Budget Rider for First Response to Mental Health Calls (Mental Health Diversion)

Only City Council members and authorized staff are allowed to post on this message board.
Ann Kitchen
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Budget Rider for First Response to Mental Health Calls (Mental Health Diversion)

Post by Ann Kitchen » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:59 am

Colleagues

I am posting this Budget Rider, on behalf of myself and my co-sponsors (CMs Leslie Pool, Greg Casar, Natasha Harper-Madison, Alison Alter)

I am excited to have this opportunity with my co-sponsors to accelerate the implementation of the First Response for Mental Health Calls program which was begun last year, after completing the Meadows Report in 2019.

People experiencing a mental health crisis need an immediate health care response as well as follow-up care. This program offers a mental health professional when a person calls 911.

This Budget Rider directs the City Manager to take the actions necessary to ensure implementation of the First Response to Mental Health Calls (Mental Health Diversion) program, with the additional $5.3 million in funding in the proposed budget (at page 91). The Rider expresses the Council's goal of diverting from a law enforcement response at the earliest date -100% of all calls with a mental health component which do not pose a risk to public safety.

This Budget Rider also is intended to be adopted in conjunction with CM Leslie Pool's Budget Rider for 7 additional Community Health Paramedics for $691,490. While the proposed budget already doubles the funding and staff for the First Response Program, these additional paramedics will provide further support for clinicians in responding to mental health calls, as well as work to respond to calls related to homelessness.

Link to Budget Rider document, First Response for Mental Health Calls (Mental Health Diversion Initiative)
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 073015.pdf

Link to Background Information about the First Response for Mental Health Calls (Mental Health Diversion Initiative)
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 073243.pdf

Best
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
LANGUAGE OF THE BUDGET RIDER:
Direction for implementation of First Response to Mental Health Calls for Service, Diversion Program

Strategic Outcome Alignment:
Health and Environment; Safety; Government that Works for All

Lead Sponsor:
CM Ann Kitchen

Cosponsors:
CMs Leslie Pool, Greg Casar, Natasha Harper-Madison, Alison Alter

Amount and Source of Funding
See Pool/Kitchen Budget Rider related to 7 additional Community Health Paramedics for $691,490

Additional Information:
"This Budget Rider directs the City Manager to take the following actions to insure implementation of First Response to Mental Health Calls (Mental Health Diversion) program, with the additional $5.3 million in funding in this budget (at page 91).

1) No later than October 1, 2020 execute a contract with a Project Manager to implement the program commissioned from the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute for Texas (""Recommendations for First Responder Mental Health Calls for Service”, May 15, 2019, MMHPI), and initially adopted and funded by the City Council in FY 19-20. The Program Manager will have a deep understanding of the program, the community work developing it, and experience working with the City of Austin and other cities in developing recommendations to redesign first response programs.

- The Project Manager shall analyze data, set an implementation schedule, establish goals and report to Council. The report will focus on achieving Council’s goals, including establishing the earliest date by which 100% of all calls with a mental health component which do not pose a risk to public safety shall be diverted from a law enforcement response.

- The Program Manager shall coordinate the full implementation of an alternative response to behavioral crisis emergency calls as found in the MMHPI report

- The Project Manager shall be responsible for optimizing program processes, procedures and achievement of goals.

- The Project Manager shall participate, as requested, on any Mental Health Advisory Committee created by the City Manager to develop community input for reimagining policing.

- The Project Manager shall regularly track and report to City Council and the community the program's progress, achievement of goals, and any additional resources needed to timely achieve goals

2) Direct partner agencies, including EMS and Austin Public Health, to work with the Program Manager to develop and implement an appropriate approach for data collection and data analysis necessary to measure results, including an approach for the exchange of health information. The Program Manager may utilize the work of the City’s Innovation Office and/or consult with the Dell Medical School data exchange experts.

3) Mental health teams must prioritize areas of Austin with greatest overall need for such services as outlined in MMHPI Report with the goal of reducing needless law enforcement response when at all possible. The protocols will make clear that clinicians have the maximum agency and authority at dispatch and in triage, in order in order to accomplish this goal

4) Increase staffing throughout the course of implementation, as indicated by data analysis as necessary to achieve goals. Staff additions may be achieved through mid-year budget adjustments, personnel reassignments, and/or annual budget increases."