Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday agreed to increase funding in support of the mobile team that responds to people in behavioral health crises.
Current staffing provides coverage from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. This funding increase will allow the team to expand crisis response services to 18 hours a day.
Commissioners on Wednesday voted to add $70,000 to fund the partnership with Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center for the remainder of this year, with service expanded from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. starting in December. An additional $220,000 in funding for 2023 will allow the team to continue to provide service for 18 hours a day, seven days a week.
Commissioner Patrick Kelly said he wanted to see key performance indicators being tracked, and potentially for data points to be added into the agreement for next year’s funding.
“I’m going to encourage our our partners to push a little bit on that,” he said. “To put something out there … if our aspiration is to get emergency room visits down, let’s see if it does, right? It doesn’t mean we’ve failed if we didn’t get as many as we’d hoped. It’s just data that tells us how the system is being impacted.”
Commissioner Karen Willey said the county’s investment in behavioral health was in part because of the human cost of crisis.
“We also make that investment because investment dollars on the front side of crisis, save us dollars in the long run and the human cost of justice involvement and trips to the emergency department that didn’t need to happen,” she said. “So I’m very glad and proud to be able to invest in behavioral health on that level.”