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An interior rendering of a behavioral health crisis stabilization unit planned by Network180 and Trinity Health Saint Mary’s. An interior rendering of a behavioral health crisis stabilization unit planned by Network180 and Trinity Health Saint Mary’s. COURTESY OF NETWORK180

Network180 secures $3.9M in Kent Co. ARPA funding to build out behavioral health crisis services

BY Tuesday, December 06, 2022 10:27am

The $3.9 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding that Network180 received from Kent County will help support mental health care services for people in a crisis.

Among them is a crisis stabilization unit planned in collaboration with Trinity Health Saint Mary’s that Network180 looks to open in the fall of 2023. Planned for space in a medical office building on the Saint Mary’s hospital campus in Grand Rapids, the Behavioral Health Crisis Center will include a 24-hour, walk-in unit where people in a mental health crisis can access care to stabilize their condition, usually within less than a day.

Network180 and Trinity Health Saint Mary’s just completed schematic design work for the unit and will soon begin the buildout.

“We are eager to be moving from design and actually renovating the space,” said Beverly Ryskamp, chief operating officer at Network180.

Plans for the crisis stabilization unit were first announced a year ago. Trinity Health Saint Mary’s and Network180 have since secured $5 million through a state budget appropriation for the 2022-23 fiscal year that started Oct. 12. The state budget included $30 million to establish crisis units across the state.

The $3.9 million in additional funding came from $108 million in ARPA funds that Kent County commissioners awarded last week.

Network180 and Trinity Health Saint Mary’s initially hoped to open the Behavioral Health Crisis Center earlier in 2023, but ran into delays from worker and construction material shortages. The organization also wanted to secure funding before proceeding with construction, Ryskamp said.

“We’ve been just continuing to push ahead and now find we’re starting to get some traction on that process,” she said.

In addition to the 16-room Behavioral Health Crisis Center, the ARPA funding will go to extend the hours for Network180’s Still Waters Peer Respite program that opened Oct. 3 for people who need support for a mental health condition or substance use. The funding also will help to expand a program where social workers work with police to respond to situations where somebody is experiencing a mental health crisis.

Network180 pursued the three initiatives amid a growing need for mental health services that accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic. They are each “formulated to meet peoples’ needs when they’re in crisis,” to provide immediate access to care, and “prevent some of the truly terrifying outcomes that people experience,” Ryskamp said.

“We as a community don’t yet have all of the tools we need to get people what they need, when they need it, when they’re experiencing a behavioral health crisis. That’s what this service array build is all about,” she said. “What we found is that we actually need to build a full continuum of crisis services more or less all at once. Kent County isn’t unique in this. Nationwide we have had outpatient care and we have had inpatient hospitalization care, and neither one of those has been able to be fully responsive to what people actually need to be safe and stabilized in a crisis moment.”

Operated by Hope Network through a partnership with Network180, the Peer Respite Center offers a home-like environment staffed by people with personal experience with behavioral health issues. A person seeking assistance can stay for up to seven days for support and stabilization. The ARPA funding will help to cover two years of operating expenses as Network180 seeks a sustainable funding model and negotiates reimbursement rates with the state, Ryskamp said.

“We asked basically for some bridge funding so we can operate the program as it starts up while we work on the coding and billing with the state,” Ryskamp said.

Network180 started the mobile Co-Response Team with the Grand Rapids Police Department in July and now wants to use the ARPA funding to expand it to work with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

The mobile team supports police officers responding to situations when a person is having a mental health crisis and helps get individuals the care they need. Since July, the officer/clinician team in place at the Grand Rapids Police Department has responded to 490 calls for assistance, Ryskamp said.

Network180 credits the program for diverting 139 people who may have otherwise been transported to an emergency room, 189 emergency services diversions, and 37 jail diversions.

In each of the services, Network180 seeks to follow a “no wrong door approach” where people can voluntarily walk in and “then we can go from there about what the right level of intervention is,” Ryskamp said.

In establishing a unit for people in a mental health crisis, Network180 wants to avoid people seeking care in settings such as hospital emergency rooms that are neither conducive nor equipped to provide the kind of treatment they need, Ryskamp said.

In its proposal for Kent County ARPA funding, Network180 said that “too many people with urgent behavioral health needs cannot gain access to a psychiatric hospital and end up in emergency departments or a correctional facility. Patients can remain in these settings for days or even weeks, creating significant strain on emergency medical and law enforcement systems, which are not designed and frequently not compensated for managing behavioral health crises.”

As well, a continuum of “nimble, rapidly accessible crisis services” can help to de-escalate situations early and “resolve most behavioral health crises in less than 24 hours, preventing the need for full hospitalization,” according to the funding proposal.

Read 1999 times Last modified on Tuesday, 06 December 2022 17:05
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