Unaddressed mental health issues drive costs in both our criminal justice and homelessness systems, and contribute to rising healthcare costs. Only 5-9% of emergency room visits are for mental health crises, but the average stay is 17 hours. Having 24-hour drop-off triage centers helps people get connected to the services they need, and ultimately leads to long-term solutions. Unfortunately, there is not sufficient funding for these centers to make them effective.
County Commissioner Bailey is proposing a system where local government can work with private sector entities, like hospitals and insurers, who pay much of the cost of this problem, to measure the savings from triage centers and get a portion of the savings as a revenue stream to back social finance tools that provide the capital to run the centers. By working with hospitals, insurers, social finance, and public entities to fund 24-hour triage centers for people in mental health crisis, the county can offer better treatment while lowering the cost to everyone for crisis mental health care and unnecessary incarceration."