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    (505) 468-1555 

    BHInitiative@bernco.gov

     

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    The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative

    Filling the Gaps + Connecting the Dots

    What Is It?

    The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative represents a significant step forward in local efforts toward addressing and preventing the mental health, substance abuse, addiction, and homelessness crisis in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County and the middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico. 

    Recent studies suggest that nearly 50 percent of Bernalillo County residents needing mental health or addiction treatment services are not getting the help they need because of gaps in New Mexico’s behavioral health care.  Untreated behavioral health conditions have led to increased and sometimes tragic interactions with law enforcement, over incarceration, overuse of hospital emergency and inpatient services, and unnecessary suffering on the part of patients and their families.

    In 2014, a task force that included elected representatives of Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, State of New Mexico, consumers, providers, and other stakeholders worked to identify behavioral healthcare gaps, needs, and priorities in Bernalillo County. In October 2014, the task force made formal recommendations to the Bernalillo County Commission, which include the need for a regional crisis stabilization center, intensive case management, supportive housing, the creation of community engagement teams, and mobile crisis units. Click here to see the City/County Behavioral Health Task Force Recommendations.   

    The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative launched in response to the needs identified by this task force and the many others who have studied these needs over the past 20 years, and with the support of Bernalillo County voters who overwhelming expressed support for such action during the 2014 general election when asked:

    Are you in favor of the Bernalillo County Commission establishing a one-eighth percent gross receipts tax to be used for the purpose of providing more mental and behavioral health services for adults and children in the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County area, to provide a safety net system that develops continuum of care not otherwise funded in New Mexico?”

     2014 General Election Results

    Given the need, widespread support and call for action on this issue, the Board of Bernalillo County Commissioners, on Feb. 26, 2015, imposed a one-eighth percent gross receipts tax to improve access to mental and behavioral health care services in the county. The tax is expected to generate approximately $20 million annually. The County Commission imposed the one-eighth percent tax based on a state law granting local governments the legal authority to impose the tax in order to recoup the loss of hold harmless gross receipt payments that local governments would no longer be receiving from the State of New Mexico. Click here to read "Commission Approves Mental Health Measure." Click here to see 2014 General Election Results. Click here to see the statute  County Hold Harmless Gross Receipt Tax

    Recognizing that Bernalillo County is not alone when it comes to trying to meet the needs of some of its most vulnerable citizens who struggle with homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, the Bernalillo County Board of County Commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution that calls for working toward the development of a unified and collaborative behavioral health system; and, in April of 2015 the board approved the creation of a resource development work group to bring together governmental, nonprofit, and private sector behavioral health funders to explore opportunities for collaboration and alignment of resources. Click here to read Administrative Resolution - Unified and Coordinated Behavioral Health System. Click here to read Administrative Resolution – Behavioral Health Resource Development Work Group

    Goal: A Comprehensive, Well-Networked, and Accessible Continuum of Behavioral Health Care:

    The goal of the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative is to develop a comprehensive, well networked, and accessible continuum of care for children, youth, and adults in need of behavioral health services--from prevention through education and early intervention, to crisis response and long term stabilization--by working in partnership with members of the New Mexico congressional delegation, federal agencies, the State of New Mexico, local and regional governments, and private and nonprofit sector agencies to establish a shared vision and priorities, identify opportunities for collaboration, alignment and leveraging of resources to maximize the collective impact.   

    Task Force Recommendations:

    Bernalillo County’s behavioral health professionals, community members, and elected officials have been working on behavioral health challenges facing the community for over a decade. Since 2002, a number of reports have been completed by various task forces that sought to define the problem and make recommended solutions.  

    The most recent recommendations from the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Task Force of 2014 are consistent with recommendations made by other task forces since 2002. Click here to read Recommendations of City/County Task Force on Behavioral Health 2014. Click here to read the House Joint Memorial 17 Task Force Recommendations/2011.  Click here to read City of Albuquerque Crisis Triage Services Consultant Recommendations/2004. Click here to read Behavioral Health Needs and Gaps 2002 Executive Summary.

    The Most Recent Set of Recommendations Include:

    A crisis stabilization/response center, intensive case management, creation of community engagement teams, supportive housing for people with mental or behavioral health conditions, mobile crisis units, reforms to the criminal justice system, utilization of Medicaid, and prevention programs.

    How Will We Get There?  Collaborating for Collective Impact

    With revenue generated by the one-eighth percent gross receipts tax, and an understanding of priority needs, gaps in services, and the various complicating factors that have led to the current state of affairs, Bernalillo County has hired a consultant agency, Community Partners, Inc. (CPI), to assist and advise the community through the development of a behavioral health system business plan on the changes and reforms that would be needed to achieve our goal of a comprehensive, well-networked, and accessible continuum of care.  This includes taking into account and analyzing past and current research done on the behavioral health system, meeting with stakeholders to verify those findings and to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and factors involved, identifying opportunities for partnership, collaboration, and alignment of resources by facilitating meetings of the Resource Development Work Group. 

    What is the Role of Community Partners, Inc.?

    In February 2015, the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners approved a one-eighth percent gross receipts tax expected to generate approximately $20 million each year for the purposes of improving access and services to the behavioral health system in Bernalillo County.  In April 2015, the commission, through the county’s Request for Proposal process, selected and contracted with Community Partners Inc. (CPI), a Tucson-based company, to develop a comprehensive behavioral health business plan. Click here to read Bernalillo County's contract with Community Partners Inc.

    CPI has more than 20 years of experience in creating and managing the public behavioral health care system in southern Arizona.  CPI created a crisis response center and lead Southern Arizona in the transformation of its crisis care system to provide quality accessible and coordinated services in both hospital and community settings. CPI has managed multiple funding streams, monitored systems and services, and was charged with ensuring the quality of care for approximately 1 million individuals living in Tucson and Pima County Arizona.

    For Bernalillo County, CPI will utilize its expertise to assist the county and its partners with creating the necessary infrastructure to support the community’s goal of designing and implementing a comprehensive, well-networked, accessible continuum of care in the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County and middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico.

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