Douglas County Commission to consider agreement to expand mental health crisis team

County leaders will soon consider moving forward with funding to support additional personnel for mental health crisis response, increases that will eventually help staff the county’s new mental health center.

As part of its meeting Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission will consider approving a community partner agreement with LMH Health to expand the Douglas County Integrated Crisis Team at a cost not to exceed $466,000 over the next year, according to the agreement. The agreement includes funding for additional personnel for crisis response and is part of the county’s larger effort to improve mental health care.

County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said the expansion had been planned as a part of the transition to the county’s new mental health Crisis and Recovery Center.

Douglas County residents voted to approve a quarter-cent sales tax to support the creation of a behavioral health campus in 2018. The 20,000-square-foot Crisis and Recovery Center is part of the county’s new $10.4-million campus focused on behavioral health housing and treatment, located at 1000 W. Second St., near the corner of Maine and West Second streets.

The proposed expansion agreement would add up to 4.9 full-time positions of behavioral health clinician support for the Integrated Crisis Team, according to Plinsky. She said that team would provide full 24/7 coverage at LMH Health and facilitate an extension of the Bert Nash Access Center hours, allowing the center to be open until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. She said the total size of the Integrated Crisis Team may grow to 9.8 full-time positions.

Plinsky said the expansion increases the Integrated Crisis Team budget by $210,000 in 2021, as proposed in the county’s 2021 budget process and approved by the Douglas County Commission in December 2020. She said that over the next 12 months, the team’s work and location would transition from the LMH Emergency Department to the Crisis Recovery Center.

Construction of the $8 million center, the largest piece of the campus, began in October 2020 and is expected to be complete by the end of this year, as the Journal-World has previously reported. The other two portions of the campus — a group housing facility called Transitions and a permanent affordable housing complex called The Cottages — have already completed construction.

The County Commission will convene at 4 p.m. for its study session and 5:30 p.m. for its regular business meeting. The meeting will be open to the walk-in public at the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., but a link for the public to watch live online is available on the county’s website, Residents may also call in and listen by phone by dialing 1-312-626-6799 and entering meeting ID 913 8615 6102.


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