Northwest Colorado is another step closer to providing crisis stabilization services for people during 2004 after Routt County commissioners approved this week a $19,000 funding request for the project.
The money will go mostly toward the Routt County detox center and the Moffat County Crisis Stabilization Unit, which began as trial programs last February.
"We feel (this) is a better way to treat our patients that are in crisis," Routt County Directory of Human Services Bob White said. "It's more cost-effective, as well."
Without the detox center, which is a holding cell in the Routt County Jail where people having mental health or substance abuse crises can get help from trained staff, people in crisis would have to go to the emergency department of Yampa Valley Medical Center, White said.
In the year before the trial program began, the hospital spent more than $200,000 treating substance abuse patients who did not require emergency medical care, White said. Those costs can be greatly reduced through the program.
The Crisis Stabilization Unit provides a place for people to spend two or three days until they stabilize. It, along with the detox center, helps prevent trips to the state mental health institution in Pueblo.
Before these programs existed, people who couldn't stabilize at the hospital were transported to the state hospital in a squad car with two uniformed deputies, a trip that is expensive and time consuming and removes people from the support networks they may have in the area, White said.
During 2002, 52 trips were made from Routt or Moffat counties to the state hospital in Pueblo. Since the trial programs began in February, nine trips have been made for the two counties, saving about $30,000.
That also means that space at the state hospital is freed for people with more critical needs, which is important after budget cuts halved the number of psychiatric treatment beds in the Pueblo State Hospital.
The programs are designed to serve Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties. In Routt County, $57,000 is being requested, $19,000 each from the county, the city and Yampa Valley Medical Center.
The rest of the $100,000 cost of the program for 2004 would be paid mostly by Moffat County, which is being asked to fund $40,000.
Program officials will make the requests to Yampa Valley Medical Center and Moffat County on Aug. 11.
If those funds are secured, officials might then ask for a $1,000 or $2,000 from Rio Blanco and Jackson counties, or they might ask those counties to use the programs on a fee-for-service basis.
Costs of the programs through the end of 2003 are being financed by the state and carry-over funds from the trial program, White said.
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