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Imperial County Approves Plan to Expand Mental Health Services to Uninsured


The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved a plan that will be used to help uninsured people get mental health and substance abuse treatment thanks to a grant that will help the vulnerable population. 

Imperial County Behavioral Health Services has been working on implementing services and programs to expand and improve the continuum of care for low-income uninsured and under-insured adults that lack access to mental health and substance abuse services in Imperial County.

This grant will allow ICBHS to strengthen and expand existing services to decrease the unmet needs of this most valuable and most difficult to engage the population.

ICBHS will develop and implement services to improve, expand, and sustain a comprehensive continuum of care for individuals 21 years and older. The grant funds will be used to enhance the service delivery system to co-locate a staff member at the County Jail to serve as a liaison for individuals pending release from incarceration to needed services and resources. This liaison will conduct screenings; make referrals to needed services; and develop client-involved discharge planning. To strengthen this approach, the liaison will provide aftercare services by consistently monitoring and following up to ensure individuals are properly linked to mental health, substance use, and other supportive services.

In addition, they will place additional staff at the local emergency departments to screen individuals identified to need mental health and substance use services. Staff will develop an individualized transition plan that will include after-care services with a focus on engagement and retention into needed services.

Behavioral Health will increase staff in the existing Crisis Co-Response Team to continue to co-respond with Law Enforcement Agencies to the 911 calls from the community.

Additional services will include the transportation of clients from the outpatient clinics or community locations who do not pose a threat to staff. Staff will also provide follow-up care after the psychiatric crisis to ensure a warm hand-off to the appropriate mental health or substance use treatment team.

This project will serve adults 21 to 64 years of age, with emphasis on low-income, uninsured and underinsured adults that lack access to mental health or other disorders.

The goal of the Local Indigent Care Needs Grant is to increase outreach, engagement, and linkage to mental health or substance use disorder, thus adverting 5150 (individuals who are a clear danger) applications or linkage to a higher level of care and enhancing partnership with Local Law Enforcement Agencies and community agencies with the focus of addressing the needs of individuals that experience mental health emergencies within the community.

They also want to decrease the number of clients admitted into the mental health triage unit.

There will be no impact to the County’s General Fund as 100 percent of expenditures during the first three years of implementation will be covered with the local indigent care needs grant, thereafter expenditures will be covered 100% with realignment and federal Medi-Cal for services rendered under this program.

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