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Bernalillo County

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$5 Million Approved for Behavioral Health Proposals

6:00 PM
Tia Bland O (505) 468-7026 C (505) 225-6212 tbland@bernco.gov

Bernalillo County – The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Government Commission (ABCGC) and the BernCo County Commission this week approved support and funding for several behavioral health proposals that could make a difference to those in the community with behavioral health needs.

The proposals were recommended by the ABCGC behavioral health community sub-committees and the Tucson, Arizona-based Community Partners, Inc., the company the county contracted with in April, 2015 to put together a behavioral health business plan. Funding for implementing the proposals will come from the Bernalillo County behavioral health tax that is generating about $17 million a year.

The next step in the process is to have the Bernalillo County Procurement & Business Services Department develop and solicit formal requests for proposals, so that community organizations can submit their ideas and business plans for implementing these programs.   

“Our thanks go out to the behavioral health community sub-committees for all their hard work on these proposals,” says Bernalillo County Commission Chair Art De La Cruz. “We took the time to make this a thoughtful and meaningful process intended to make a difference in the lives of those in our community suffering from mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The county is also pleased to be working closely with the City of Albuquerque, through the ABCGC, to gather the necessary funding and support needed to implement these proposals.”

“These proposals are the first step in the process to develop a behavioral health system that addresses critical programs and services for children and youth in our community,” says ABCGC Chair Klarissa Pena.

The following information outlines a summary of each proposal and the entity that took action on it this week:

Community Engagement Team: not to exceed $1 million per year of the contract (County Commission/AGCGC action)

A Community Engagement Team or CET helps people and their families voluntarily cope with the effects of mental illness and substance abuse disorders (whether individual or co-occurring) in the comfort and familiarity of their homes and communities. The CET helps individuals avoid the criminal justice system and emergency mental health systems whenever possible. The CET in Bernalillo County requires an individualized, recovery-focused approach that promotes wellness, self-management, personal recovery, natural supports, coping skills, self-advocacy and the development of independent living skills. CETs can be considered part of a continuum of services rendered outside institution walls that include assertive community treatment, the crisis intervention unit, crisis outreach and support team, public inebriate intervention program and law enforcement response.

Reduction of Adverse Childhood Experiences Project: not to exceed $3 million per year of the contract (County Commission/AGCGC action).

Bernalillo County wishes to develop a cohesive system that utilizes all available resources to assist children who have been identified as at-risk by using adverse childhood experiences (ACE) scoring methodology. Through program coordination and the procurement and enhancement of services, Bernalillo County wishes to develop a system that maintains a strong collaboration of professionals who work with children across the full continuum of services for at-risk children and families including primary prevention, identification, early intervention, support and treatment, harm reduction, outreach, and services in children’s homes and within communities. The funding is to pay for services and family supports not currently reimbursed by Medicaid or third party payers.

Behavioral Health Advisor: up to $140,000 per year (County Commission action).

The behavioral health advisor will provide guidance on the development and implementation of the behavioral health initiative. The behavioral health advisor will provide written standardization of the governance and subcommittee structure, data analysis service evaluations and reports implementation. The behavioral health advisor will provide other services including developing internal staff capacity on understanding behavioral health best practices and targeting and changing new initiatives to continue to meet the needs of Bernalillo County’s behavioral health priority populations.

Authorization for the County Manager to Approve the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social   Research (UNM/ISR) Contract: not to exceed an amount of $246,553 per year of the contract (County Commission action).

Bernalillo County seeks to implement a behavioral health system which measures the effectiveness of implemented programs and constantly strives to improve the performance of programs. In pursuit of this performance management strategy, data analysis and program evaluation will be critical components of the system. Data analysis and evaluation will happen to inform what services are needed and how those services are performing. Data analysis and evaluation will occur to assess the impact of the entire Behavioral Health Initiative on the entire population of users of behavioral health services, including individual program evaluations of the effectiveness of each contracted and/or directly delivered program.

Youth Transitional Living Proposal: not to exceed $650,000 per year of the contract (County Commission/ABCGC action).

This new service is intended to serve at-risk youth who are precariously housed or homeless with a mental health or addiction diagnosis and would benefit from the services outlined in the proposal. The funding will provide youth transitional living services for clients with behavioral health diagnosis who are not currently under any state Children Youth and Families Department, Bernalillo County or other third party-funded program. This funding is available for non-third party reimbursement.

The pilot program is to be funded for no less than two years but possibly up to four years. The program will be evaluated annually and will possibly include a cost/benefit analysis.

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About Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County is 1,160 square miles and is New Mexico’s most populous county with more than 674,000 residents. Bernalillo County government provides a wide range of public services to residents who live in Albuquerque, Los Ranchos and Tijeras and the 111,000 residents who live outside the village and city limits in the unincorporated areas of the county.  Bernalillo County employs approximately 2,500 people and has an annual operating budget and capital investments of more than $500 million. Elected officials include five county commissioners, assessor, clerk, probate judge, sheriff and treasurer.                              

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