Minn. County to Implement Mobile Mental Health Crisis Unit

Minn. County to Implement Mobile Mental Health Crisis Unit

News Dec 27, 2017

Dec. 27—A surge of mental health calls in Scott County has pushed local leaders to seek a dedicated mobile crisis response unit for residents, ending a longtime collaboration with neighboring Carver County.

For 20 years, the Carver-Scott mental health crisis team provided face-to-face emergency intervention and stabilization services for southwest metro residents in an attempt to avoid hospitalization. But last week, the Scott County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to sever that partnership and hire Canvas Health Inc. to develop a more localized approach.

Starting April 2, Canvas Health will begin responding to round-the-clock crisis calls from its third-floor office at the Scott County Law Enforcement Center. Carver County will continue serving Scott residents until then.

Mental health advocates expect faster response times in both counties.

"Waconia all the way to Savage—that's just a long distance," said Scott County Commissioner Barb Weckman Brekke. "It made it harder for crisis response to happen." She said the move will establish a better connection with authorities and help prevent vulnerable adults from landing in jail.

"From a public policy standpoint, it's just so important that we're efficiently using resources and getting people what they need vs. spending a lot of money on emergency rooms and law enforcement when that's not the issue at all," Weckman Brekke said.

Last year, the mobile crisis team recorded 782 distress calls and provided in-person intervention services to 236 people—including 132 adults and 104 children, said Barb Dahl, Scott County's social services director. Suicide attempts were the primary reason for emergency assessments.

Rapid growth in the affluent county prompted government leaders to explore a split from Carver, hoping to improve service.

Canvas Health, one of the state's largest community mental health centers, won the contract with a bid of $353,750 for next year's services. The contract renews annually. The private nonprofit already provides mobile crisis services for Anoka and Washington counties, as well as Scott's after-hours emergency social services.

Funding will come from insurance billing, a grant from the Department of Human Services and an $11,500 share in the county property tax levy.

Continue Reading

Pam Selvig, Scott County's Health and Human Services director, said Canvas Health will employ four full-time workers and eight on-call mobile responders for the service. While Carver's approach was more hospital-based, Selvig said Scott's will focus heavily on making contact within two hours to prevent an emergency room visit.

"Oftentimes our folks were being sent to the hospital when, perhaps, they would have preferred that mobile response in their home or somewhere else in the community," Selvig said

Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen said he hopes the response team will act as a preventive service.

"It's not our [natural] skill-set, so we need to find ways to get the professionals in front of individuals who really need them," Hennen said. "This is a start."

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Nine Mile Rescue Squad is hosting a fundraiser to help pay for the captain's young nephew's funeral.
Trauma surgeons led the 'Train the Trainers' class for first responders in response to the increased frequency of mass shootings.
The city of Victorville aims to run the San Bernardino County Fire Department to save an estimated 5.2% on operational costs after 5 years.
After two people died falling through ice, the Wichita Fire Department is warning people to stay away from frozen ponds as warmer temperatures thins the ice.
The 55-bed Addiction and Stabilization Center offers immediate and long-term care to overdose patients to relieve hospital emergency rooms.
In December, Care Flight awarded 20 of its critical care medical team members with recognition for advanced study, skills, and achievements.
New default settings on electronic medical records systems remind doctors to limit opioid prescriptions to 10 pills for acute pain treatment.
The March 31st, 2018 event is a nation-wide, free course on the principles of bleeding control and providing first aid until the arrival of emergency responders.
Residents affected by the October Bear Fire raised $4,500 for Boulder Creek Fire Department to show their gratitude for saving their homes.
The second annual First Responder Challenge raises money for families of personnel killed in the line of duty.
Quick-fire last-day sessions examine various aspects of running programs. 
Boostlite® and Draftlite® become standard equipment on select FIRELITE® skid units.
Crews ran 271 flu calls between December and January compared to 54 in November.
Onslow County Emergency Medical Services was allotted $600K to purchase new cardiac monitors for every ambulance and quick-response vehicle.
Diamond Pipeline gave $1 million in grants to first responder organizations for training and new equipment.