MHRSB Will Enhance Its Services by Bringing in Contractor
By Fletcher Word
Sojourner’s Truth Editor
The Mental Health and
Recovery Services Board of Lucas County has undertaken a
project “to improve the treatment experience for those
experiencing a mental health crisis to ensure services are
effective, fiscally sustainable, recovery-oriented and
person-centered,” according to a report recently finalized
with the assistance of a contracted group, TBD Solutions.
The result of the MHRSB
and TBD Solutions report is a request for proposals (RFP)
that is seeking qualified vendors to provide behavioral
health services including: a crisis call center; a mobile
crisis team/mobile response and stabilization services; an
adult and youth crisis stabilization unit and a crisis,
access, recovery and emergency (C.A.R.E.) center equipped
with 23-hour observational unit and psychiatric urgent care.
The most critical aspect
of the RFP is the plan to enhance the cooperation between
mental health providers and law enforcement officers so that
patients, who at a time of crisis and are now typically
placed in city or county custody, will be turned over to
mental health providers for care.
It is this aspect of the
proposal that MHRSB Executive Director Scott Sylak and Board
Chairman Jim Stengle emphasized in a conversation with The
Truth last week.
“It will be very easy for
law enforcement to drop individuals off,” said Sylak. “A
smooth process for law enforcement.” He noted that the new
vendor will be providing just such a facility to accept
those in crisis where they can be observed and be offered
withdrawal management service.
The RFP was issued this
past Monday. The RFP schedule requires vendors to submit a
letter of intent to respond by December 7, submission of
questions by December 14 and proposal submissions by January
14, 2021. Thereafter finalists’ interviews will be conducted
from February 15 to March 15, 2021 with a final decision on
March 29. The RFP anticipates that the contract will start
by June 1, 2021.
“This is the largest
procurement of any contract we have ever done,” said Stengle
as he explained that the goal was to ensure Lucas County
residents of the best mental health service possible.
Sylak and Stengle
emphasized that the new services are intended to establish a
health care environment that will replace the criminal
justice environment currently in effect for those in crisis
with psychiatric urgent care, a recovery help line and
greater experience in managing that portion of the
population in need of such help while also cutting the costs
across the board.
The crisis provider will
also be expected to conduct health officer training,
transportation for patients, probate court assessments and
state hospital pre-screenings.
The conclusion by MHRSB
and TBD Solutions to seek such a contractor followed weeks
of focus group sessions in which participants outlined the
ways in which they would know if health crisis services were
working well in Lucas County. Participants said services
should be “outcomes-driven, crisis care providers would
embrace a ‘no wrong door’ policy for more accessible care,
law enforcement would know where to drop people off and
system partners would have a higher level of responsibility
and accountability for its services and care coordination.”
The report proposes to do
just that while also realizing savings by using
“alternatives to high-cost services … and demonstra[ting]
significant cost savings to the public behavioral health