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DHHS Piloting Behavioral Health Crisis Program

Raleigh, NC

"DHHS understands the importance of an evidence-based support system to assist individuals going through critical transitions. This patient-centered approach increases the likelihood for successful transitions back to their communities" - Courtney Cantrell, PhD, Director of NC DHHS' Division of MH/DD/SAS

Director Courtney Cantrell, PhD, of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, announced that four Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCO) were selected to pilot Critical Time Intervention, a program that assists adults with mental illness who are going through a transition phase in their recovery process.

Critical Time Intervention is a focused, time-limited approach to connect people with community support as they transition into housing from homelessness, or from institutional settings, such as prisons and hospitals, into ongoing community-based services. Critical Time Intervention teams include licensed clinicians and certified peer-support specialists.

The program is part of North Carolina's Crisis Solutions Initiative, implemented under the leadership of DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, M.D. The evidence-based practice supports people with a serious mental illness, or who have experienced chronic homelessness. It focuses on recovery, psychiatric rehabilitation and full community inclusion, and is recognized by behavioral health professionals across the United States and internationally as a cutting edge case management model.

"DHHS understands the importance of an evidence-based support system to assist individuals going through critical transitions," said Cantrell. "This patient-centered approach increases the likelihood for successful transitions back to their communities."

The pilots will be funded through a federal block grant awarded to the four LME/MCOs in the amount of $365,000 each for state fiscal years 2015 and 2016 to establish the service.

Selected programs and a brief description of funded services are:

  • Alliance Behavioral Healthcare - Will focus on individuals being released from jail in Cumberland County.
  • CoastalCare - Will focus on individuals who are frequently in crisis in emergency departments in New Hanover and Onslow counties.
  • Partners Behavioral Health Management - Will focus on individuals who have serious mental illness with housing needs, including those in transition from adult care in Gaston County.
  • Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions - Will focus on sustaining and expanding the existing Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust grant-funded team with expansion targeted to rural communities in Alamance, Caswell and Person counties.

The N.C. Crisis Solutions Initiative focuses on identifying and implementing the best known strategies for crisis care while reducing avoidable visits to emergency departments and involvement with the criminal justice system for individuals in behavioral health crisis. More information can be found at:http://crisissolutionsnc.org/.