Larimer County: Behavioral Health System & Continuum of Care Facility
On April 22, 2019, key stakeholders from each sector of Larimer County’s criminal justice system met to inform the design and operations of a new behavioral health care system and facility. The purpose of the new system of care and facility is to provide access to levels of health care and pathways to successful community living which are currently unavailable or inadequate to the needs of the population.
The unique new integrated care and support facility, situated on county land near the intersection of Taft Hill Road and Trilby Rd., will be Larimer County’s reliable, right door for accessing quality, affordable mental health and substance use support and care. The expectation is that, over time, improvements in access to preventative and supportive care across the county’s systems may reduce what is expected to be an initially heavy reliance upon the new facility to close currently existing gaps in the system.
The facility will serve the needs of patients and their families, and also serve as a state-of-the-art one-stop shop for referrals and direct patient drop-offs from participating agencies. A key benefit of the facility for the community is that it will offer a 24/7 access point for public safety first responders. This expedited access to appropriate levels of quality care and support will provide public safety officers and the justice system with safe, effective, and economic alternatives to incarceration for individuals whose unmet health needs are more significant than any threat they may pose to public safety.
By waiting to address population health needs until they are acute and manifest in crises, communities rely too heavily on first responders, experiencing high costs and poor health outcomes. To get ahead of the current high-cost, low-yield cycle, Larimer County must strive to incorporate practices and policies that support behavioral health across the lifespan, reducing incidences of acuity and crisis. Reliance upon first responders and the new facility will diminish as population health improves. Colorado state leaders in behavioral health have made specific recommendations in each of the areas highlighted here: https://www.mentalhealthcolorado.org/colorado-course-corrections/.