Dane County to Open Mental Health Crisis Care Center in 2010

Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 --- 11:15 a.m.

Press Release from the Office of the County Executive:

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today her 2010 budget will include funding for a new 24-hour mental health crisis care stabilization center to help address a growing need for services for those with the most critical mental health needs.

The brand new Dane County Crisis Care Stabilization Center will have 12 beds and be designed for people at risk of psychiatric hospitalization. Currently, when law enforcement encounters those with emergent mental health needs, those individuals are taken to local hospital emergency rooms and some are eventually transferred to stay at the state’s Mendota Mental Health Institute. Housing individuals at that facility costs county taxpayers up to $1,200 a day per bed. This will also reduce days spent at the expense of hospital emergency rooms.

“This new Dane County Crisis Care Stabilization Center is a smart, cost effective way to get help to those in crisis,” Falk said. “Through a community-based treatment approach, we can better help these individuals in a less costly and less restrictive setting, and help get them back on their feet.”

Earlier this year, Falk convened a broad coalition of local health care leaders and human service providers to identify strategies to address the increasing demands and costs stemming from caring for citizens in crisis with severe mental health challenges. This group, called the Health Council Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Task Force, included representatives of Dane County’s largest health care providers (Dean Health Group Health, UW, St. Mary’s, Meriter, etc) along with the United Way and Madison Central District Police Lt. Kristen Roman. This group, in addition to the Dane County Health Council, recommended development of this new crisis care center.

Dane County will fund the center with $700,000 in federal medical assistance and community development block grant funding. Falk’s budget proposal calls for $95,000 in county tax levy to assist with starting up the new facility.

The new Dane County Crisis Care treatment center will be included in Falk’s budget introduced to the county board October 1st. If approved, the county will issue a Request for Purchase (RFP) to providers interested in constructing and operating this new facility.

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