health crisis. It strikes suddenly, often without warning. It cares not about location or time of day or setting; it simply occurs, and when it does, it often results in a call to 911. And when first responders, like law enforcement or EMT’s, arrive on the scene, they do what first responders are trained to do. In the case of law enforcement, a person in crisis might be arrested for disorderly conduct and taken to jail, or placed in an ambulance and taken to the ER to await assessment. Unfortunately, neither of these options are solutions for a mental health crisis: they clog up emergency services, cost the city and county thousands of tax payer dollars and, more importantly, do nothing to address an individual in crisis – all reasons why the Mobile Crisis Team works.

Leadership

Demand for the Spectrum Healthcare’s Mobile Crisis Team Partnership Program was so great and the service so useful that immediately the community became engaged and wanted more of the same, and so Spectrum opened the same services up to the community. In a 12 month period, Spectrum received 1,430 calls, of which 60% were community stabilized. This is hundreds of people kept in their home communities and millions of dollars saved.

Sustainability

The Spectrum Healthcare Mobile Crisis Team Partnership Program affords law enforcement officers real time alternatives as they encounter persons with mental illness in the field. Prior to implementing the program, an intensive training occurred, in which April Rhodes, CEO of Spectrum Healthcare, met with and trained all first responders in the area. Training sessions were held at all hours of the day and night to accommodate the varied schedules of the Verde Valley’s first responders. As a result of this partnership, people in crisis received access to the help and treatment they need and avoid costly and ineffective methods, such as jail or emergency departments. This has significant savings to the taxpayer, but more than that, it offers huge savings in ways we can not measure in dollar amounts, like minimized disruption to the family system and people’s lives, as well as access to the appropriate treatment.

Replicability

The program can be duplicated, and has been duplicated to many unique communities within our geographic service area – including 10 unique agencies. It takes an assessment of community resources and targeted relationship building to decrease the fragmentation between first responders and those within the behavioral health care teams. It is not for the faint of heart – in fact replication requires tireless focus on the goal.

Results/Outcomes

Since February 1, 2016, Spectrum Healthcare’s Mobile Crisis Team has responded to 617 calls from Law Enforcement. Of those, only 7 people were arrested while 60% were community stabilized, meaning Spectrum staff kept them from a higher level of care. Of those individuals who do arrive at the emergency room, the Mobile Crisis Team is able to stabilize and return to the community 46%, thus preventing hospitalization. Between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017, Spectrum responded to a total of 1,430 crisis calls for 1,281 unique individuals. 857 of these responses resulted in stabilization of the individual, diverting the individual from the emergency department, hospitalization and incarceration. Responding to and stabilizing a crisis in the community costs an average of $637.91 per event, as compared to a visit to the emergency department, which costs an average of $10,000 per event and jail, which costs $100 per night per event.