Behavioral Health Services: Crisis Response and Intervention Project

Project Description
Fort Bend County (FBC) has been approved to develop a crisis system that better identifies people with behavioral health needs, responds to those in need, and links persons with their most appropriate level of care. In the current system, first responders are the default interveners for behavioral health crisis in FBC, with limited options available to these patients. The majority of persons experiencing a behavioral health crisis in FBC access assistance through the 911 system. Unfortunately, many persons with mental illness end up in the emergency room for several hours waiting or more for an evaluation or transport to the FBC jail.

The lack of services and coordination have resulted in the jail and emergency rooms becoming the default crisis assessment and stabilization centers for patients with behavioral health needs. These patients often end up, for extended periods, in local hospital emergency rooms and/or the jail as a last resort. The focus of the FBC project is on the identification and appropriate and appropriate response at the dispatch and first responder levels. Focusing on the front end of the “community crisis system” will ensure patients’ needs (medical and behavioral) and safety are addressed in the most timely and appropriate manner. The FBC Behavioral Health Crisis Response and Intervention (FBCBHCIT) project will identify these patients at dispatch and refer them to the appropriate intervention system. The trained Law Enforcement Team (the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)) will respond and work collaboratively with Texana Center, FBC’s Health & Human Services, MHA, NAMI, other health providers and organizations in the community to assess the patients’ needs and provide crisis services as appropriate.

The FBC BHCRIT Program leverages existing resources (911 dispatch system, law enforcement, data systems, emergency medical services, community providers), enhances services, cross-systems training, and data sharing to identify patients with behavioral health needs and link them to appropriate services.

Goals and Relationship to Regional Goals
FBC expects to see a reduction in the number of patients with behavioral health needs that are incarcerated, or who access EMS and emergency departments. The FBC project presents a major opportunity for infrastructure development and systems transformation.

This project meets the following regional goals:

  • Develop a regional approach to health care delivery that leverages and improves on existing programs and infrastructure that is responsive to patient needs throughout the entire region, and improves health care outcomes and patient satisfaction;
  • Increase access to primary and specialty care services, with a focus on underserved populations, to ensure patients receive the most appropriate care for their condition, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay.

5-year Expected Outcome for Provider and Patients
FBC expects to see a reduction in the percentage of patients with behavioral health needs that are incarcerated, access EMS, and emergency departments.

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