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Health And Public Safety

BernCo Hires Behavioral Health Director


BernCo has hired Katrina Hotrum as the behavioral health director who will head up the newly created Behavioral Health Department under the county’s Health and Public Safety Division.

As the Behavioral Health Department director, Hotrum will provide organizational structure and coordinate the implementation of all behavioral health initiatives. Hotrum’s position becomes effective Monday, March 20.

Katrina Hotrum is the current director of the BernCo Department of Addiction Treatment Services (DATS). DATS provides a variety of services to reduce the impact of alcoholism, alcohol abuse, drug dependence and drug abuse in the community. Hotrum has been the DATS director for the last six years.

“The hiring of a director for the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative represents a significant step forward toward addressing and preventing the mental health, substance abuse, addiction, and homelessness crisis we are experiencing in Bernalillo County,” says County Manager Julie Morgas Baca.

Bernalillo County is currently partnering with the City of Albuquerque, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, the State of New Mexico, and the United Way of New Mexico for the behavioral health initiative. The goal is to create a regional behavioral health care system.

Since last September, over $10.7 million has been approved for behavioral health proposals and initiatives with $9.87 million being funded by the county and $843,000 by the City of Albuquerque:

  • Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) Transition Planning and Re-entry Resource Center located at 401 Roma NW (the current Public Safety Center) will service individuals leaving MDC and returning to the community. Transition planning for clients will begin while the individual is still at MDC - those who are at high risk for returning to jail. Planners inside the jail would administer risk/needs assessments, create transition plans and coordinate with case managers at the Re-entry Resource Center to facilitate a smooth transition for the individual being released back to the community. Individuals released from jail would then be discharged to the Re-entry Resource Center where they can receive immediate assistance linking them to community based services, achieve long term stability and have a safe place to transition back into society.
  • Housing program that will increase supportive housing throughout Bernalillo County specifically for persons with behavioral health conditions who are homeless, and living in the community.
  • Mobile crisis teams that will respond to individuals experiencing a nonviolent behavioral health crisis that necessitates a 911-response. There will be three teams formed, one by Bernalillo County and two by the City of Albuquerque. Each team will consist of a crisis intervention unit deputy paired with a master’s degree level behavioral health clinician.
  • Community engagement team that will help people and their families to voluntarily cope with the effects of mental illness and substance abuse disorders in the comfort and familiarity of their home.
  • Supportive housing for individuals with behavioral health needs coming out of the jail.
  • Implementing a reduction of adverse childhood experiences project 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.
  • Transitional living program to specifically serve at-risk youth who are precariously housed or homeless with a mental health or addiction diagnosis.
  • Contracting with the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research to implement a performance management strategy which measures the effectiveness of implemented programs and constantly strives to improve the performance of programs. 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.
  • Hiring a behavioral health advisor who will provide guidance on the development and implementation of the behavioral health initiative.

“Developing a comprehensive, well-networked, and accessible continuum of care for children, youth, and adults in need of behavioral health services is a monumental undertaking,” Commission Chair Debbie O’Malley states. “Katrina’s behavioral health experience and her work with the community will make major strides in the realization of the behavioral health initiative.”

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 $17 million annually.

For more information about the behavioral health initiative, please visit www.bernco.gov/behavioralhealth.

Carl Broach will serve as the interim director of the Department of Addiction Treatment Services effective March 20.

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