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Local coordination saves millions in resources

June 5, 2013
by Alison Knopf
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County-wide coordination of criminal justice, crisis response, and inpatient psychiatric resources has enabled Salt Lake City to reduce acute inpatient admissions 18 percent and to divert hundreds of non-violent offenders or in-crisis individuals away from jails and emergency rooms to appropriate local or home-based care each month. Savings on inpatient admissions alone exceed $2 million.

Inpatient care coordination: Each week, representatives from the area’s inpatient psychiatric facilities, community providers and Optum/Salt Lake County meet to review current inpatient cases, plan discharges, and engage appropriate community services to ensure that all consumers being discharged can remain engaged in treatment.

Mobile Crisis Response: Two adult and one children’s Mobile Crisis Response teams, comprised of a licensed mental health therapist and peer specialist supported by a psychiatrist on-call, conduct more than 200 outreach visits per month and, through interventions at home or referral to other treatment, successfully divert nearly 80% of individuals served away from an emergency room, inpatient facility, or jail.

Receiving Center: This “23-hour” care facility supports diversion and treatment efforts by accepting non-violent offenders from local police custody (in lieu of jail) as well as consumers in crisis on a walk-in basis. At the center, these individuals can de-escalate in a “living room” style environment for up to 23 hours, with access to assessments, medications and other supports. The center averages 87 consumer visits per month, with just 6% of consumers proceeding to inpatient stays and 1% to the county jail.

Wellness Recovery Center: Opened October 2012, this 16-bed short-term (3-5 day) residential support facility offers care beyond that of the Receiving Center for those who need more help, but do not require an acute inpatient stay. This facility is open to any referral source and offers a multi-disciplinary staff (access to social workers, peer support specialists, nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners and psychiatrists) and a peer bridger program. The center averages 38 consumer visits per month and has supported significant decreases in acute inpatient and criminal justice involvement for local mental health consumers.

Crisis and Warm Lines: County residents have telephone access to a crisis line that provides 24/7 access to behavioral health professionals through Optum/Salt Lake County’s partnership with ProtoCall, while a non-crisis Warm Line run by trained peer specialists offers support and encouragement when consumers need them. Monthly calls total over 3,000. 

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